Tulsa, Memphis Favored at Home, but Put Money Elsewhere

Jay Pryce

Sunday, March 4, 2018 2:14 PM UTC

Sunday, Mar. 4, 2018 2:14 PM UTC

Tulsa, undefeated in conference home games, is laying a bucket to Temple, while Memphis is a double-digit favorite against ECU to close out the AAC regular season.

Sunday College Basketball: Temple vs. TulsaFree NCAAB Pick: Under 141Best Line Offered: Pinnacle

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Temple (16-16 SU, 15-13 ATS) has dropped three of its past four games, although against tough competition. The defeats included two against ranked opponents (then-No. 19 Wichita State, No. 25 Houston) and a tricky test at UConn. Foul trouble is partly to blame for the results. The Owls nearly doubled the number of infractions against their opponents, accruing 18.0 per game versus 11.5. This is tough to overcome for a team fielding four players logging more than 30 minutes per contest.

Foul trouble has plagued coach Fran Dunphy’s squad all season in road conference games, averaging 18.4 per game. It is shooting poorly, too. The Owls average 63.1 points per game on 40.6 percent from the floor. They struggle to generate easy opportunities down low, attempting just 30.4 percent of shots near the rim. This ranks 291st out of 351 Division I teams. This requires Temple to be a threat from deep, or execute highly inefficient midrange jump shots. It does neither particularly well. The Owls drain 35.6 percent of 2-point jumpers and 34.8 percent of treys.

Tulsa (18-11 SU, 17-9 ATS) owns the No. 4 seed and a first-round bye in the American Athletic Conference Tournament. A stellar home record helped. The Golden Hurricane is undefeated at Reynolds Center in AAC play, going 7-0 SU and 4-3 ATS. The program did avoid hosting the two top teams, Cincinnati and Wichita State. Still, the wins are impressive with a 10.4 average margin of victory. Tulsa isn't too bad on the road either. Here it is thrashing ECU 72-58 last time out:

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Check out the Highlights from the 72-58 win over ECU tonight!!! We'll be back Sunday for Senior day against Temple at 2pm! #ForOurCity pic.twitter.com/tfglDsXeKJ

— Tulsa Basketball (@TUMBasketball) March 2, 2018

Coach Frank Haith has turned the building into a fortress. Since 2014, Tulsa is 28-6 SU and 20-11-3 ATS hosting AAC programs. Strong defense is the catalyst, allowing 63.1 points per game on 40.1-percent shooting.

Haith and Dunphy’s programs have clashed six times in the past. The average combined score in regulation time is 122.8 points, never putting up more than 140 points. At least one team has shot 37.5 percent or worse in all but one matchup. This contest is a race to 70 points, and it’s highly possible neither reaches the mark. Tulsa, a small favorite on the college basketball odds board, wins 68-66 with the Owls strong contenders to score even less. However, with my NCAAB picks, I'll follow the value pick, which is "under" the total.

Sunday College Basketball: ECU vs. MemphisFree NCAAB Pick: ECU +12Best Line Offered: Bookmaker

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ECU (10-18 SU, 10-11 ATS) ranks 257th nationally in KenPom’s adjusted defensive efficiency ratings. It does not take a rocket scientist to figure out this equates poorly to road conference clashes. The Pirates yield 83.1 points per game on 49.5-percent shooting. Opponents have put up 80-plus in the last five. The "over" has hit in seven straight, the final tally (150.3) 14.6 points north of a 135.7 average game total. None has ventured into extra time.

Memphis (18-12 SU, 13-14 ATS), meanwhile, has dropped three of its past four home games, twice as the betting favorite. The last outing, a 75-51 rout by last-place South Florida, was the second-worst AAC home defeat for the Tigers per the betting market. Memphis tipped off a 13.5-point favorite. ECU handed the school its worst conference defeat in 2015 with an 84-83 shocker as 16.5-point pups.

The Tigers are failing to take advantage of the conference’s weakest defenses this year. Squaring off against seven surrendering more than 71.0 per game, they are averaging just 68.4 points in regulation. This doesn’t instill much confidence when asked to lay double digits on the college basketball odds board; Memphis is favored by 12 points. The Pirates have covered seven of the last eight meetings, including an 88-85 win in Greenville on February 3. ECU loses 73-66, but stays within the number. Take the Pirates booty with your NCAAB picks.

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