Time: 7 p.m. ET
Venue: FedEx Forum, Memphis, TN
Where to watch: ESPN2
Opening Odds at USA Sportsbooks
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SMU: 7-13 (2-5 AAC)
Memphis: 15-5 (5-2 AAC)
We’re nearing the halfway mark of the college basketball season and it’s been quite the ride so far. Will Rogers is going hard in the last 30 days with a 16-10-1 run, while Kyle Hunter has also had a strong run of form as of late at 28-24-0 (+$1,700). If they’ve been killing it as much as they were in the first half, what does the second half have in store? The only way you’re going to find out is by staying locked on bigal.com and following what our champion handicappers are up to heading into the second half. Trust us, you want to know.
SMU - Memphis preview, prediction and analysis
SMU: lost 71-69 vs. Wichita State on Sunday
Memphis: won 75-68 at Cincinnati on Sunday
Last year, this would’ve been a fun matchup to dissect. Now, the American Athletic Conference is ruled by another team in Texas, not the SMU Mustangs. They will visit FedEx Forum on Thursday to take on the Memphis Tigers.
Memphis is entering Thursday’s game on a three-game winning streak after defeating Cincinnati 75-68 on Sunday. DeAndre Williams led the way with 26 points and eight rebounds, while Kendric Davis shot just 4 of 10 from the floor, but his 12 of 14 day from the free-throw line aided in him getting 21 points, five rebounds and six assists. Keonte Kennedy chipped in with 10 points.
Memphis shot 48.1 percent as a team and only took 14 3-pointers to play an efficient game. The win pushed Memphis to 5-2 in conference play, a half-game back of the Temple Owls and one game back of No. 3 Houston for the top spot. In short, if you haven’t paid attention to the American Athletic Conference yet, you might want to get on that. Oh, and Penny Hardaway is one win from 100 as Memphis coach.
While the Tigers have found a way of winning, the books have not been kind. Memphis’ win over Cincinnati was their first cover in nine games. Yes, Memphis went 0-8 against the spread, favored in all but one of them, in a run where they went 6-2. Again, make it make sense.
SMU has completely fallen off with five losses in their last six games, but they’ve also hit a bit of bad luck. After winning 79-76 in overtime against Tulsa on Jan. 18, the Mustangs lost 71-69 on Sunday and failed to cover as 1.5-point favorites.
Zach Nutali finished with 17 points on 6 of 15 shooting, and Efe Odigie had 16 points and 11 rebounds on an effective 5 of 6 shooting, but SMU was held to just 38 percent shooting and only 29 percent from 3-point range. It also didn’t help that Wichita State made eight more free throws, but that’s neither here nor there.
SMU’s struggles have found them near the bottom of the conference, but clearly if it was due to a few bounces here and there, the Mustangs would be near the middle of the pack. Alas, they need to crawl out of the basement. That’s not looking likely here.
This has been an even series over the last 10 meetings, but Memphis is clearly the better team in this situation. Maybe SMU can keep this close, but I think Memphis being at home is going to have its talent take this game over. Memphis 75, SMU 68
Check back later for trends.
Projected starting lineup
PG: Zach Nutall
SG: Zhuric Phelps
SF: Jalen Smith
PF: Samuell Williamson
C: Efe Odigie
PG: Kendric Davis
SG: Keonte Kennedy
SF: Elijah McCadden
PF: Chandler Lawson
C: DeAndre Williams
Memphis: Alex Lomax (groin, out), Malcolm Dandridge (ankle, out)
Points: Zhuric Phelps -- 16.9
Rebounds: Samuell Williamson -- 7.4
Assists: Zach Nutall -- 2.7
Points: Kendric Davis -- 21.2
Rebounds: DeAndre Williams -- 7.7
Assists: Kendric Davis -- 5.8
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