College Basketball Odds, Pick and Preview: East Carolina vs. Memphis
Photo by Joe Murphy/Getty Images. Pictured: Josh Minott (Memphis)
- Memphis seeks revenge against East Carolina after losing the first matchup between the two.
- The Tigers lost on a buzzer beater after leading by as many as 19 points in that first affair.
- Kyle Remillard breaks down the matchup and offers up his best bet.
East Carolina vs. Memphis Odds
|East Carolina Odds|
-110o / -110u
-110o / -110u
To start the season, Penny Hardaway had his eyes set on a National Championship. Now, he’s hoping his group just gets a ticket to the Big Dance.
After winning its first five games to start the campaign, Memphis has won just five of its last 13.
The Tigers ended a three-game skid last time out to Tulsa, which sits at the bottom of the AAC. The program overcame a 15-point second-half deficit to secure the victory. Memphis was short-handed in that game and look to be limping into this matchup, as well.
East Carolina has lost four of its last five games, with its sole victory over that stretch coming two weeks ago against Memphis. The Pirates trailed by 19 points in that game before sealing the comeback with a buzzer-beater.
East Carolina hits a buzzer beater to take down Penny Hardaway and Memphis!!! 🎯 🎯 🎯
— Def Pen Hoops (@DefPenHoops) January 15, 2022
Whether or not the game-winner warranted storming the court over is up for interpretation. But that decision may come back to bite them in the rematch.
East Carolina is coming off of a 79-36 thrashing at the hands of Houston. The Pirates set a new program low by making only eight field goals in the entire game. They shot 16% from the field and 1-of-19 (5%) from 3-point range in that matchup.
That isn’t the norm for East Carolina, which has been solid with its outside shooting this year, hitting 36%. The Pirates struggle inside the perimeter, where they rank 270th, hitting just 47% of their attempts.
The offense shows great ball movement, assisting on 64% of its made field goals this season, which is good for sixth nationally.
6-foot-5 guard Tristen Newton leads the team in scoring, putting up nearly 18 points per game. He’s scored in double figures in every game but one this season, and he’s shooting 46% from the field.
Vance Jackson is the true outside threat for the Pirates, as he has converted on 43% of his 104 3-point attempts on the season.
In the first matchup, it was Brandon Suggs who led the Pirates’ furious comeback. He was the leading scorer with 17 points while hitting 6-for-11 from the field. Suggs missed the Pirates’ last game with an ankle injury and is questionable for this matchup.
Defensively, the Pirates rank last in the AAC, allowing 72 points per game. Opponents have hit 50% of their 2-point attempts (178th) and 35% from outside the arc (257th).
The Tigers will once again be short-handed, as they’re missing three players in this matchup, including leading scorer DeAndre Williams.
Jayden Hardaway, DeAndre Williams & Landers Nolley are OUT vs. ECU.
— Cassie Carlson (@CassieCarlsonTV) January 26, 2022
It will be the freshman duo in Emoni Bates and Jalen Duren leading the offense.
Duren is a 6-foot-11 center who has been dominant in the paint. He ranks first in the American with 2.5 blocks per game and second in rebounds, snatching 7.3 per contest. Offensively, he’s averaged 11 points per game while shooting 62% from the field (second in the conference).
The Tigers had five players who scored in double figures in the first matchup. East Carolina seemed to have no answer for Duren down low, as he went 7-for-10 from the field for 15 points.
Memphis is loaded with five-star recruits, yet it struggles with the fundamentals. The Tigers cough the ball up 17 times per game, and 23% of their offensive possessions result in a turnover (349th nationally).
The group also ranks outside the top 300 in free throw percentage, shooting just 66% from the charity stripe.
East Carolina vs. Memphis Betting Pick
It’s not easy to back Memphis as a favorite given its recent form, but I anticipate the Tigers will come out fired up after East Carolina stormed the court on them in the first matchup.
The Tigers will be out for revenge and will play like their season is on the line — because it is.
Memphis is 7-2 at home this season and can’t afford another loss at FedEx Forum. TeamRankings gives Memphis a 11% chance at an at-large bid.
In the first matchup, Memphis led by 19 early in the second half. East Carolina had no answer for Duren and the Memphis offense shot 50% from the field. Duren is questionable with a hand injury, but given the importance of this game, I anticipate he will suit up.
The Pirates are coming off of one of their worst offensive performances in school history. Now, they must travel to matchup with another elite defense.
Hardaway is in desperate need of a blowout victory, and this is the perfect spot for Memphis to get back on track.
Pick: Memphis -13 (Play to -14)
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