College Basketball Odds, Picks & Predictions for Memphis vs. SMU (Sunday, February 20)
George Walker/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images/ Pictured: Emmanuel Bandoumel (5) and Kendric Davis (3).
Memphis vs. SMU Odds
-110o / -110u
-110o / -110u
Two of the AAC’s best are set to meet in a crucial matchup on Sunday. The SMU Mustangs and Memphis Tigers each sit within a game-and-a-half out of first place in the conference.
With only a handful of games remaining, the outcome could very well decide each team’s chances of taking home a regular-season conference title.
Penny Hardaway seems to have gotten his team to peak at the right time, as the Tigers come into this matchup on a six-game win streak that includes a double-digit victory over Houston. However, Memphis’ last loss was to this SMU team, so it will be motivated to even the score.
The Mustangs may have an 18-6 record, but defining how good this team can be is difficult. Their biggest win came against Houston, and most of their other victories have come against lesser conference opponents. They also have some questionable losses to Missouri and Loyola Marymount. So, for a team that appears to be excelling, just how good are they?
Look for Memphis to Utilize Size Advantage
In the first meeting, Memphis had a tough go of it from the perimeter, finishing 1-for-12 from 3-point range. While it’s usually much better, the positive regression from that poor shooting performance will only supplement what it needs to do in this matchup.
The Tigers’ best player is center Jalen Duren. Duren has used his supreme size and athleticism to become a constant double-double threat. He was fairly effective in the first meeting, racking up 11 points and nine rebounds, but ultimately had to work around foul trouble.
If Duren can stay on the court this time around, he could be a big problem for the Mustangs. SMU is a smaller team that commonly deploys a lineup that features four guards and one forward. In addition, its tallest player in the lineup stands at 6-foot-5, whereas Duren comes in at 6-foot-11.
However, Duren will certainly not be alone on the offensive end, as the absence of Emoni Bates has created an opportunity for Tyler Harris.
Both Harris’ height and style are a contrast to Duren’s. However, the 5-foot-9 guard has become one of Memphis’ most consistent weapons due to his proficiency behind the arc.
Mustangs Need 3s to Fall
The Mustangs are a very guard-heavy lineup that plays a four-out, one-in style of offense. They’re designed to create outside shots by kicking the ball out off of pick and rolls.
SMU mustered a win in the first meeting despite going 6-of-23 from downtown. Now, this is a team that generally shoots 37% from 3 and gets over 35% of its points from deep.
This style is exactly the type of offense that can be effective against Memphis. The Tigers rank 132nd in 3-point percentage allowed and also surrender the 44th-highest percentage of points from 3s in the country.
The Mustangs also have two players who are excellent options to implement that plan. SMU’s leading scorers, Kendric Davis and Michael Weathers, are excellent 3-point shooters. They each shoot 37% and 43% from behind the arc, respectively.
So, they have the scheme and the personnel to execute — but will the shots fall? The odds are that they will, according to ShotQuality. The Mustangs are 36th in rim-and-3 rate, along with a ranking of 36th in offensive efficiency rating.
Memphis vs. SMU Betting Pick
Memphis may be on an impressive streak, but this SMU team has its number.
SMU took the first meeting even with a poor shooting performance, and Memphis doesn’t have the offensive weapons to keep up if the Mustangs’ 3s begin to fall.
Take SMU to sweep the season series and inch closer to an AAC title.