College Basketball Odds, Picks and Predictions for Memphis vs. Tulsa (Sunday, Jan. 23)
Photo by Joe Murphy/Getty Images. Pictured: Tyler Harris (Memphis)
Memphis vs. Tulsa Odds
-110o / -110u
-110o / -110u
When Memphis and Tulsa do battle Sunday afternoon in northeast Oklahoma, something’s gotta give.
Both squads are floundering at the moment. Collectively, they’ve lost a combined eight games in a row and are slipping into the basement of the American Athletic Conference standings.
Tulsa head coach Frank Haith will take solace in the fact that he isn’t in Penny Hardaway’s shoes. Haith has dropped five consecutive games, but a brutal front-loaded schedule bears the brunt of that responsibility.
Along with Memphis, Tulsa’s already played SMU, Houston and Cincinnati to start the conference slate, a murderer’s row by AAC standards. In short, there’s light at the end of the tunnel.
For Penny, however, he’s at the eye of a fanbase and media induced hurricane right now. To be fair, Penny’s the one who started the fire. His combative comments directed at a reporter in the SMU postgame presser on Thursday — a third straight loss for the reeling Tigers — incited violent backlash from the masses.
It’s hard to look through the fog of the recent off-court circus, but the Tigers’ personnel issues on the court are considerable.
Despite welcoming back jitterbug enigma Alex Lomax last game, as well as reliable glue guy Earl Timberlake, veteran producers such as Landers Nolley II and DeAndre Williams were MIA once again.
Williams (back) and Nolley II (knee) could return here, but there’s a strong chance one or both remains on the shelf again.
Their presence is invaluable on both ends, particularly Williams, who profiles as matrix-caliber defender, while doubling as a versatile offensive threat on the other end, too.
Oh, and Nolley just happens to be the team leader in assists — no big deal.
Any hope of resurrecting Memphis’ season starts with getting these two elders back in the mix and firing on all cylinders.
The Tigers flashed brief spells of dominance earlier this year when Penny deployed a veteran-laden lineup, headlined by Williams and Nolley II together.
Tulsa should smell in the blood water with the psychologically wounded Tigers coming to town.
Haith & Co. mounted a huge comeback in the first meeting between these two on January 4th at FedEx Forum, but ultimately fell three points shy of the finish line.
Tulsa would be wise to deploy every variation of Haith’s shapeshifting defenses in this rematch. Per Synergy, Tulsa’s played zone on roughly 38% of all defensive possessions this season, which could be a kryptonite against an interior-centric Memphis offense.
This worked wonders the last two seasons. Tulsa swept Memphis last year and won the only meeting between the two back in 2020. That’s evidence that there’s a repeatable matchup advantage for Haith against Penny.
Memphis vs. Tulsa Betting Pick
The sheer uncertainty surrounding Memphis’ roster makes this game almost unbettable, at least from a side perspective, until an official report is released on Williams or Nolley II.
However, the total gives an opportunity to short both offenses, neither of which is equipped to score against the other’s defense.
The first meeting this year went under, despite clocking 72 possessions (the second-fastest game Tulsa has played this season). Much of that possession count was rooted in the final minutes of the game, coinciding with Tulsa’s furious comeback.
Expect the rematch to be a slow game from wire-to-wire, mirroring the slug fest we saw in both games last season. The final possession count in those two meetings? 64 and 69. That explains how neither team eclipsed 60 in either game.
Lock in the under at any number above 140 and you should be in business.