College Basketball Odds, Picks & Predictions for Temple vs. Memphis (Thursday, February 24)
Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images. Pictured: Hysier Miller (Temple)
- Bubble team Memphis hosts Temple in an AAC battle.
- The Tigers are on the cusp of the NCAA Tournament, while the Owls have played better basketball of late.
- Our analyst breaks down the matchup and explains his best bet below.
Temple vs. Memphis Odds
-115o / -105u
-115o / -105u
There’s no team more bubble-bound than the Memphis Tigers.
BracketMatrix has the Tigers as the very last team in the NCAA Tournament field. That’s due in large part to a resume that can only be described as confusing.
Memphis beat AAC stalwart Houston on the road and also nabbed wins over Alabama and Virginia Tech, yet it also lost to Georgia, UCF and East Carolina. It doesn’t help that conference foe SMU is similarly bubblicious and swept Memphis this season.
On top of that collection of wins and losses, Memphis is now without super-recruit Emoni Bates, who is dealing with an injury and was flooded with rumors about his future with the program.
For a team stuck on the razor’s edge, big games against top opponents are great, yet it’s nearly more important to take care of business against teams that “should” be beaten.
On paper, that would include the Temple Owls, but Aaron McKie has his alma mater playing big-time basketball in recent weeks, and the Owls should give Memphis a tough test.
Entering this season, McKie’s seat was starting to heat up a bit in North Philly. The former Owls star is in his third year at the helm. His first two seasons were rocky, both ending with a record under .500 and no postseason play.
No one expected this program to suddenly hunt down an NCAA bid — especially after leading scorer Khalif Battle suffered a season-ending injury — but without some progress, the pressure to turn things around would get a bit louder in McKie’s ear.
Deep into the season, he’s silenced his critics a bit. Not only is Temple on track for its first winning campaign — both overall and in conference — since 2019, but the Owls are being led by a youth movement that should carry into next year.
Temple’s five leading scorers — by total points scored this season — are all nominally freshman thanks to the changes to eligibility requirements caused by COVID.
Leading scorer Damian Dunn, a third-year Owl, has emerged as a star, posting 15.5 points per game. Second-year man Jeremiah Williams is a creator off of the bounce, leading the team in assists.
A trio of “actual” freshman, in their first year with the program, have emerged later in the season as contributors.
Jahlil White has looked the part as a frontcourt scorer and rebounder.
Zach Hicks has a sweet shooting stroke that was good enough to hit 10 3s in a win over Delaware State.
With other guards sidelined with injuries, Hysier Miller has emerged of late. He played double-digits minutes just five times prior to February, but has become a key cog for Temple, playing 34-plus minutes in three straight games.
The freshmen have stepped up as the Owls’ rotation has shuffled down the stretch due to injuries across the roster.
Many would have expected those losses to deal a serious blow to Temple late in the season, yet McKie has put his players in a position to earn some big wins, despite poor shooting (29% on 3-pointers in AAC play) and the second-least experienced team in the nation, per KenPom.
The Memphis men’s basketball experience under Penny Hardaway has devolved into what many feared it would become when he was hired. When he got the gig, Hardaway had no experience at the college level, and had made his name on the AAU circuit.
His connections in that world have helped Hardaway bring in big name talent, but now, in his fourth year running the show, Memphis still plays like a summer league team. The Tigers turn the ball over on nearly a quarter of their possessions, good for bottom 10 in the nation.
The Memphis offense is driven by tempo and an attacking nature. The Tigers want to play fast, get shots up and hit the glass hard after misses. Memphis has grabbed 36% of its own misses in AAC play — best in the conference.
When things slow down in a close game, however, it’s unclear where the ball will go for Memphis. Just 4.2 points per game separates Memphis’ leading scorer from its seventh leading scorer.
Balance is nice, but for a team that looks for offense in isolation and the pick-and-roll game, the lack of an alpha dog makes for some mad scrambles late in games.
Temple vs. Memphis Betting Pick
The way this Memphis team plays — without any reliable consistency — I’d be hesitant to lay double-digits with the Tigers against lots of opponents, The way Temple has played recently, the Owls check that box for me.
Temple is 7-3 ATS in its last 10 games and haven’t lost a game by this margin since Dec. 15. The young Owls are turning a corner. Even though Memphis should be able to outclass Temple with its talent and athleticism, the Owls haven’t backed down from similar challenges against SMU and Houston.
Even with Memphis playing at home, I like Temple to stay close. Memphis is just 7-13-1 ATS as a favorite this season.