NCAAB Odds, Pick for Memphis vs Tulsa

NCAAB Odds, Pick for Memphis vs Tulsa article feature image
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Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images. Pictured: Erik Konkol (Tulsa)

Memphis vs Tulsa Odds, Pick

Thursday, Jan. 4
8 p.m. ET
ESPN+
Memphis Odds
SpreadTotalMoneyline
-9.5
-110
154.5
-110o / -110u
-500
Tulsa Odds
SpreadTotalMoneyline
+9.5
-110
154.5
-110o / -110u
+350
Odds via BetMGM. Get up-to-the-minute NCAAB odds here.

Having recently added Nae'Qwan Tomlin to an already talented roster, Penny Hardaway has the Memphis Tigers poised to contend for the AAC regular season title as they begin conference play Thursday night in Tulsa.

Recent AAC powerhouse Houston has departed for the Big 12, but Florida Atlantic has joined the conference and figures to challenge Memphis for the league title.

Memphis will look to start 2024 properly by defeating an inferior Tulsa team.


Memphis Tigers

In a somewhat surprising move, forward David Jones chose to leave New York City in the offseason, despite the announcement his previous school — St. John's — would be hiring Rick Pitino.

Instead, Jones chose to transfer to Memphis and play for Hardaway. Jones is playing for his third team in three years after beginning his career at DePaul.

The typical feeling-out process that occurs when a transfer is getting acclimated to a new school didn't take long for Jones. The senior forward from the Dominican Republic is averaging more than 21 points and 6.4 rebounds per game in his first 13 outings.

Not only has Jones been Memphis' best player, he's played at an All-American level.

Jones has paired nicely with fellow transfer Jahvon Quinerly, who made his way to Memphis after playing with Brandon Miller and company at Alabama. Quinerly has fit nicely into a similar up-tempo style of play.

In terms of pure talent, the Tigers have a clear edge over Tulsa in this matchup.


Tulsa Golden Hurricane

Following an abysmal 5-25 rebuilding season in his first year as the head coach of Tulsa, Eric Konkol and the Golden Hurricane have already surpassed that win total, with a 9-3 record to this point in the season.

All nine wins have come on Tulsa's home court against less-than-stellar opponents. Still, Golden Hurricane fans aren't complaining about any wins after what they've endured in recent years.

Konkol made his way to Tulsa after coaching Louisiana Tech and leading the Bulldogs to seven consecutive winning seasons. If this year's early results are an indication of a more competitive product to come in AAC competitions, Konkol is well on his way to establishing a similar winning culture at Tulsa.

Konkol's veteran leader on the court is Cobe Williams, who followed Konkol to Tulsa after playing for him at Louisiana Tech. Williams is small in stature, but has the quickness to stay with Quinerly on the defensive end.

Quinerly presents a difficult challenge for his opponents with his combination of quickness and ability to shoot it from anywhere. The four years of experience Williams has in Konkol's system will help in this difficult matchup, yet he'll need to limit the turnovers he's been prone to commit on the other end.

The counter to Jones will likely be freshman PJ Haggerty. Haggerty will give up size defensively (6-foot-3 compared to Jones' 6-foot-6), so he may need the occasional aid from teammates Isaiah Barnes and Jared Garcia.

However, the scoring responsibility is likely to fall squarely on the young shoulders of Haggerty. Having played sparingly at TCU last year, Haggerty is somewhat familiar with the challenge of facing a more talented opposition.

Konkol will hope that the home court advantage will calm the potential anxiety Haggerty may feel in this matchup.

Haggerty has finished with a double-digit scoring total in 11 of the 12 games he's played at Tulsa. He'll certainly need to do so again Thursday night if Tulsa hopes to keep pace with the offensive firepower of Hardaway's team.

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Memphis vs. Tulsa

Betting Pick & Prediction

Memphis is more talented than Tulsa by quite a wide margin. While I respect Hardaway and his recruiting ability, I think Konkol is arguably the superior tactician and may be able to close the talent deficit his team faces by having an excellent game plan.

The Tulsa homecourt advantage isn't one of the best in the country by any means. And Memphis has already proven it can win on the road, having done so three different times in the early portion of its schedule.

Still, conference road games can lead to surprising results. I expect a rejuvenated Tulsa program to hang with Memphis throughout this one.

I'm taking the Golden Hurricane to keep Memphis within arm's length, potentially even shocking Memphis if the Tigers fall asleep in their AAC opener.

Pick: Tulsa +11.5 (Play to +10)


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