Sunday College Basketball Odds & Pick for Memphis vs. Houston: Value on Under in AAC Defensive Clash (March 7)
Leslie Plaza Johnson/Getty Images. Pictured: Marcus Slasser.
- The AAC regular-season title is on the line when Houston welcomes a hot Memphis team to its arena for Sunday's showdown.
- Both teams have one of the nation's best defenses , and the Cougars play extremely slow basketball.
- BJ Cunningham explains why he struggles to see this game going over the total below.
Memphis vs. Houston Odds
|+420 / -580|
Houston looks to bolster its NCAA Tournament resume on Sunday when it hosts a red-hot Memphis squad.
Memphis is blazing hot at the moment, winning its last six games and nine of its last 10. However, they haven’t been playing the stiffest competition over that stretch, so the Cougars will be a massive step up in competition.
Houston is currently projected to be a two seed in the tournament, and it is well deserved because the Cougars are one of the most balanced teams in the country. They’ve been destroying teams at both ends of the floor all season long, minus a few slip-ups along the way. A loss to Memphis or a loss in the AAC tournament and getting that two seed is going to be much more difficult, so they need this game.
When Memphis has the ball
What has held Penny Hardaway’s squad back this season has been the offensive end of the floor. Memphis is putting up only 0.98 point per possession, and they truly struggle in one area, holding onto the ball. The Tigers have the highest turnover rate in the conference at well over 24.3%, which is something you cannot do against Houston. The Cougars are top 25 in the nation in turnover rate forced, so if Memphis can’t hang onto the ball, they are in big trouble.
Memphis has made a drastic turnaround from the field and are now the number one team in the AAC in terms of effective field goal percentage. The Tigers shoot over 38% from beyond the arc, an uptick from when they were under 27% at the halfway point in the season. They’ll be going up against the sixth-ranked three-point defense in the country, as Houston is allowing only 28.1% from behind the arc.
Memphis isn’t going to find much success inside either against Houston’s defense. The Cougars are also top ten in the nation in two-point percentage allowed and are allowing only 53.7% on shot attempts at the rim, per Hoop-Math.
When Houston has the ball
Houston has been torching the rest of the AAC on offense, averaging 1.15 points per possession and ranks inside the top ten in the nation in offensive efficiency, per KenPom. The Cougars do not have any weaknesses on the offensive end of the floor and absolutely dominate the offensive glass. Houston has the second-highest offensive rebounding rate in the country at 39.6%, which is the main reason their offense is top ten in the country.
The Cougars are in for a rude awakening though because they haven’t seen a defense like Penny Hardaway’s team. Memphis is the second-best team in the country in terms of defensive efficiency, per KenPom, and is only allowing an insane 0.85 points per possession during AAC play. The Tigers truly do everything well on the defensive end of the floor, but their specialty is defending the perimeter. Memphis has the second-best three-point defense in the country allowing only 26.7% from deep.
Even though Houston’s offense has been humming on all cylinders, they are about to run right into a buzz saw and are likely going to struggle to consistently score.
Betting Analysis & Pick
With two of the best defenses in the country on the floor, I have a hard time seeing how this game is going to go over the total. Houston plays one of the slowest tempos in the country, so I expect them to try and keep Memphis to playing in the half court.
I only have 129.86 points projected for this game, so I think there is some value on Under 133 points (PointsBet) or better.
Pick: Under 133 points or better