The AAC tournament is down to its final four teams, with host Memphis making a run at the league championship – and maybe a spot in the NCAA. Jason Logan breaks down the AAC semifinal matchups, analyzes the NCAA basketball odds, and gives his best bets for Saturday’s action.
Odds: Houston -7.5, 148.5 at FanDuel Sportsbook
Start Time: 3 p.m. ET FedEx Forum, Memphis
Season Series: HOU 1-0 SU, HOU 1-0 ATS, 1-0 O/U
The trash talk between these two teams started even before Memphis punched its ticket to the AAC semifinal with a win over Central Florida Thursday. As the Tigers were waiting to take the court for that game, Houston was coming off the floor full of electricity from its blowout of UConn.
"This is what we f-ing do. ... They looked at us as they said it,” Memphis guard Antwann Jones told the Memphis Commercial Appeal of the Cougars’ postgame antics. Ohhhhhh, this game is going to be good.
While both teams have put up some impressive offensive numbers, this could be a game dictated by defense. Houston, of course, is one of the elite in the land, ranked eighth in points allowed and second in opposing field goal percentage. The Cougars have erupted offensively in recent games, but they’ll be cautious to get into a track meet with the more-than-capable Tigers on their home floor.
Memphis has benefitted from the AAC tournament venue, winning comfortably in its first two postseason games. And while the Tigers flourished on offense as hosts this season, the home cooking has helped on the other end of the floor. Memphis gave up just 68 points to Tulane on 39 percent shooting and 55 points to UCF, which fired at an ice-cold 36 percent clip. Memphis held those two foes to a collective 12 for 43 from beyond the arc (28%) as well.
This total is a little too tall and I see extra value with the Under 148.5 Saturday afternoon.
Odds: Cincinnati -5.5, 130.5
Start Time: 5 p.m. ET FedEx Forum
Season Series: CIN 2-0 SU, 1-1 ATS, 1-1 O/U
Cincinnati normally doesn’t stray too far beyond a six-man rotation but head coach Mick Cronin may have been planning ahead for this semifinal showdown when he dipped deep down his bench in a win over SMU Friday night.
The Bearcats had Trevor Moore and Can Broome log 14 and 11 minutes respectively and Cronin had nine players record at least five minutes of action. Cincinnati, looking to take advantage of a shorthanded SMU roster, got solid production from the reserves, for a total of 11 points, six rebounds and five personal fouls off the bench.
Saturday’s semifinal opponent, Wichita State, will be logging its third game in three days and plays a bruising style of basketball that while beats up on opponents, does take a toll on the team. Much like how the Bearcats eventually wore down SMU and pulled away for the ATS win Friday, I see a well-rested Cincy squad pulling that same stunt versus the Shockers in the second half Saturday. Laying the points with UC.
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