Memphis vs East Carolina Odds, Picks and Predictions: Pirates Puzzle Tigers Offense

An East Carolina Pirates squad that's capable of suffocating some of the best offenses in the country will host the Memphis Tigers tonight, and our college basketball betting picks believe RJ Felton will shine for ECU while Memphis' offense is bottled up.

Feb 29, 2024 • 12:35 ET • 4 min read
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This article contains predictions for an old game!

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East Carolina Pirates NCAAM RJ Felton
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The Memphis Tigers hope a rare day can bring a rare road win when they visit the East Carolina Pirates at Williams Arena in Greenville, NC tonight.

The Tigers have won five of their last seven contests but only one of those victories have come on the road. Memphis is 6-5 SU and 4-7 ATS overall as a visitor and has only one away win in its last five AAC road outings.

This clash with ECU is a crucial one for Penny Hardaway’s program, with the Tigers just sitting outside the Top 5 in the conference and trying to improve their seeding before the AAC Tournament tips off.

I break down the college basketball odds for this Leap Day matchup and give my best college basketball picks and predictions for Memphis vs. East Carolina on Thursday, February 29.

Memphis vs East Carolina best odds

Memphis vs East Carolina picks and predictions

This AAC matchup is a contrast in tempo, with the Memphis Tigers pushing the 24th-fastest pace rating in the country while the East Carolina Pirates plod along at 326th in that metric at

East Carolina is very methodical, not only dragging its possessions deep into the shot clock but also sucking opponents into that quicksand. The Pirates have put the brakes on other up-tempo attacks in AAC play, slowing down the likes of Tulane (No. 9 in pace), UTSA (38th), and Tulsa (39th).

East Carolina held the Green Wave to just 67 points — well below their season average of 82.9 ppg — on Feb. 18, checked the Road Runners to 73 points on their own court on Feb. 10, and limited the Golden Hurricane to a mere 57 points back on January 9. Even in non-conference play, ECU’s slow-mo style held a Top-10 scoring offense in Florida to just 70 points.

On the season, the Pirates have given up only 67.5 points per game at home while limiting visitors to an effective field goal rate of 49.3%. East Carolina takes the gas out of transition teams like Memphis and forces them to play more halfcourt offense than they’d like.

On top of that, Memphis has to shake up its rotation again with forward Malcolm Dandridge suspended, which has guys playing out of position as Hardaway tries to plug that frontcourt hole.

Game models predict between 73 and 75 points from the Tigers tonight, which is a tall ask considering how tight these programs have played each other in recent meetings. Memphis has scored 69, 71, 71, and 66 points in its last four clashes with ECU and only one of those games was in Greenville.

My best bet: Memphis team total Under 73.5 (-105 at FanDuel)

Memphis vs East Carolina same-game parlay

Memphis team total Under 73.5

East Carolina +3.5

RJ Felton Over 15.5 points

The Tigers will get stuck in quicksand against ECU’s slowed-down style of play, with the Pirates able to put the brakes on some of the quickest attacks in the country.

Game models call for a close one in Greenville, with the Pirates projected to stay within three points.

RJ Felton has averaged 16.5 points on the season and sees his scoring spike at home, producing more than 18 points per outing. He’s scored 21 points or more in three of his last four home efforts.

Learn how to bet a same-game parlay with these helpful tips and strategies.

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Memphis vs East Carolina spread and Over/Under analysis

Oddsmakers opened Memphis as a 3.5-point road favorite for Thursday’s game, with either the vig on the Tigers climbing or some books moving to Memphis -4. According to Covers Consensus, 62% of early picks are laying the points with the road chalk.

The Tigers have won back-to-back games heading into this battle with ECU, with those wins coming against top-tier conference competition in FAU and Charlotte at home. Memphis has faced a challenging schedule in late February, taking on three of the five teams above it in the AAC standings.

The most recent 78-74 win over Florida Atlantic was especially impressive considering senior forward Malcolm Dandridge was suspended indefinitely ahead of that contest due to eligibility issues. His status is up in the air going forward, but it doesn’t appear he’ll be in action tonight.

East Carolina had a three-game winning streak snapped at Rice over the weekend, which put a dent in the Pirates' plans for the upcoming conference tournament. They’re eighth in the AAC and haven’t been able to get over the hump against the top-level teams in the conference due to a lack of firepower. 

East Carolina runs a very methodical pace on offense and ranks dead last in offensive efficiency in the conference. However, ECU is a solid defensive team and sits No. 2 in defensive efficiency in the AAC, allowing only 67.5 points against at home for the season.

Tonight’s Over/Under opened at 144.5 points and jumped to 146.5 at some books before an abrupted fall to as low as 143 points just before 11 a.m. ET. According to Covers Consensus, 57% of picks are backing the Over.

The Tigers’ pace has led to a 16-11 Over/Under record on the season, with an 8-2-1 O/U clip away from home. Memphis followed a string of four straight Over winners with two straight Under finishes against Charlotte and FAU.

As for the Pirates, their slowed-down approach has manifested an 8-18 O/U record, including a 6-11 O/U count at home. East Carolina has played below the closing total in three straight and owns a 1-9 O/U mark in its last 10 games overall.

Memphis vs East Carolina betting trend to know

Memphis is 8-14-1 ATS (37%) as road favorites in a conference game the past three seasons, including 1-4 ATS as AAC road chalk this year. Find more college basketball betting trends for Memphis vs. East Carolina.

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Memphis vs East Carolina game info

Location: Minges Coliseum, Greenville, NC
Date: Thursday, February 29, 2024
Tip-off: 7:00 p.m. ET

Memphis vs East Carolina key injuries

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