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East Carolina’s Rematch with Memphis a Tough Call

Will Pirates Upset Tigers again?

One of the sure things in the American Athletic Conference in recent years is that Memphis will beat East Carolina. It happened six times in a row before the Pirates’ wild comeback resulted in a one-point win on January 15.

Memphis lost its first four games decided by four points or less but has won two of the last three games determined by no more than four points including a two-point win at Tulsa the last time out.

East Carolina vs Memphis: Live Stream, Odds, Picks & Predictions 2022
SARAH STIER / GETTY IMAGES VIA AFP

An issue for East Carolina is that the Pirates are 10-1 at home and 0-3 in true road games while seven of the 10 wins recorded by Memphis have come at home.

Memphis (+175) came into the season with the best odds to win the American Athletic Conference while East Carolina (+12500) ranked last in that category.

  • Game: East Carolina (11-7) at Memphis (10-8)
  • Location: FedEx Forum
  • Day/Time: Thursday, January 27, 9 p.m. ET
  • Television: ESPN2

East Carolina Pirates at Memphis Tigers

Don’t Expect Encore from East Carolina’s Suggs

When East Carolina welcomed Memphis on January 15, the Pirates were seven-point underdogs at home but Brandon Suggs had other ideas.

Memphis led by 14 points at halftime and by 10 with 2:18 play but four foul shots and a pair of 3-pointers allowed East Carolina to tie the game. With the Tigers back up by a point, Suggs hit the game-winning baskets with two seconds left. He finished with 17 points.

Suggs is not expected to play in this game, which would deprive the Pirates of one of the team’s three double-digit scorers.

Leading scorer Tristen Newton is also dealing with some injury issues but it is likely that he will play more than 30 minutes for the eighth game in a row.

It’s been a tough road since the win over Memphis as the Pirates lost to UCF in overtime despite 27 points from Newton.

The next time out, ECU struggled to hit 27 points as a team as the Pirates were destroyed 79-36 by nationally ranked Houston.

Only four players have appeared in all 18 games for East Carolina.

The Pirates have covered against the college basketball spreads in three of the last four meetings with Memphis.

Memphis Shorthanded

If East Carolina is disappointed not to have Suggs available, just imagine how the other team in this rivalry is feeling.

Memphis coach Penny Hardaway said that Landers Nolley DeAndre Williams and Jayden Hardaway won’t be able to play against East Carolina and it is uncertain if Jalen Duren will be able to go.

If Duren is out, the Tigers would be without three of their top five scorers. Williams leads the Tigers with an average of 11.3 points per game, Duren contributes 10.7 points as well as a team-best 7.3 rebounds while Nolley is averaging 9.1 points and is one of two Memphis players averaging more than three assists per game.

Without those four players, it was all hands on deck when Memphis played at Tulsa the last time out. The Memphis bench outscored the starting five by a count of 44-39 led by Tyler Harris’ season-high 24 points off the bench as he connected on six three-pointers. Harris played 10 minutes or less in five of the Tigers’ first eight games but with so many key players out of action, he has averaged 30 minutes and has averaged 17.8 points on 58& shooting over the last five games including the first meeting with the Pirates.

Memphis is 0-5-1 against the Las Vegas odds in its last six games.

Memphis Heavy Favorite

Memphis losing both regular-season games to East Carolina was unthinkable coming into the season when Memphis was ranked in the top 15 in the Associated Press poll.

Despite being down three and possibly even four players, the Tigers are favored by 13 points, which certainly feels like a large number. Obviously, that number could move in either direction depending on whether Memphis freshman Jalen Duren suits up. However, only one of Memphis’ last eight wins has come by more than 13 points.

Something to consider for those who bet online, the total has gone under in four of the last six games that Memphis has played while seven of East Carolina’s games have gone over the total. East Carolina is last in the conference in scoring defense allowing 72.2 points per game and only Tulsa has a worse field-goal percentage defense than the Pirates among AAC teams.

Pick: Memphis Tigers -790

Pick: East Carolina Pirates +12½ (-105)

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