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Memphis, SMU Clash in Key AAC Matchup

Tigers on 6-Game Win Streak

Memphis Tigers vs SMU Mustangs Betting Prediction

The Memphis Tigers go for a seventh straight win when they take on the SMU Mustangs in a key American Athletic Conference contest on Sunday. The opening tip for this game is scheduled for 3 p.m. ET at Moody Coliseum in Dallas.

Memphis (15-8, 9-4 AAC) has pulled itself back into the AAC race and potential NCAA Tournament consideration with its streak, which includes a road victory over the Cincinnati Bearcats on Tuesday. The Tigers are in third place in the AAC standings, trailing the second-place Mustangs by a half-game and leading fourth-place Tulane by a half-game.

Earl Timberlake reacts Memphis vs SMU picks
Sarah Stier/Getty Images/AFP

The Mustangs (18-6, 9-3) have stumbled a bit of late, dropping two of four, including a loss on the road to Temple on Wednesday. SMU is trying to hang onto its spot in second place in the conference, sitting a game behind first-place Houston.

If you want to bet online on this contest, the college basketball lines have the Tigers as three-point favorites on the road, with the over/under set at 146½ points. Betting on the moneyline will get you Memphis at -150 and SMU at +130.

Sudden Roll

The Tigers lost to the Mustangs in the teams’ first meeting this season on Jan. 20, but they haven’t lost since. Coach Penny Hardaway had a bit of an outburst in the postgame press conference, which has seemed to ignite the fire in Memphis, as it is suddenly back in the hunt for the AAC title and an NCAA Tournament berth.

Six straight victories have seen the Tigers rise to inside most NCAA Tournament field predictions, and Memphis can move into sole possession of second place in the AAC standings with a victory in this one. It’s also important in that Memphis and SMU could be being compared by the NCAA Tournament Committee on Selection Sunday.

The Memphis offensive attack has been balanced, with freshman center Jalen Duren leading the way with 11.4 points and 7.7 rebounds per game while shooting 63.6% from the floor. Duren is also a force on the defensive end, averaging 2.2 blocks per game.

Senior forward DeAndre Williams is also averaging in double-digits with 11.0 points per game. He’s also contributing 5.6 rebounds and 1.4 steals per contest.

Memphis continues to play without heralded freshman forward Emoni Bates, who is averaging 10.4 points but hasn’t played since a Jan. 27 win over East Carolina due to back issues. There were rumors that Bates was done with the Tigers, but he’s been back with the team and trying to get back out onto the court.

Sudden Struggles

SMU was hoping to catch Houston in the race for the AAC top spot, but all of a sudden, the Mustangs are trying not to fall out of the top three in the standings and keep their place in March Madness. SMU is coming off a tough loss to Temple in which it only scored 57 points. In fact, the two losses in the last four games have each come with the team managing only 57.

Part of the reason for that against the Owls was the absence of Kendric Davis, the top scorer in the AAC this season. Davis is averaging 19.1 points per game but missed Wednesday’s game with an ankle injury, and his status for Sunday is uncertain. Davis is also pacing the Mustangs with 4.8 assists per contest, so if he’s unable to go, it’s going to be difficult for SMU to score points.

Forward Marcus Weathers is averaging 12.3 points and a team-high 7.1 rebounds per game. He’ll need to battle inside with Duren to keep the freshman from having a big game.

Guard Michael Weathers is making his mark on both ends of the floor. Weathers is averaging 10.1 points, 5.4 rebounds and 2.2 assists as well as leading the Mustangs with 1.5 steals and 1.1 blocks per contest.

Tigers Win Wild One

These two teams can put points on the board, ranking first and third in the conference in scoring offense. If Davis can’t go, though, SMU is going to be missing a key piece to its offense, and that’s not a good thing against a hot team like Memphis.

When doing your college basketball betting, take the Tigers to win and cover on the road.

Pick: Memphis Tigers -3

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