(21) SMU Mustangs (-2.5, 128 o/u) at Memphis Tigers
This evening, the No. 21 SMU Mustangs (22-5, 13-2 American) will take on the Memphis Tigers (17-10, 9-5 American) for the second time this season, looking to hold serve in their battle with Tulsa for top spot in the American Conference. (The game is at the FedEx Forum in Memphis at 9:00 PM Eastern.)
In the first meeting, SMU destroyed the Tigers, 73-59, in Dallas, covering the spread as ten-point favorites. Markus Kennedy scored 21 points for the Mustangs, who shot nearly 52-percent from the field as a team.
SMU has won 12 of its last 13 games to join Tulsa at the top of the American standings (three games up on the next closest team). In their last game, the Mustangs were down eight at the half to Temple, but roared back for a 67-58 home win.
The energy in Moody Coliseum was noticeably low in the first half, but the team did what it had to do in the second frame.
“Me and Cannen [Cunningham] were just talking about how it felt like we were playing in the old Moody for a little bit,” SMU’s Ryan Manuel said of the first half. “And the second half, we played one of the most energized halves that we’ve played since I’ve been here.”
The Tigers, meanwhile, beat UCF in overtime in their last game (75-65), notching their third win in a row.
In ESPN’s latest March Madness bracket projection, Memphis is nowhere to be found. But the Tigers have a chance to do themselves a huge favor tonight against their conference’s top-ranked team. If they can get by SMU tonight and Tulsa on Saturday, they may be in the mix when the next projection comes out.
The odds-makers opened with SMU as a two-point favorite, and now that number has climbed to 2.5.
In the trends, Memphis is 11-4 SU in its last 15 against SMU, but just 2-6 ATS in the last eight of those. The total has stayed under in four of the last six between these two squads.
(Photo credit: John McStravick (flickr) [https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/legalcode]. Photo may appear cropped.)