Memphis Tigers vs. Houston Cougars – ATS Analysis and Free Pick – 3/8/20

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memphis tigers free pick
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Memphis Tigers (21-9) vs. #21 Houston Cougars (22-8)

Date/Time: Sunday, March 8, 2020 12:00 PM CBS

Memphis may have gotten themselves off the Big Dance bubble winning four of their last five games and can further that cause with a road win over a ranked Houston team in the season finale for both teams.

On the season Memphis is 18-12 ATS with an O/U record of 13-17 and Ohio State is 16-14 ATS with an O/U record of 12-18.

After losing three in a row Memphis has won two straight and four of their last five games and in that span, they were at home and beat Houston 60-59. They are tied for third place in the AAC standings and not from a major conference even at 21 wins they could use a strong finish to the season to ensure an NCAA Tourney invite.

The Tigers are led by a defense that ranks 54th in the nation in points allowed per game and in their home win over Houston a few games back they held the Cougars to 34.4% shooting.

Houston has lost two of three and three of their last four games and those losses hurt being one game back of Tulsa in the AAC standings. Like the Tigers, the Cougars are led by a defense that ranks 15th in the nation only allowing an average of 62.3 ppg but in two of their last three losses they gave up at least 72 points.

On the season Houston is 13-2 at home and Memphis is 5-5 on the road.

Precious is Precious

Memphis was at home in their last game where they beat Wichita State 68-60 where the season’s leading scorer in Precious Achiuwa came up big going for 14 points and 16 rebounds. While the Tigers only shot 37.7% from the floor they held the Shockers to 34.4% shooting and shot the 3-pointer better.

Besides Achiuwa’s big game in the win over Wichita State reserve Tyler Harris stepped up more than doubling his season average (8.8 ppg) to score 19 points off the bench.

Achiuwa (15.5 ppg 10.6 rpg) is also the team’s leading rebounder and leads three players averaging in double figures. he has been a beast on the boards in his last two games and in the game before the win over Wichita State he had 22 points and 22 rebounds. D.J. Jeffries (10.8 ppg) is the second leading scorer and went scoreless in the win over Wichita State while going for 18 points in his previous game.

Lester Quinones (10.7 ppg) had 12 points in the last game and he has gone for double figures in three of his last four games.

In the win over Houston a few games back the defense was key as was the bench play, as Achiuwa and Quinones each had 10 points, but each was also only 1-9 from the floor. However, their aggressive style allowed them to combined to go 16-20 from the free-throw line.

Cougars Hope for Home Cooking

While Houston has lost three of their last five games all three losses were on the road and at home and they are unbeaten in conference play.

In the Cougars’ last game they were on the road and lost to UCONN 77-71 where they were outscored by 13 points in the second half, only shot 36.6% from the floor, and allowed the Huskies to shoot 50%.

Quentin Grimes and Caleb Mills came off the bench to combine for 44 points but were only a combined 15/37 from the floor.

Mills leads the team averaging 13.5 ppg and he has gone for at least 20 points in three of his last four games. Grimes (12 ppg) had only totaled seven points in three games before scoring 24 points in the loss to UCONN. Nate Hinton (10.5 ppg 8.8 rpg) is the leading rebounder for Houston and he has totaled 27 points and 12 boards in his last two games.

Our Prediction

Memphis has covered the spread in three of their last four games including their last two.

Houston has failed to cover the spread in four of their last six games, but they have covered in their last three home games.

Houston will play better in this game than they have in their last few mainly because they are at home and it is the season finale.

However, Memphis is confident coming into the game-winning two in a row and four of their last five games including beating the Cougars. This game will be like the first one in a defensive battle and while Memphis may not get the W they will, at least, cover the spread in what will be a close game.

Houston 68 Memphis 58