Memphis Tigers (16-11) vs. No. 23 Houston Cougars (21-5)
When and Where: Thursday, February 22, Memphis, Tennessee, 9.00 PM EST
The AAC action continues on Thursday with two matches on the menu including the one that will take place at FedEx Forum in Memphis between the Tigers and their visitors from Houston, the Cougars. This will be a very interesting matchup with potentially big implications for the rankings prior to tournament start. The Tigers are coming off from two consecutive road wins over SMU and Tulane, while the Cougars extended their winning streak to five games after a road victory at Temple on Sunday, 80-59.
The Cougars on the Polls for the first time this season
The five-game winning streak that included taking down of the No. 11 Bearcats resulted in this season’s first appearance on the AP and Coaches’ Polls for the Houston Cougars team. Generally, they are in top-100 in most statistical segments this season as they score 76.7 points per contest on offense (95th nationally) and allow only 64.6 points per game to their opponents (18th in the NCAA). The team also plays a very physical game as they average 20.7 fouls per matchup (78th in the country).
On the other side, when we look at the individual stat sheet, we can see that the Cougars are not a very team-effort orientated squad. Five guys are averaging more than 80% of total points scored and the leader is senior guard Robert Gray Jr. with an average of 17.1 points and team-high 4.2 assists per game. Another senior, forward Devin Davis adds 11.1 points and team-high 6.4 boards while Corey Davis Jr. posts 13.0 points per contest. Wes VanBeck and Armoni Brooks are two remaining players with notable contributions with 9.7 and 6.7 points as no other player averages more than 5.7 points per duel. In a win over the Owls, Corey Davis led the team with 20 points while Devin Davis added 16.
The Tigers trying to go over .500 inside the conference
After a 9-0 home start of the season, the Tigers started to fall back by recording defeats in front of their own crowd and finally they find themselves coming off from three consecutive home losses at the moment. The squad showed some signs of life during the last five days by taking down SMU and Tulane on the road but we’ll see if they’re going to be able to transfer recent solid performances home. The team is putting some mediocre stat numbers as they average 69.9 points (271st nationally) per game on offense. Defensively they are a bit tougher with 70.4 points allowed to their opponents (128th in the NCAA).
Individually, two guys are carrying out the majority of the load so far. Junior Jeremiah Martin is averaging 19.3 points, 4.3 rebounds and team-high 3.9 assists per match while another junior, forward Kyvon Davenport records 12.9 points and team-high 6.2 boards per duel. Senior guard Jimario Rivers is putting solid figures on the scoreboard with 6.8 points, 3.6 boards, and 1.9 assists per matchup. The respectable contribution also comes from guard duo Kareem Brewton Jr. and Jamal Johnson who are posting 8.4 and 6.4 points on average. In a win over the Green Wave, Martin led the squad with 22 points while Davenport added 10.
- 4-0-1 ATS in their last five games vs. a team with a winning straight up record.
- 4-0-1 ATS in their last five games overall.
- 1-6 O/U in their last seven games following an ATS win.
- 2-6 ATS in their last eight games vs. a team with a winning % above .600.
- 7-18-1 in last 26 meetings between these two foes.
- 2-7 O/U in their last nine home games vs. a team with a road winning % of greater than .600.
The Cougars are a far superior team at the moment and they shouldn’t have any problems with home-struggling Tigers. When it comes to Totals, Under makes most sense according to trends.