Featured Video from Scott Reichel
Cincinnati Bearcats vs. SMU Mustangs
NCAAB: Friday, March 15, 2019, FedExForum, Memphis, Tennessee, 7:00 PM ET
The 2019 AAC Basketball Tournament Quarterfinals showdown at FedExForum in Memphis will see the Cincinnati Bearcats and the SMU Mustangs taking on each other for the third time this season. The Bearcats have won both previous matchups, beating the Mustangs 73-68 as 11.5-point favorites at home and 52-49 as 4-point favorites on the road.
The Bearcats look to get back on the winning track
The Cincinnati Bearcats (25-6; 14-4 Conf.) have finished the regular season at the second spot of the AAC table after losing to the Houston Cougars 85-69 in the season finale in front of the home audience. The Bearcats shot just 38.0% from the field, hitting six of their 21 attempts from beyond the arc, while their game completely fell apart in the second half that they lost by 14 points. It was Cincinnati’s second loss in a row after a 58-55 defeat at the UCF Knights, while the Bearcats are 7-3 straight up and 1-9 ATS over their last ten contests overall.
Cincinnati enters the matchup with SMU as a No. 27 at the NCAA NET Rankings and a No. 35 at the latest KenPom rankings. The Bearcats are scoring 110.2 points per 100 possessions (57th in the country), allowing 94.0 points in a return (26th in the country). The junior guard Jarron Cumberland is leading the way for the Bearcats, averaging 18.4 points, 4.4 rebounds, and 3.5 assists per game while making 40.5% of his field goals. The sophomore guard Keith Williams is tallying 10.6 points per game on 45.5% shooting from the field, while the junior forward Tre Scott is posting 8.9 points and 6.6 rebounds per contest.
The Mustangs seek a payoff to make it to the semis
The SMU Mustangs (15-16; 6-12 Conf.) comfortably defeated the Tulsa Golden Hurricane 74-65 in yesterday’s first-round matchup. After tight first five minutes, the Mustangs took control and dominated the Golden Hurricane for the rest of the game. SMU shot 46.2% from the field, nailing ten triples out of 25 attempts from deep while limiting their rivals on just 36.4% shooting from the field. Jahmal McMurray had a big night with 27 points and five assists, making seven of his 14 field-goal attempts, while Ethan Chargois added 12 points and six rebounds. It was SMU’s second win in a row and just third in the last 12 outings.
The 10th-seeded Mustangs advance to play No. 2 Cincinnati in the quarterfinals on Friday at 7 p.m. ET/6 p.m. CT. pic.twitter.com/M2JLz4Fvt9
— American MBB (@American_MBB) March 15, 2019
The Mustangs enters the clash with Cincinnati as a No. 103 at the NCAA NET Rankings and a No. 117 at the latest KenPom rankings. They are tallying 111.5 points per 100 possessions (44th in the country), surrendering 106.7 points in a return (225th in the country). The senior guard Jahmal McMurray is leading the way for SMU this season, averaging 17.8 points, 2.4 rebounds, and 2.5 assists per game. The sophomore forward Ethan Chargois is posting 12.5 points and 6.3 rebounds per contest, while the junior guard Jimmy Whitt Jr. is tallying 12.1 points, 6.5 boards, and 4.1 dimes per outing.
- 6-2 ATS in the last eight meetings with Cincinnati
- 5-2 ATS in the last seven games overall
- 0-8 ATS in the last eight games overall
- 3-8 ATS in the last 11 contests in March
- Under is 7-2 in the last nine games overall
The Bottom Line What to bet on this game.
Full-Game Side Bet
The Cincinnati Bearcats will be strong favorites here and should have enough firepower to outlast the Mustangs and reach the semifinals. However, the Bearcats have been terrible against the spread lately, so I’m backing the Mustangs, who are 5-2 ATS in their last seven outings, to cover the spread tonight. The Mustangs stayed close in both their encounters with the Bearcats this season, and I think they will do it again on this one.
Prediction: SMU Mustangs +7.0 (-110)
Full-Game Total Pick
I expect to see some down-tempo basketball here, as both Cincinnati and SMU play at a very slow pace. The Bearcats are averaging 63.4 possessions per 40 minutes (339th in the country), while the Mustangs are recording 65.0 possessions per 40 minutes (312th in the country). Therefore, I’m backing the under.
Prediction: Under 130.0 points (-110)
Full-Game Prop Bet
Four of the Bearcats’ last five games were decided by four or fewer points, while four of the Mustangs’ last five matchups were decided by nine or fewer points. Both teams play at a very slow pace, so the winning margin shouldn’t be a huge one even though the Bearcats are listed as 7-point favorites. Both H2H duels of the regular season were decided by five or fewer points, so I’m looking for another tight outcome.
Prediction: Winning Margin: Any Team by 1-5 points (+190)
Half-Time Side Pick
During the regular season, both Cincinnati and SMU had a lead at halftime on the home court in their H2H matchups. The Bearcats were leading at halftime in two of their last five games overall, while the Mustangs were leading at halftime in three of their last five outings including a 6-point lead over Cincinnati. This one could go either way, but I’m taking Cincinnati to cover. The Bearcats will play their first game at the tournament, so they should be keen to make a good start.
Prediction: Cincinnati Bearcats -3.5 (-110)