The No. 8 Cincinnati Bearcats (27-4, 16-2 AAC) and the SMU Mustangs (17-15, 7-12 AAC) face off in the American Athletic Conference Tournament at Amway Center. The Over/Under (O/U) for the game has been set at 127 points with Cincinnati opening as a 13-point favorite. Action begins at 12 p.m. ET on Friday, March 9, 2018, and it can be seen on ESPN2.
SMU Mustangs vs. Cincinnati Bearcats Odds Preview
The Mustangs beat the Connecticut Huskies in their last contest, 80-73. Ben Emelogu II led SMU in scoring with 23 points on 6-for-10 shooting. SMU played a nearly perfect game. They had a great free throw rate of 0.316 (above their season average of 0.211) and a turnover percentage of 13.0 (better than their season average of 15.6). For those same stats, Connecticut put up marks of 0.217 and 17.0, respectively.
In the Bearcats’ last game, they beat the No. 11 Wichita State Shockers, 62-61. Cincinnati was lifted by Jacob Evans III, who was the top scorer from either team with 19 points on 7-for-16 shooting. The Bearcats had an absurdly low turnover percentage of 7.2 (better than their season average of 14.9) and held the Shockers to an offensive rebounding percentage of 27.3 (below their season average of 35.5).
Half-court execution will be at a premium when a pair of the NCAA’s slowest-paced teams battle. Cincinnati ranks 316th in possessions per game (66.3) and SMU is 348th (63.7). Also, the Mustangs rank 269th in free throw attempt (FTA) rate (0.215), while the Bearcats rank 33rd in opponents’ FTA rate (0.191).
Of SMU’s 26 games that accepted bets, 14 have finished under the projected point total, while 16 of Cincinnati’s 27 games have finished under the projected point total. The Bearcats hold a substantial advantage in both straight up (SU) and against the spread (ATS) records. They are 27-4 SU and 17-11 ATS, while the Mustangs are 17-15 SU and 11-15 ATS.
These two teams have met twice already this season, with the Bearcats winning both. Jimmy Whitt scored a game-high 19 points in the most recent game, in which the Mustangs lost 76-51, unable to cover as 7.5-point underdogs. The two teams combined to put up 127 points, which was just 2 points above the projected point total of 125 points. The Bearcats dominated every facet of the game. They had a superb turnover percentage of 8.8 and a free throw rate of 0.238. For those same stats, the Mustangs recorded marks of 17.9 and 0.153, respectively.
SMU Mustangs vs. Cincinnati Bearcats Free Prediction
Pick: SU Winner – Cincinnati, ATS Winner – Cincinnati, O/U – Under
- The Bearcats rank 97th in three pointers allowed per game (20.6) while the Mustangs rank 226th (23.5).
- SMU ranks 42nd in steals per game (7.4) while Cincinnati ranks 14th in steals allowed per game (4.8).
- Cincinnati ranks 23rd in rebounds per game (39.2) while SMU ranks 213th (33.7).
- The Bearcats rank 10th in assists allowed per game (10.2) while the Mustangs rank 199th (14.3).
- Cincinnati ranks eighth in blocks per game (5.6) while SMU ranks 150th (3.1).
- Cincinnati is 3-2 ATS with 2 overs, 2 unders and 1 push in their last five games.
- Over their last five games, SMU is 2-3 ATS with 4 unders and 1 over.
- The Bearcats’ average margin of victory in their last five games has been 11.8, down from 18.3 for the season.
- During their last five games, the Mustangs have scored an average of 69.0 points per game (1.1 below their season average) and allowed an average of 69.8 points per game (5.6 above their season average).