College Basketball Betting: Temple at SMU

College Basketball Betting: Temple at SMU

A battle at the top of the American Athletic Conference highlights the Thursday night college basketball schedule. The red hot Temple Owls, winners of seven straight, head to to Texas to face No. 21 SMU, who are seeking their first league title, and first NCAA Tournament berth since 1993. The Mustangs took the first meeting 60-55 in Philly on January 14th, when forward Marcus Kennedy came off the bench to lead all scorers with 21 points. Temple squandered a 13-point second half lead, so they should be more than eager to play strong for 40 minutes to climb closer to first place in the standings. The Owls have allowed only 52.4 points during their streak, but have lost 22 consecutive road tilts versus ranked opponents. Here’s a preview and prediction for tonight’s game.

TEMPLE AT SMU -6.5

With an RPI ranking of 31, Temple will garner serious consideration for an at-large bid even if they don’t seize the regular or postseason AAC championship. Obviously a road victory against a Top 25 team will look good in the eyes of the selection committee. Senior Will Cummings leads the roster in scoring, assists, and steals; he’s averaging 16.6 points and 5 assists in his last five starts. Fellow senior Jesse Morgan is a streaky three-point specialist who isn’t shy about firing from long range; he went 3-10 from beyond the arc in the first meeting, but has knocked down 7-18 in his last two outings. The Owls can crash the glass due in large part to forward Jaylen Bond, who has reached double-digit rebounds eight times this season. Don’t expect a lot of points in this one as both the Owls and ‘Stangs excel at playing inspired defense.

Veteran coach Larry Brown has kept the Mustangs afloat despite the season-long academic suspension to sophomore guard Nick Frazier. Nic Moore is the team’s table-setter. In all five of their defeats, Moore has failed to total more than 13 points, although he only netted 10 on 4-11 shooting in the first matchup. SMU plays the kind of defense that Brown is known for at both the collegiate and professional level; they’ve yielded 70 or more points once since losing to Arkansas on November 25th. The margin of victory in their last five home contests has been by an average of 22 points; that includes an 18-point smackdown of defending national champion Connecticut last Saturday. The low post duo of Yanick Moreira and Markus Kennedy are active at both ends of the floor and will be relied upon to convert in the paint to complement Moore’s outside shooting.

The Owls are 12-10-1 overall and 6-4 ATS on the road. SMU is 11-10-2 ATS overall and 7-4-2 ATS at home. The home court advantage cannot be overlooked, but this has the feel of a back-and-forth tussle.

Bet Temple +6.5