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Tigers forward Mike Parks Jr. on his upcoming matchup with UCF big man Tacko Fall pic.twitter.com/Mmoe2sNUQa
— The BarnBurner (@The_BarnBurner) February 14, 2019
Memphis has surprised some folks during conference play under first year head coach Penny Hardaway and the Tigers suddenly find themselves in a tie for fifth place in the AAC standings. Meanwhile, the Knights are currently in third place with an 8-3 mark in league play, but they are just 1.5-games ahead of the Tigers in the conference standings. Can Memphis make up some ground by sweeping the season series over the Knights on Saturday afternoon?
Martin jolts Tigers to victory over ECU
Memphis defeated East Carolina 79-69 on the road on Wednesday night to push their winning streak to two games. Jeremiah Martin scored 31 points to lead all scorers, while Mike Parks added 12 for the Tigers, who used a late second-half run to pull away with the victory.
Memphis lost to USF.
Burying the lead: Jeremiah Martin dropped 41 SECOND-HALF POINTS for the Tigers 😱 pic.twitter.com/G8CzmUgZ40
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) February 3, 2019
Penny Hardaway’s squad enters the weekend slotted at No. 77 in the latest KenPom rankings after improving to 7-5 in conference play. Memphis comes in scoring 109.4 points per 100 possessions for the season (66th in the NCAA) and 104.8 points per 100 possessions in AAC play (6th in the AAC). The Tigers play at one of the fastest paces in the country on offense, but their fast pace has caused them to be careless with the basketball, as they have turned the ball over on 19.7 percent of their offensive possessions during the conference season (10th in the AAC). They have shot a healthy 53.8 percent from two-point range in league play, but the Tigers have connected on just 31.5 percent of their total field goal attempts from beyond the arc (9th in the AAC), which has also held them back offensively.
On the other end of the floor, Memphis relies on forcing turnovers to get stops and get out in transition. The Tigers have surrendered 100.6 points per 100 possessions for the season (110th in the NCAA) and 101.3 points per 100 possessions during league play (5th in the AAC). They have forced AAC opponents to turn the ball over on a whopping 21.1 percent of their defensive possessions, but that has also left them vulnerable at the rim and they have allowed opponents to shoot a healthy 51.2 percent from inside the arc so far this year (10th in the AAC).
Fall dominates in victory over South Florida
UCF never trailed and led by as many as 26 points en route to a blowout victory at home versus South Florida on Wednesday night. Tacko Fall finished with 21 points, nine rebounds and nine blocks on the night, while BJ Taylor added 13 points and handed out seven dimes to help the Knights cruise to victory. Fall, a 7-foot-6 senior, shot just 9 of 21 from the free throw line for the game and is now shooting just 32.5 percent from the charity stripe so far this season.
Tacko Fall gets the friendly, friendly, friendly, friendly bounce on the free throw pic.twitter.com/8fCMQLUdrL
— Dan Why-Ner (@DanWeiner) February 14, 2019
Johnny Dawkins has guided the Knights to an impressive 18-5 overall record and an 8-3 mark in AAC play so far this season. UCF enters Saturday’s matchup ranked No. 49 in the latest KenPom rankings and ESPN Bracketologist Joe Lunardi has pegged the Knights as a No. 11 seed in his latest NCAA Tournament projections. The Knights come in scoring 110.1 points per 100 possessions for the year (54th in the NCAA), but that number has dropped all the way down to 104.5 points per 100 possessions during AAC play (7th in the AAC). UCF sports the second-best effective field goal percentage in the conference at 52.1 percent, while shooting 54.0 percent from inside the arc (1st in the AAC) during conference play. They also sport the second-best free throw rate in the AAC at 51.8 percent, but they have shot an unsightly 62.1 percent from the free throw line as a team in league play (12th in the AAC).
- Knights are 2-5 ATS in their last 7 games vs. a team with a winning straight up record.
- Knights are 1-4 ATS in their last 5 home games vs. a team with a road winning % of less than .400.
- Knights are 1-4-1 ATS in their last 6 home games.
- Tigers are 8-2 ATS in their last 10 Saturday games.
- Over is 9-3 in Tigers last 12 games following a straight up win.
- Over is 35-17 in Tigers last 52 games following a ATS win.
The Bottom Line What to bet on this game.
Full-Game Side Bet
The favorite has dominated this series as of late, going 13-3-1 against the spread in the last 17 meetings in this series and the home team has covered the spread in four of their last five matchups. Memphis has struggled versus the Knights recently, going 1-5 against the spread in the last six meeting in this series — but that cover came earlier this season when they blew out UCF 77-57 at home. This technically qualifies as a revenge game for the Knights, but UCF has struggled with turnovers during conference play and they are shooting poorly from the free throw line as a team, which has me leaning towards the Tigers covering the spread on the road in this spot on Saturday night.
Prediction: Pick: Memphis Tigers
Full-Game Total Pick
Memphis plays at one of the fastest paces in the country and they force turnovers at a high rate on the defensive end of the floor, so it wouldn’t be a surprise to see a high point total in this one. The Knights have gone over the projected total in each of their last four games versus AAC opponents and five of their last six home games. Meanwhile, Memphis has gone over the projected total in 35 of their last 52 games after covering the spread in their previous contest and the over is 9-3 in their last 12 games following a victory in their previous game. Look for this AAC matchup to go over the projected total on Saturday night.