The Memphis Tigers were ousted in last year’s second round of “March Madness” with a 70-48 setback to the Michigan State Spartans. Josh Pastner’s troops open this season’s campaign as hefty ‘chalk’ in Thursday’s NCAAB betting against the Austin Peay Governors.
Check out SBRs NCAA Basketball Pick: Detroit vs. Connecticut
Jackson, Crawford return for Tigers
Tigers guard Joe Jackson
returns for his senior year, following team-highs last season in scoring (13.6
PPG) and assists (4.8 APG). Memphis is left trying to fill the void of
departures D.J. Stephens (6.6 RPG) and Adonis Thomas (29.3 MPG), bringing in a
solid crew of recruits.
Austin Nichols and Nick
King lead the team’s incoming freshman, shaping up as a formidable duo in the
front court. Nichols hopes to pay some instant dividends, turning down offers
from five other contenders – including the Duke Blue Devils. King is a local
prospect from East High School in Memphis, garnering five-star rankings from
Jackson is joined by
guard Chris Crawford, who returns following big numbers in the Tigers’ third
straight Conference USA title run. Memphis now makes its debut in the American
Athletic Conference, shifting groups along with fellow rivals Houston and SMU.
Governors pull away at home
Austin Peay began its
season’s action with Friday’s 84-69 victory over the Oakland City Mighty Oaks.
Dave Loos’ squad put the game away in the second half, outscoring the Mighty
Oaks after the break by a 44-31 margin.
Governors forward Ed
Dyson hit 7-of-10 field buckets, notching a team-high 17 points. The junior’s
frontcourt mates Chris Horton and Will Triggs united for 24 boards, leading
their crew to outrebound the Mighty Oaks, 46-27.
Horton added three of
his side’s four blocks, while guard Cory Arentsen came off the bench to drain
3-of-5 shots beyond the arc. Austin Peay’s Travis Betran and Demarius Smith
each logged five assists, while they and their mates logged a subpar 20-for-36
night at the foul line.
Back the Governors as big dogs
Memphis opened as a
25-point home favorite at BetOnline, with early wagers on the Governors
dropping the number a ‘hook’ to 24 ½. Both teams are off until Tuesday’s NCAAB
betting odds, with the Tigers traveling to meet Oklahoma State and Austin Peay
returning home against Southern Illinois.
I am taking the big
number in this spot, looking for Austin Peay to cash as part of Thursday’s
NCAA Basketball picks.
The Governors ranked
fourth in the Ohio Valley last year for field shooting (45.7 percent),
including three-point buckets at a 38.3 percent clip. Chris Horton returns as
the conference’s top shot blocker (3.2 BPG), which should give just enough
presence to match the Tigers’ potential octane.
Memphis has a promising lineup
for its opener, but emptied wallets with a 2-7 spread record in last season’s
first nine spots as a double-digit
favorite. The stretch included a tighter outing than expected in the Tigers’
first ‘board’ battle, topping the Samford Bulldogs in a 65-54 win as 25 ½-point
Austin Peay surged in
the other direction with a 7-2 ATS mark in its first nine affairs as a 9
½-point underdog or more. Horton and Co. should have enough confidence to stay
within cashing range again here, while Memphis has a 2-6 spread mark in its
last eight matchups against Ohio Valley foes.
NCAA Basketball Pick: Austin Peay Governors +24 ½ at BetOnline