NCAAB: Thursday we like Tigers to hang with Owls and ’Cuse to roll
Memphis head coach Penny Hardaway, middle, talks to his players guard Kareem Brewton Jr. (5), guard Raynere Thornton (4) and forward Kyvon Davenport (0) after a time out during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game against Houston Sunday, Jan. 6, 2019, in Houston. (AP Photo/Michael Wyke)(AP Photo/Michael Wyke)

NCAAB: Thursday we like Tigers to hang with Owls and ’Cuse to roll

Memphis +5 @ TEMPLE 7 pm, Miami @ SYRACUSE (-9) at 8 pm

Memphis +5 @ TEMPLE 7 pm
Pick: Memphis +5

After four straight conference wins, the Temple Owls (14-4) lost on Saturday in a trap game against Penn. Now they’re back in conference and led by Shizz Alston Jr., whose 18.9 PPG is good for third in the American Conference. Nate Pierre-Louis has become a dependable second option, making big strides from his freshman season, and averages 14 PPG and 6 RPG. Coach Fran Dunphy has led the Owls to be consistent on both ends of the floor averaging 76 PPG and giving up 70 PPG.

The Memphis Tigers (12-6), under first-year coach Penny Hardaway, have also started off the season strong behind Kyvon Davenport and Jeremiah Martin, who combine for 30 PPG. The Tigers have excelled offensively -- 84 PPG, 17th in the nation.

The Tigers have also been 10-7-1 ATS and are riding a three-game winning streak. The Owls have been 7-9-2 ATS but had a big upset win against then-undefeated Houston earlier in the month.

Memphis can score with anyone as shown in their matchup with 17-1 Tennessee. Temple has been hard to trust with the spread as most of their games have come within a five-point margin in January. I’m going to take Memphis here in an upset as their fast paced offense may catch the Owls off guard.

Miami @ SYRACUSE (-9) at 8 pm
Syracuse -9

The last time that I wrote about the Orange they managed to not only cover the spread but pull off the upset against top-ranked Duke. However, what’s astonishing is that the Orange are still not in the Top 25 after impressive victories over Georgia Tech and Ohio State. They’re currently ranked 32nd in the AP Poll but have received no love in the Coaches Poll.

The Orange (13-5) have remained consistent on defense under Coach Jim Boeheim. Tyus Battle has been magnificent on both ends of the floor averaging 18 PPG and 1.5 SPG. Paschal Chukwu, despite a lack of playing time, has been the Orange’s main rim protector averaging nearly 6 RPG and 2 BPG.

The Hurricanes (9-8) have been struggling mightily this season as they’ve only managed to capture one win against P5 schools. One of the few bright spots has been guard Chris Lykes. Lykes despite only being 5’6” has been leading the Hurricanes in scoring (18 PPG) and has shot 37.5% beyond the arc. Although averaging 76.5 PPG, the ’Canes have been underwhelming ATS in conference play at 2-3-0. The Orange, meanwhile, are 4-1-0 ATS in conference play.

The Hurricanes have regressed since last year’s NCAA Tournament appearance but are a better team than their record shows. However, the Orange are one of the hottest teams in the nation and they’re at home.

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