The fifth ranked Houston Cougars (7-1, 2-1) will travel to face the SMU Mustangs (6-0, 2-0) in a huge American Athletic Conference showdown. Houston will be looking to bounce back from their first loss of the season when they fell at Tulsa 65-64.
SMU will look to remain undefeated and win a game that would give them a leg up on conference favorite Houston. The Mustangs are undefeated but have no top 50 wins.
Houston Betting Preview
Kelvin Sampson has Houston playing some of the best basketball in the nation, let alone the AAC. The loss against Tulsa was their worst performance of the year, but this team should still be able to bring home a conference title and a win against SMU will go a long way come season’s end.
The Cougars are led by Quentin Grimes who is averaging 18.5 points per game. He is second on the team averaging 7.3 rebounds per game. Grimes is putting up the points but is struggling with his shot as he is shooting under 40% from the field.
Sophomore Marcus Sasser has been the most efficient Houston player and is averaging 15 points per game. Sasser is shooting 37% from behind the arc. Tramon Mark is the only other Cougars’ player averaging in double figures at 10.1 per contest.
Houston is ranked ninth in the nation by Kenpom. The offense is 13th in efficiency and the defense ranks 10th.
SMU Betting Preview
Tim Jankovich has his SMU Mustangs playing well enough that they look like they could challenge Houston for the AAC crown and also a chance at an at-large bid come May. SMU is missing the signature win from their resume and a win against the fifth ranked Cougars would almost certainly propel SMU to a top 25 ranking.
Kendric Davis is leading SMU in scoring (19.2), assists (7.2) and steals (1.8). Davis has been one of the best players in the nation and is shooting 47.6% from three-point range and has an assist-to-turnover ratio of almost 4-1.
Emmanuel Bandoumel, Feron Hunt, Ethan Chargois and Darius McNeil are all averaging in double figures for the Mustangs. Chargois leads the team in rebounding at 7.7 per game and Hunt is the leading shot blocker averaging 1.3 per game.
Kenpom has SMU ranked 48th in the nation. Their offense is 33rd in efficiency while the defense ranks 59th.
Cougars/Mustangs Betting Lines
Mybookie has Houston as a 2.5-point favorite. The total is set at 136 points.
Free Betting Pick
This should be a great game and an early preview of the likely AAC championship game. SMU is shooting at a ridiculous clip but have yet to see a defense nearly as good as this Houston group.
The Cougars will frustrate SMU and open looks will be at a premium. Grimes ends all the talk of Davis bringing home AAC Player of the Year as Houston rebounds from their loss to Tulsa.
Houston 70, SMU 65
Spooky Express Free Pick: Houston -2.5