Neither SMU nor Memphis is on track to make this year’s NCAA Tournament but that doesn’t mean their matchup should be completely off our radar.
SMU is short-handed and vulnerable against the spread tonight and a play on the road Tigers is worth taking advantage of. Memphis is getting 7.5 as these two sub-.500 teams battle in the American Athletic.
SMU has looked good at times this season but it’s currently in the middle of its second three-game losing streak in conference play.
The Mustangs got blown out by 25 on Sunday against Cincinnati at home, where they were without their two leading scorers.
Shake Milton, a junior guard who averages one 18 points per game, will miss his fourth game in a row on Wednesday night. He is the scorer and playmaker of the team, constantly with the ball in his hands, and the Mustangs look lost without him. They haven’t won a game since he went out.
Jarrey Foster was averaging over 13 a game before he went down six games ago. Foster saw an uptick in scoring this season but a sharp decline in efficiency. It was a sign of how much depth the Mustangs lack that Foster was having to shoot as much as he was and now with he and Milton out, SMU is left with very little offensive punch that can go and make a play, which is what it had been depending on all season.
So more so than backing Memphis, we are fading SMU. The Tigers have lost three in a row themselves, though two of the three losses came by four points or less. They haven’t looked particularly good on the road, either, 2–4 in conference play with a point differential even more worrisome than that.
It is expected that Memphis will be without its top scorer Jeremiah Martin. Martin is scoring over 19 a game this season but he hasn’t been particularly efficient. And while it might feel hypocritical that I’m knocking SMU for losing its top two scorers and not doing the same to Memphis, we’ve seen that SMU has nothing without its guys. It could be a very different effect when Memphis takes the floor without the guy who shoots the most and doesn’t score efficiently.
For all we know, the Tigers could have been struggling because of the way Martin plays. For that reason, I’m willing to still take a shot on Memphis. While we have seen the way SMU struggles without Milton and Foster, Memphis could thrive without Martin. If that’s the case, we may not need the points. We’ll take them anyway.
Free Pick: Memphis +7.5