USA TODAY Sports
Game to be played at XL Center, Hartford, Connecticut
No. 15 SMU has won 15 games in a row and 25 of its last 26 as it rolls into Sunday’s American Athletic Conference tournament title game in Hartford, Conn., against 18th-ranked Cincinnati after posting its school-record 29th victory of the season in Saturday’s semifinal contest versus Central Florida. The top-seeded Mustangs shot 55 percent as their starting five accounted for all the offense in a 70-59 victory, with Sterling Brown scoring 22 points.
The Mustangs also are playing well defensively, allowing 66 points or fewer in 23 of their last 26 games. The second-seeded Bearcats are the last team to have defeated SMU, posting a 66-64 home victory on Jan. 12, but the Mustangs got even with a 60-51 home triumph on Feb. 12. Cincinnati has captured seven of its last eight games as Gary Clark scored a team-high 25 points off the bench in an 81-71 semifinal victory over Connecticut. Sunday’s matchup features two of the best defensive teams in the nation, as SMU is third with 59.9 points allowed while the Bearcats are fourth at 60.5.
TV: 3:15 p.m. ET, ESPN
LINE HISTORY: The Mustangs, who are one of the nation’s best bets at 21-6-1 ATS, hit the board as 2-point chalk for the AAC Final. The total hit the board at 130.5 and has seen nothing but under moving, moving down to 128.5. Check out the complete line history here.
ABOUT CINCINNATI: Clark, who rebounded from a five-point performance in Friday’s quarterfinal contest against Tulsa, finished 15-of-16 from the free-throw line against UConn and pulled down nine rebounds. Jacob Evans has scored 41 points in two games during the tournament, while leading scorer Kyle Washington looks to bounce back after foul trouble rendered him scoreless on Saturday. The Bearcats have allowed more than 68 points only once in their last 13 games.
ABOUT SMU: AAC Player of the Year Semi Ojeleye has scored 52 points through two games of the tournament, while Brown is shooting 64.1 percent overall and 13-of-23 from 3-point range over his last four contests. SMU is limiting opponents to 38.6 percent shooting. The Mustangs have reached the NCAA Tournament just once since 1993 (two seasons ago) and have not won a game in the event since 1988.
* Cincinnati is 4-0 ATS in its last four games overall.
* Southern Methodist is 23-5-1 ATS in is last 29 games as a favorite.
* Over is 5-1 in Cincinnati’s last six neutral site games.
* Over is 7-0 in Southern Methodist’s last seven games overall.
Click here to check out a complete list of hot and cold trends.
COVERS CONSENSUS: The very early consensus is seeing 55 percent of bettors backing Cincinnati in this matchup. For the most up to date consensus data click here.