USA Today Sports
Temple Owls vs. Southern Methodist Mustangs (-3.5, 127)
Temple pushed itself closer to an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament by knocking off Memphis in the quarterfinals of the American Athletic Conference tournament but would prefer to take it out of the hands of the selection committee entirely. The fourth-seeded Owls will try to get one step closer to an automatic bid when they face No. 1 seed SMU in the semifinals on Saturday in Hartford, Conn. The Mustangs got by East Carolina in a tough quarterfinal on Friday.
SMU was the team that watched as its bubble burst on selection Sunday last season but likely ensured itself of a spot in the field of 68 with its performance in the regular season this year. Temple thrust itself onto the good side of the bubble with wins in 11 of its last 13 games and has won four in a row heading into the AAC tournament semifinals. Two of the Owls’ five AAC losses this season came against the Mustangs, who limited Temple to an average of 56.5 points in the two meetings.
*Owls are 9-1 ATS in their last 10 games following a S.U. win.
*Mustangs are 5-21 ATS in their last 26 neutral site games.
*Over is 6-2 in Owls last 8 vs. American Athletic Conference.
*Over is 8-1 in Mustangs last 9 overall.
Tulsa Golden Hurricanes vs. UConn Huskies (-2, 122.5)
Despite being on the bubble for an NCAA Tournament berth, the second-seeded Golden Hurricane put forth an uninspired effort in defeating Houston 59-51 in Friday’s quarterfinals at the XL Center in Hartford. “We got off to a good start in the first 10 minutes, then I thought we took our foot off the pedal a little bit and turned the ball over,” coach Frank Haith told the media.
Much as Shabazz Napier did last season, senior Ryan Boatright came through in a big way as the Huskies survived a back-and-forth quarterfinal game against Cincinnati and kept their NCAA Tournament hopes alive in the process. Boatright hit a 3-pointer in the final second and scored 18 points for UConn, which needs the automatic bid to avoid missing the tournament a year after capturing the national title. UConn improved to 8-1 this season at the XL Center.
* Under is 8-2 in Golden Hurricane last 10 neutral site games.
* Huskies are 11-4 ATS in their last 15 games following a ATS win.
* Golden Hurricane are 10-4 ATS in their last 14 games following a S.U. win.
* Over is 5-1 in Huskies last six Saturday games.