This weekend during a big Saturday college basketball slate, a matchup in the AAC gets underway between the Cincinnati Bearcats and the Houston Cougars. These teams enter this game with different starts of the season as Cincinnati comes into this game with a 14-7 record, and a 5-3 conference play record. They are still games behind the conference leaderboard but are definitely still in striking difference of making a run.
Unfortunately for them, the top of the conference leaderboard is the team they will be playing in, the Houston Cougars. Houston enters this game ranked 3rd in the country and a team many project to make a deep NCAA Tournament run. They are strong from their guards to their big men. They currently stand with a 19-2 record and was recently just upset by a non ranked Temple team that no one saw coming. Was it a fluke or will Houston start showing more slip ups. These two teams already played at Cincinnati in a game where Houston won 72-59. Now, this game travels to Texas which will be a big atmosphere for the traveling Bearcats. Let’s jump into this game’s picks and predictions:
Cincinnati vs. Houston Betting Odds
There are no betting lines published just yet but going off of both teams records and seasons so far, it can be assumed that Houston will enter this game as the favorite. As to the spread line, I am not necessarily sure. Houston did win by 13 points the last time they faced Cincinnati and that was on the road. Now at home, you would expect them to be favored more strongly, but the Temple loss did also prove they can be prone to upsets. That was a home game for them as well. Cincinnati also enters this game after a disappointing loss to Memphis so they will certainly be coming into this game eager for a win. ESPN Analytics currently gives Houston a 96.8% chance to win so you can assume the bookmakers will not be giving the Bearcats much of a chance as well. Looking at Kenpom’s analytical rankings, Houston currently ranks No. 1 out of all teams in division 1 which will certainly be notable to look at as we get closer to March Madness. Cincinnati currently ranks 68th of all teams so certainly a large margin between the two. I would expect this spread line to be placed around 10 or 11 points for this game at Houston.
There is no over/under total line placed yet either but we can calculate that based on both teams scoring averages. Cincinnati currently averages 76.8 PPG in terms of scoring with Houston averaging 75.4. So they are close in that area. When it comes to points allowed, Cincinnati allows 67.7 PPG with Houston averaging only 54.2 points allowed. I would assume the line gets placed somewhere around 130 or 135 points total.
Wisconsin vs. Illinois Picks & Predictions
My Pick: Houston ML
Houston is one of my top picks to win the whole thing this season and I definitely think this game they will win with ease at home. They won this game by 13 last time they faced and that was on the road, I think they could possibly win by more at home. That Temple loss was a rarity for them and the only other loss on the season was to Alabama who currently ranks second. Another team that will make another deep run. The Cougars are fine and their guard play will be able to lead them to a victory. Marcus Sasser obviously leads the way for them but they also have Jarace Walker and Tramon Mark averaging double digits in scoring as well. Being able to hold teams under 55 points on average is astounding defensively and will certainly cause Cincinnati to struggle, who they held to 59 points last time they matched up. Cincinnati is led by Landers Nolley II who is averaging 15.5 PPG. They also have scorers in David DeJulius and Viktor Lakhin who are averaging 14.5 PPG and 12.6. Those three will need to have a big night if they want any chance to stay in it but I believe the Cougars will be too much defensively in a big win for Houston.
As for the over/under line, I am not sure where the line will be placed but I do think Houston will do another good job of keeping Cincinnati off the scoreboard and could see this final score being low. I would expect around a 125 or 130 finish.
Marcus Sasser vs. Cincinnati
The biggest matchup will be how Marcus Sasser performs against Cincinnati. He is the leader of this team and is averaging 16.6 PPG for Houston. He is the catalyst on how far this Houston team can go. Sasser scored 16 points the last time he faced Cincy so expect another high-scoring performance from him in this one.