The No. 10 ranked Houston Cougars look to move to the top of the American Athletic Conference standings as they take on the South Florida Bulls on Sunday. Houston is 12-3 in the AAC, trailing Wichita State who is 9-2.
Bulls Corralled by Temple
South Florida (8-9, 4-7 AAC) trailed by four entering the break, but put up just 17 points in the second half, falling to Temple, 65-47. The Bulls could get nothing to drop in the second half, hitting just four of 20 shots, including two of eight from three-point range. They finished 15 of 52, hitting 28.8%.
Justin Brown gave it his best, scoring 16 points and adding 6 rebounds. David Collins added 13 points, but no other South Florida player was able to record double-digit points. The loss was the fourth in the last five games for South Florida.
The Bulls are the 137th ranked team in college basketball according to the KenPom rankings. This ranking is set by their 66.7 AdjT rating. They are averaging 67.2 ppg (275) while allowing 69.5 ppg (162). The team is shooting 41.0% (310) and 63.8% from the line (332). They are averaging 58.4 shots per game, 161st in the nation.
Houston Crushes Western Kentucky
Houston showed some outstanding defense in the second half of their contest against Western Kentucky. After taking a one-point lead into the half, they held the Hilltoppers to just 19 points in the second half on their way to an 81-57 victory. Western Kentucky was just seven of 23 from the floor, 30.4% after the break, hitting two of 10 from three-point range.
Houston was having no problems, hitting 48% of their shots in the game, including 13 of 31 from three-point range (41.9%). They were great at the free-throw line as well, hitting 10 of their 11 shots. Quentin Grimes had a huge afternoon, scoring 33 on 11 of 21 shooting, including eight of 16 from three-point range. He also grabbed six rebounds. Marcus Sasser and Tramon Mark each had 12 points.
Houston is No. 4 in the KenPom rating with an impressive AdjO of 116.9. The Cougars are averaging 76.7 ppg, 64th in the country, and have been dominant on defense, 10th overall at 57.5 points allowed per game. Houston has not been a particularly efficient shooting team, but they are shooting a lot. They are averaging 61.8 shots per game (43) and 25.6 three-point shots per game (40). They are fifth in the nation at 38.7 rebounds per contest.
- 1-4 ATS in their last five games.
- 1-4-1 ATS in their last six games when scoring less than 50 points in the previous contest.
- 6-0 ATS in their last six games at home.
- 9-2 ATS in their last 11 games.
Houston has everything going for them in this game. It is on the defensive end of the court that they really give themselves a big edge. South Florida already has a challenged offense, and now they face a team allowing just 57.5 points per game. This looks ugly.
Houston is beating teams on the boards, which is giving them second and third chances at points. The Bulls simply cannot match up to them.
Pick: Take Houston -19.0 at -110
Houston gets those extra shots, helping them to drive up the score. On the other end, they take away those opportunities from opponents. South Florida was already in need of a great deal of help, and are not going to get any here.
The Bulls are going to just barely reach 60. All Houston has to do is get over 72, and they can do that.
Pick: Go over 132.0 points at -106