The No. 8 South Florida Bulls take on the top-seeded Wichita State Shockers in the American Athletic Conference Championship Tournament quarterfinals on Friday, March 12, so I’ve prepared the best betting pick for this showdown at Dickies Arena in Fort Worth, Texas.
USF meets Wichita State for the second time this term. The Shockers dismantled the Bulls in their regular-season finale, 80-63, covering a 12-point spread, and they open as 9.5-point favorites for Friday’s clash at the neutral site. The totals are set at 137.5 points on William Hill Sportsbook, so let’s see what’s the best move here.
The Bulls edged Temple in the 1st round despite another poor offensive display
The South Florida Bulls (9-12; 4-10 Conf.) have been struggling offensively all season long, but they found a way to beat the Temple Owls 73-71 in Thursday’s first-round matchup. The Bulls shot only 38.8% from the field and went 5-for-18 from downtown (27.8%) while making just 16 of their 27 attempts from the charity stripe.
USF nearly blew a 13-point lead in the last 3:28 in the second half, allowing a whopping 21 points to the Owls in that span. The Bulls somehow escaped with a win, and senior guard David Collins led the way with 23 points and three assists. Collins is USF’s best player and the only one who averages points in double figures (12.2 PPG, 3.5 RPG, 3.5 APG).
The Bulls are No. 211 in the latest NCAA NET Rankings. They score only 100.5 points per 100 possessions (219th in the nation) on 40.3% shooting from the field (321st). USF surrenders 100.4 points in a return (141st) while allowing its rivals to shoot 45.3% from the field (263rd).
The Shockers look to extend their win streak to eight games
The Wichita State Shockers (15-4; 11-2 Conf.) haven’t lost a game since January when they got routed by the Memphis Tigers 72-52 on the road. They are rolling on a seven-game winning spin following that 17-point victory over the USF Bulls.
Wichita State is No. 64 in the NCAA NET Rankings and No. 69 in the KenPom rankings. The Shockers tally 111.8 points per 100 possessions (40th in the country) on 41.0% shooting from the field (309th) while yielding 98.7 points in a return (112th) on 40.1% shooting from the field (25th) and 28.7% from downtown (12th).
Sophomore guard Tyson Etienne paces Wichita State with 17.1 points, 3.4 rebounds, and 2.6 assists per game. Senior guard Alterique Gilbert adds 10.1 points and 4.2 dimes per contest, while junior center Morris Udeze racks up 9.7 points and 4.3 rebounds a night.
- 2-7 ATS in the last nine games overall
- 1-4-1 ATS in the last nine outings as underdogs of 9.5 or more points
- 4-1-1 ATS in the last six games against South Florida
- 10-1 ATS in the last 11 games played in March
The Shockers outplayed the Bulls on both sides of the ball just six days ago. They led by as many as 28 points, making 47.5% of their field goals and 40.7% of their 3-pointers. Furthermore, the Shockers forced 16 turnovers and held the Bulls to just 38.6% shooting from the field.
Wichita State is a way better team than USF, and I expect the Shockers to prove it on the field. They’ve been playing very well lately, and the Shockers have covered the spread in ten of their last 11 outings in March.
Pick: Take Wichita State -7.0 at -160
The Shockers to cover are my best betting pick here, as the totals seem like a tricky wager. Neither team prefers to play at a fast pace, yet their last two encounters produced more than 140 points in total each.
Also, the over is 5-2 in USF’s last seven games, and it is 8-3 in Wichita State’s previous 11 showings as favorites, so I’ll stick with these betting trends.
Pick: Go over 137.5 points at -110