Amidst a loaded slate in college basketball tonight, two of the top teams in the AAC will face off as the Memphis Tigers will head to UCF to take on the Knights. We’ll preview the game before going over why you should target the point total in this one.
Aside from a few outlier games, the fast-paced Memphis Tigers offense has had a lot of success this season. Their 109.1 offensive efficiency rating ranks 57th in the country, according to KenPom, and their average of 28.8 field goals made per game ranks 22nd in the nation.
The offense has been paced by Kendric Davis, who leads the team with 20 points and 6.1 assists per game. Despite shooting 28% from three this season, Davis has scored 14 or more points in all three conference games he’s played in, and his playmaking ability has helped open the floor for second-leading scorer DeAndre Williams.
Defensively the Tigers have a high-level ability to force turnovers as they enter tonight, forcing an average of 16.4 turnovers per game, which is ranked 24th in the country. The problem on that end of the floor has been their rebounding, and their defensive rebounding percentage of 69.6% opens the door for the Knights to play into a significant strength of theirs which is offensive rebounding.
UCF currently averages 10.9 offensive rebounds per game, which has led to them having the sixth-best offensive rebounding percentage in the country. The Knights have very similar efficiency ratings to the Tigers, as their 108.1 offensive efficiency rating ranks 70th in the country, according to KenPom. Freshman Taylor Hendricks has been their primary scorer, as he averages 14.5 ppg on 47.4% shooting from the field.
The Knights’ impressive 12-4 start could be attributed to a few things, but their defense has been very noteworthy this season. Entering tonight, UCF ranks 26th in defensive efficiency rating on KenPom, and opponents are shooting just 30.1% from three against them this season.
The current point total for this game sits at 137.5, and I’ll be taking the over as my best bet. The over is 6-0 in the Tigers' last six road games, and I expect them to bounce back from their below-average shooting night in their previous game.
If Memphis can force the Knights to play at their preferred pace, then the Tigers should get a lot of transition opportunities and get back closer to their 47% shooting percentage. When Memphis has played high-level opponents this season, like Alabama, they have been able to play at their highest level on the offensive end of the floor. With tonight being an important conference game, I’m expecting a similar performance.
As for the Knights, the number of second-chance opportunities they should get will lead to a lot of points for them. UCF had one of their most successful nights on offense in their last game against SMU, partially because they pulled in 12 offensive rebounds and took advantage of the Mustangs' similar defensive rebounding struggles that the Tigers have.