It is a classic battle of the tortoise and the hare on Sunday in Tennessee when the Memphis Tigers host the Houston Cougars.
Houston Cougars (-5.5, 146.5) vs. Memphis Tigers
Memphis entered the weekend ranked 10th in the nation in total possessions per game while Houston ranked 334th out of 363 Division I teams.
The key in many cases to winning a tempo war is ball security and Houston has the advantage, committing a turnover on just 13.2% of possessions in games on the road, good for the lowest road turnover rate in the nation.
Memphis ranks 278th in turnovers per possession when playing at home, which will likely lead to many dead possessions against Houston’s tough defense that is hard to penetrate without giving the ball away.
For the fifth time in six seasons, Houston ranks inside the top five for points allowed on a per-possession basis, having allowed more than 71 points just once this season.
Beyond the full season numbers, Houston has not allowed an opponent to score more than 66 points in eight straight games, which includes a 72-64 win over Memphis. It is worth mentioning that Memphis’ leading scorer Kendric Davis was sidelined in the loss.
Davis’ return should help the team take care of the ball better as Memphis committed 18 turnovers compared to Houston’s 11. As a squad, the Tigers still only managed 64 points, grabbed four more rebounds and shot just 6-of-15 from 3-point range.
Overall, Memphis ranks 146th in the nation in rebound rate with only one player averaging more than 4.6 rebounds per game while Houston ranks sixth.
Houston’s dominant defense has been one of the few consistent areas all season and has already proved it can slow down Memphis. This game will be slowed down to the Cougars’ tempo once again on Sunday.
The Play: Houston vs. Memphis Under 146.5
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