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Cincinnati Bearcats vs. Southern Methodist Mustangs Pick, Odds, Prediction 1/1/14

Southern Methodist Mustangs (10-2) at Cincinnati Bearcats (11-2)

College Basketball: Wednesday, January 1, 2014 at 6:00 pm (Fifth Third Arena)

The Line: Cincinnati Bearcats -6.5 -- Over/Under: See the Latest Odds

TV: ESPNU

The Cincinnati Bearcats and the SMU Mustangs face off on New Years Day as they open their AAC college basketball schedules.

The Cincinnati Bearcats looked to be on the decline when they were blown out against rival Xavier a few games back but they have used the loss as a motivator and are playing their best basketball of the season. Cincinnati is 20-0 at home this year and both of their losses came to reams with RPI’s better than 50. Sean Kilpatrick leads the Bearcats averaging 19.1 points and 4.3 rebounds per game. Justin Jackson is averaging 11.4 points and 7.8 rebounds, Titus Rubles is averaging 7.6 points and 5.7 rebounds, and Troy Caupain is averaging 6.8 points. Cincinnati is averaging 73.1 points and they are shooting 43 percent from the floor while defensively they are allowing 56.5 points and their opponents shoot just 38 percent from the floor. UC is just further proof that solid defense makes up for deficiencies in other areas and is the most important part of the game.

Cincinnati Bearcats vs. Southern Methodist Mustangs Pick, Odds, Prediction 1/1/14

Frank Victores-USA TODAY Sports

The SMU Mustangs are 10-2 on the season and are 2-1 in road games and 4-2 overall away from home. Southern Methodist has played the 235th ranked schedule but it will get much more difficult as they continue on with AAC play. Nic Moore leads the Mustangs averaging 13.8 points and 4.5 assists per game. Markus Kennedy is averaging 10.2 points and 5.3 rebounds, Yanick Moreira is averaging 10 points and 6.0 rebounds, and Nick Russell is averaging 8.3 points. SMU is averaging 74.8 points per game and they are shooting 50.9 percent from the floor while defensively they are allowing 61.1 points and their opponents are shooting 35.7 percent. Both of SMU’s losses have come to teams with a RPI better than 100.

Cincinnati is 5-0 against the spread in their last five home games, 5-2 against the spread in their last seven games overall, and 4-1 against the spread following a win. SMU is 5-2 against the spread in their last seven road games, 1-4 against the spread following a game that they covered the point spread, and 5-1 against the spread on the road against a team with a winning home record.

Cincinnati seems to have found something that works and it is called smothering defense and I like the bearcats to get it done at home. 

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Cincinnati Bearcats -6.5

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