Southern Methodist Mustangs vs. UC Irvine Anteaters - 3/19/14 NIT First Round
UC Irvine Anteaters (23-11) at Southern Methodist Mustangs (23-9)
College Basketball: Wednesday, March 19, 2014 at 9:00 pm (Moody Coliseum)
The Line: Southern Methodist Mustangs -9.5 -- Over/Under: 126 See the Latest Odds
The UC Irvine Anteaters and SMU Mustangs will clash Wednesday night in a NIT first round matchup. The Anteaters finished first in the Big West with a 23-11 record, while the Mustangs finished third in the American Athletic Conference with a 23-9 record.
UC Irvine plays terrific defense, holding teams to 63.6 points on 37.6 percent shooting. The Anteaters have held six straight opponents to 61 or less points. Offensively, UC Irvine averages 69.2 points on 46.5 percent shooting. UC Irvine shoots 35.6 percent from beyond the arc and is led by three players averaging 11 points per game. The Anteaters weakness would be their poor free throw shooting at 63.9 percent. The UC Irvine Anteaters are 6-24 ATS overall this season.
Jim Cowsert-USA TODAY Sports
Southern Methodist also relies heavily on its defense, holding teams to 62.3 points on 37.7 percent shooting. SMU averages 7.5 steals and 4.6 blocks per game. Offensively, the Mustangs average 71.4 points on 48.7 percent shooting. Sophomore guard Nic Moore leads the charge with 13.7 points and 4.8 assists. SMU shoots 68.4 percent from the free throw line and 37.2 percent from beyond the arc. The SMU Mustangs are 17-11 ATS overall this season.
The Anteaters are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games following a SU loss and 2-5 ATS in their last 7 games vs. a team with a winning SU record. The Mustangs are 6-1 ATS in their last 7 home games vs. a team with a winning road record and 2-5 ATS in their last 7 games overal.
UC Irvine feasted on poor competition all season in the Big West and wasn’t able to get the job done in the conference tournament. SMU is a different caliber of team and probably should have earned a spot in the NCAA tournament.
With the Mustangs playing at home, I like Southern Methodist to win this game by double digits.