No. 3 Memphis Tigers -20, 130 O/U (31-3) 20-11 ATS, 11-22 O/U vs. Cal State Northridge Matadors +20, 130 O/U (17-13) 15-11 ATS, 16-10 O/U Thursday, March 19, 2009 Sprint Center, Kansas City, Missouri 12:25 p.m. EST, TV: CBS
By Wilson of Predictem.com
The Memphis Tigers are playing as the No. 2 seed in the West Region of the NCAA Tournament. It marks the fourth time that Memphis has received the No. 2 seed. The Tigers are currently on a 25 game winning streak as they head into Fridays matchup. Cal State has won 11 of 14 in route to winning the Big West Tournament. Cal State is the No. 15 seed.
Cal State senior, Tremaine Townsend paces the Matadors attack offensively and as their only double figure scorer with 10.9 points per game followed by senior guard Rob Haynes who is averaging 9.4 ppg.
The Matadors enter the tournament averaging 73.7 ppg on 44 percent shooting from the field. They allow 69.9 points per contest to the opposition. Townsend also leads the team in rebounding with 8.4 per game, which was good enough for first in the Big West. Haynes and junior guard Kenny Daniels lead the Matadors in 3-point shooting. Haynes is 42 percent from behind the arc while Daniels hitting 37 percent from downtown.
Overall, the Matadors as a team are shooting 45 percent from the floor, 35 percent from long range, and 69 percent from the free throw line.
Defensively, both teams may come out and cause chaos for each other as they are both lead their conferences in key defensive categories. A concern for Cal State may be their turnover issue. The Matadors turn the pill over an average 17.7 times per outing, and the Tigers force 15.7 turnovers per game. Turnovers usually lead to easy baskets and quick double digit leads. Memphis will definitely put pressure on Cal State from the tip. The test will be if the Matadors can handle the speed and physical play of the Tigers. But not so fast Memphis, as the Matadors also forced 17 TOs per game during the regular season but can they do the same versus a more talented pool of teams?
Memphis is 8-2 against teams from the Big West. The Tigers have not played a Big West opponent since 1995 when they beat Long Beach State 82-73.
Memphis head coach, John Calipari runs a great program and has been successful as of late by consistently being ranked in the AP Top 25. The critics are concerned about the level of competition in the Conference USA as Memphis has cruised through their conference lately with very little bumps in the road. The Tigers were undefeated in conference play this season as they boasted a perfect 16-0 record.
Both teams are 4-1 ATS in their last five games which may be interesting information for all you bettors out there looking for an angle outside of your bracket-ology game plan. The big gamble in this game will be the fact that Cal State has been granted a +20 cushion. Can the Matadors hang on and not lose by 20 points? Can Memphis prove to the country that they are worthy of the No. seed by winning big in the first round? I like this matchup even though Memphis is slated to win by 20 I dont think the Matadors will allow the Tigers to end their season in such a fashion.
Hey, its March Madness for real in this game! Cal State Northridge will come out on fire from long range and play tough defense which will cause Memphis to play out of their comfort zone.
Wilsons Pick: Cal State Northridge gets the cover! Luck to ya!