Memphis vs. Colorado State Odds
|Colorado State Odds||+4.5|
|Moneyline||-205 / +165|
|Time | TV||Saturday, Noon ET | ESPN|
|Odds as of Friday afternoon and via DraftKings.|
The Memphis Tigers face the Colorado State Rams Saturday afternoon for a spot in the NIT Championship.
Memphis snuck past Boise State in the quarterfinals on Thursday night thanks to a late put-back by Lester Quinones. The Tigers trailed 15-5 through five minutes of play before turning up the defensive pressure and outscoring the Broncos 26-11 in the final 15 minutes. Memphis was able to survive despite a horrid shooting night, making just 5-of-20 from 3-point range and converting on 40% of its free-throw attempts.
Colorado State bested NC State on Thursday night thanks to a second-half comeback. The Rams trailed for the majority of the first half but exploded for 40 points in the second half, something that has become quite a trend for this offense. Colorado State also shot miserably from the field, converting on just 3-of-23 attempts from behind the arc.
These two teams are coming off rough shooting nights but play with tremendous pace. Despite playing in a top-heavy Mountain West conference, Colorado State has found itself in fast-tempo games that have eclipsed the 160-point mark on six occasions this season. I anticipate that mark to be within reach again in the semifinals on Saturday.
When Memphis Has the Ball
Memphis is a well-rounded offense that has five players averaging between 9 and 13 points per game. All five of those players are shooting better than 34.4% from 3-point range this year and converting on better than 42.0% on 2-point attempts.
This Memphis offense is best when playing in transition rather than in half-court sets, as it showed down the stretch against Boise State. The Tigers thrive in the open court, allowing their athletes to make plays in space. That is what I anticipate Penny Hardaway to preach against Colorado State.
The Tigers played with the fastest pace in the American Athletic Conference this season while also getting shots up early in the shot clock and forcing opponents to do the same. The Achilles’ heel for Memphis this season has been at the free-throw line and with turnovers. The Tigers have converted on just 60.9% of free throws this season and hit just 40.0% against Boise. They rank 316th in the nation in turnover percentage, coughing the ball up on 22.0% of their offensive possessions. Colorado State is going to capitalize on those turnovers, turning them into fast-break chances.
When Colorado State Has the Ball
Colorado State is a young team that is looking to end the season on a high note in preparation for next year. The Rams are led by sophomores David Roddy and Isaiah Stevens. Roddy is averaging 16.1 points and 9.5 rebounds per game while Stevens is contributing 15.2 points and 4.4 rebounds per contest.
Colorado State scored 107.6 points per 100 possessions this season, according to KenPom. The Rams have an effective field goal percentage of 54.3 and rank 12th in the nation in two-point field goal percentage, hitting 55.6%. They rank seventh in the country from the free-throw line, hitting 79.5% from the charity stripe, 18.6% better than Memphis.
The Rams owned the third-fastest tempo in the Mountain West this season, which should lead to a lot of shot opportunities in this game.
Betting Analysis & Pick
It’s still a shock to me that the No. 1-ranked defense according to KenPom is playing in the NIT Tournament. But that defense has shown it can be vulnerable when teams get out and run in transition. I expect Colorado State to play with a fast pace and turn Memphis’ subpar half-court offense into points for itself on the other end. Memphis is full of blue-chip talent that also thrives in transition
I anticipate this game to be a track meet with both teams getting up and down the floor at a tremendous rate. These two teams combined to hit just 8-of-43 3-point attempts in their quarterfinal games. I am anticipating some positive regression and believe these teams should get some open looks through transition.
I’m playing the over of 138.5 in a game that I believe will be played in the 150s.
Pick: Over 138.5 | Play up to 140