Sunday afternoon pits two of the top teams in the American Athletic Conference together when the #6 Houston Cougars (19-2, 8-0 AAC) take on the Cincinnati Bearcats (15-6, 5-3 AAC). Houston comes into Sunday’s showdown after defeating Tulane to start the month, while the Bearcats pulled out a victory last Sunday on the road at Eastern Carolina.
The tipoff of the contest is at 6 p.m. EST inside Fifth Third Arena in Cincinnati, OH. The visiting Cougars are a 6-point favorite, and the over-under total is at 132.5 points.
What to Know – Houston Cougars
You would have to go all the way back to December 11th to find Houston’s last loss. Since the one-point defeat to Alabama, the Cougars have rallied off 11-straight and hold a 1.5 game lead atop the AAC standings.
Houston averages 76.8 points per game while shooting 46.5 percent from the floor and 34.8 percent from beyond the arc. The Cougars’ defense holds opponents to 56.5 points per game, 36.1 percent shooting from the field, and 28.2 percent shooting from deep.
Houston built up an 11-point first-half lead over the Green Wave and matched Tulane point for point in the second half to take a 73-62 victory at home. Four Cougars scored in double figures, led by Fabian White Jr. with 21 points. Houston held Tulane to only 32.8 percent shooting from the field and just 4-of-19 from three.
The Cougars are 13-8 against the spread this season and 3-2 ATS on the road. Houston has an 8-1 record in its last nine contests against the Bearcats.
What to Know – Cincinnati Bearcats
Cincinnati aims to close the gap in the conference standings between them and the Cougars, and a victory Sunday would help Cincinnati’s cause. The Bearcats sit in a tie for fifth in the AAC standings, just three games back of Houston.
On offense, the Bearcats score 70.8 points per game, shooting 41.5 percent from the field and 32.0 percent from the 3-point line. Cincinnati’s defense surrenders 62.5 points per game, 37.3 percent shooting from the floor, and 30.4 percent shooting from three.
A layup by David DeJulius with three seconds remaining pushed the Bearcats ahead of the Pirates for a 60-59 victory in Greenville last Sunday. Cincinnati didn’t have its best on offense but stepped up defensively, holding ECU to 28.8 percent shooting from the floor. Mika Adams-Woods led the Bearcats with 21 points.
Cincinnati is 8-11-1 ATS on the year and 6-6 ATS on their home court. The Bearcats are 0-5 ATS in their previous five games at home on Sunday.
The Pick is In
Sunday’s tilt between these two AAC heavyweights is the first of two meetings this season between the schools. Houston has been one of the best teams in the country, with just two losses by a combined three points.
Cincinnati has been up and down but has solid victories against some top teams. We like the Bearcats to keep this one close at home.
Betting Pick: Cincinnati Bearcats +6