Boise State vs Memphis Prediction: Will the More Dynamic Offense Win?

The eight-nine matchup in the NCAA March Madness Tournament is always a fun one. Will Boise State come out on top or will Memphis' dynamic offensive be too much for them?
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Boise State vs Memphis Prediction: Will the More Dynamic Offense Win?

The eight-nine matchup is always a fun one when it comes to March Madness because it's (technically) always supposed to be a close game. That's what Vegas expects, too, as the books have this one within one possession. Memphis is currently sitting at -2.5 on most books and -145 on the money line. Can Boise State stay hot and pull off the win?

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Memphis finished the year well after a shaky start. After starting 3-4 in conference play to start the year, many people questioned Penny Hardaway and the Tigers, but they silenced any doubters by going the last 11 games of the regular season with only one loss. Memphis finished the season 13-5 in the conference, including a season sweep over Houston. They made a run in the conference tournament before ultimately falling to Houston in the third meeting of the season in the championship.

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The name of the game for Memphis is crashing the boards and attacking the rim. Memphis is fifth in the nation in offensive rebounding percentage (37.5%), and they get to the charity stripe frequently with a 38.4 free throw to field goal attempt rate (16th in the nation). Memphis also likes to push the pace, playing at the 34th fastest rate in the nation. Part of this is their love of scoring in transition. If they get a chance to quickly push it up the court to get a fast bucket, they take it.

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Boise State also had a successful season going 15-3 in the mountain conference and ultimately winning the conference tournament by beating San Diego State in the championship. Boise State plays with a defense-first mentality, ranking 19th in defensive efficiency. They pair that defense with a slow pace, ranking 306th in the nation in tempo. Offensively, Boise State isn't anything to marvel at, as they're outside the top 100 in every major category. They also shoot horribly from the line, ranking 346th and shooting just 65%.

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If Boise State wins this game, it will be in a low-scoring affair. The faster the game is played, the more that favors Memphis since they have the better offense and are used to playing faster. Memphis was one of the best teams in the nation this year at scoring in transition, so if Boise State can cut them off at halfcourt and draw out possessions, I think they can win. However, I'm not confident that Boise State can manage that. Some of the slowest-paced teams Memphis played this year, like Virginia Tech, Wichita State, Houston, and South Florida, they beat almost every single game (except for the AAC Championship against Houston) by speeding up the tempo and playing their style of game rather than allowing the opponent to set the pace.

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That being said, I like Memphis to take this one. Defensively, these teams are comparable, so it comes down to who can score more consistently. Memphis has shown to be the more dynamic offense, and they crash the boards a lot better than Boise State. Also, even if Boise State is ahead late, they shoot so bad from the line that I don't trust them to keep the lead if that were to happen. Take Memphis here in what should be a faster-paced game, with Memphis finding success scoring in transition.

Boise State Broncos vs Memphis Tigers Pick

Pick: Memphis -2.5 (-110) (Bet $110 to Win $100)

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Ben Rajavuori is a handicapper out of Minneapolis, MN. He has been creating sports content for almost four years now and is an expert in all things NFL, MLB, NBA, UFC, and NCAAB. Ben thrives on diving deep into statistics to find the best angle on every bet. You can follow him on Twitter @WeBeatTheSpread.

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