Houston vs. Memphis prediction, odds: Cougars are American Athletic Conference tournament bet

To NJ Transit, for shuttling my old friend, Neil, and far too many others, to their mobile sportsbook in Secaucus — and right back to Penn Station — so they can be part of the action. Thanks, Cuomo.

Houston (-8) over Memphis: When Penny Hardaway played, the Tigers reached the Elite Eight in his first season. As a coach, it’ll take two years to get back to the NCAA Tournament. The Cougars (30-2), who were a buzzer-beater away at last year’s Big Dance from beating the national runner-up, have the most wins at the school since Phi Slama Jama and are in the midst of a criminally underdiscussed season of dominance, winning their past six games by an average of 24.5 points. With one of the best rebounding units in the nation, Houston can repeat its 13-point win over Memphis two months back in which the Cougars racked up 18 offensive rebounds. Outside of three games against UCF, the Tigers went 1-6 against teams headed to the NCAA Tournament.

Wisconsin (+4½) over Michigan State: The Spartans took the lone meeting, but the Badgers kept the pace at the crawl they prefer. Expect another low-scoring slugfest and a big game from Wisconsin’s Ethan Happ.

St. Bonaventure (-1½) over Rhode Island: The Rams became the enemy of every bubble team by knocking off top-seeded VCU and giving the A-10 another tourney bid, but Rhody can’t count on another injury to propel them to victory against the Bonnies, who have won eight of their past nine games. Unfurl it once more.

Florida (+3) over Auburn: Andrew Nembhard’s last-second 3-pointer guaranteed the Gators an at-large berth. The run has begun.

Penn (PK) over Harvard: The Quakers won’t beat themselves again. Harvard won a pair of tightly contested games this season — including one in overtime — with Penn hitting 10 percent worse than its season average from the perimeter, making 14-of-54 3-pointers.

This season: 10-7
2011-18 record: 224-189-8

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