- Houston is a 13.5-point home favorite over UCF on Sunday in an American Athletic Conference game at Fertitta Pavillion
- The Cougars are ranked fourth in the nation in adjusted defensive efficiency
- The odds, lines and spread for UCF-Houston can be found below with game analysis
Houston will try to stay atop the American Athletic Conference standings when it hosts UCF at 2pm ET Sunday at the Fertitta Center.
#11 Houston is 10-1 overall and 5-1 in the AAC. The Cougars have won three in a row both straight up and against the spread since their only loss of the season at Tulsa.
A three-game losing streak – both SU and ATS – has dropped UCF to 3-4 overall and 1-3 in the conference. The Knights are decided underdogs in this game.
UCF vs Houston Odds
|UCF||+870||+13.5 (-110)||Over 129.5 (-110)|
|Houston||-1500||-13.5 (-110)||Under 129.5 (-110)|
Odds taken Jan. 16 from FanDuel
Sasser Shines for Houston
Sophomore guard Marcus Sasser scored a career-high 28 points in Houston’s last game, a 71-50 home victory over Tulane on Jan. 9 as a 17-point favorite.
Sasser knocked down a career-high eight 3-point field goals. He also scored 20 points in the first half when Houston built a 37-25 lead. Sasser made seven of nine field goals attempts, including six-for-seven from 3-point range in the opening 20 minutes.
[email protected] guard Marcus Sasser (@m_sasser0) 6-7 from three in the first half, already has 20 points. He averages 15. UH leads Tulane 37-25 (H) pic.twitter.com/rxH0RIOGjQ
— Mark Berman (@MarkBermanFox26) January 9, 2021
Junior guard Quentin Grimes added 14 points and continued his fine season. KenPom has Grimes ranked as the ninth-best player in the nation.
Grimes leads the team in scoring with a 17.7 average and is also pulling down 6.8 rebounds a game. Sasser has a 16.3 scoring average and is averaging 18.0 in his last five games.
Senior forward Justin Gorham had 11 rebounds against Tulane, his third straight game with at least 10, as Houston held a 48-26 advantage on the boards and an 18-9 edge in second-chance points. Gorham is fourth in the nation in offensive rebounding percentage with an 18.1 mark.
University of Houston | “Slice 4”
– Great quick hitter ran by Houston to get the ball in the post
– Houston gets the switch they want in the “Slice” action with 6’2 Mac McClung guarding 6’7 Justin Gorham in the [email protected] x @FulcrumTec pic.twitter.com/tqbz2Hsomf
— Cody Cohen (@CoachCohen10) November 30, 2020
Houston is fourth nationally in KenPom’s adjusted defensive efficiency and held Tulane to 29% shooting. Meanwhile, the Cougars went 15-for-36 from long range, a 44% clip.
During its three-game winning streak, Houston is allowing just 57.7 points a game and 34.5% shooting.
UCF’s Mahan Goes Cold
UCF’s recent struggles have been tied to leading scorer Brandon Mahan going cold lately.
The senior guard is averaging 15.0 points and 5.6 rebounds a game and has an outstanding 65.5 true shooting percentage.
UCF guard Brandon Mahan is currently the fourth most lethal scorer in the American, averaging 17.5 ppg. Mahan was held to just two points against USF in his last outing but the Knights have three other double digit scorers.
?: ESPN+ pic.twitter.com/oDdPpxSavK
— Sam Cohn (@samdcohn) January 14, 2021
However, he scored a combined six points in the last two games while making just two of 12 field goal attempts.
Mahan managed just four points Wednesday when UCF lost at Temple 62-55 despite being a three-point favorite. That was just the Knights’ second game since Dec. 26 because of COVID-19 issues and they shot a season-low 32.8%.
Sophomore guard Darian Green Jr. and freshman forward Isaiah Adams tried to pick up the slack for Mahan by scoring 17 points each. Dre Fuller Jr. tied a career high with 10 rebounds and another sophomore forward, C.J. Walker, had eight boards.
UCF played without senior guard Darius Perry for undisclosed reasons after he scored 23 points against South Florida in the Knights’ previous game. His status for Sunday is uncertain. Perry is averaging 11.8 points a game following his transfer from Louisville.
Darius Perry series in the first half:
Steal>assist>stare down>3-pointer pic.twitter.com/IAVCw0u6YS
— Garrett Moore (@MrGarrettMoore) November 12, 2017
Green is scoring 13.4 points a game and Adams has averages of 12.7 points and 2.0 steals.
UCF has struggled inside the AAC after playing the most difficult non-conference schedule in the country, according to KenPom. The Knights beat Auburn and Florida State and lost to #7 Michigan.
Houston Goes for Sweep
The teams meet a little more than three weeks since Houston beating UCF 63-54 on Dec. 26 at Orlando as a 7.5-point favorite.
Sasser scored a game-high 19 points for Houston. UCF got 13 points apiece from Mahan and Perry. UCF shot just 37% and Houston was slightly worse at 36%.
Houston has won six of the last seven games in the series. The Cougars should win again but UCF has enough talent – and presumably has knocked off enough rust – to keep things respectable.
Pick: UCF +13.5 (-110)