33-4 overall, 13-1 conference, 1st CUSA
Against the spread
18-16 (8-9 home, 5-6 away)
15-19 (4-13 home, 9-2 away)
2005 Season Summary
Memphis finished very strong against the college basketball gambling lines with just four losses in their final sixteen games against the spread that culminated with that NIT run.
Despite the strong finish, however, the Tigers were advertised as young and rebuilding for 2005-06. The recruiting class was highly rated, no doubt, but also very inexperienced. This set up the possibility that if this team was as talented as the recruiting experts touted it to be, they might make for a good early value.
Further, teams such as Memphis, which are something of a traditional power in college hoops, that finish strong in the NIT often have a breakout season the following year. For most of the college basketball betting public, it was a matter of wait and see.
Early cash cow
Memphis got off to a great start for the 2005-06 season as they clobbered a Wisconsin-Milwaukee team that had made the NCAA “Sweet Sixteen” in the previous spring 79-52 as 7.5-point chalks. That was followed by a most impressive 87-76 road win at Alabama as 1-point dogs. Memphis was even more impressive in their next game, an 88-80 win over UCLA as 6.5-point neutral court chalks against the eventual national champion runner up. Against powerhouse Duke the following game, the tigers covered a 67-70 loss as 5-point dogs to start off the year as early cash cows with four straight covers.
Memphis took a brief break from powerhouse competition with a pair of unlined wins over Lamar and Jackson State.
Back on the board at Cincinnati, the Tigers scored a 91-81 win as 3-point chalks. They proved to be overlays in their next game, a 97-89 win at Providence as 9.5-point chalks. But Memphis rebounded with three straight wins and covers at Mississippi, and then at home over Louisiana Tech and Gonzaga as they covered eight of their first nine lined games.
The youthful Tigers were no longer a secret on the board as now the mainstream college basketball betting masses were on to them, which depleted their board value and caused a violent market correction in which Memphis went 8-1 straight up but just 1-8 against the spread!
If ever there was a lesson on media hype and public influence on the college basketball betting lines, this nine game stretch for Memphis was one that would stand the test of time. Just as Memphis entered this stretch they were being touted as a potential dynasty due to their young and talented crop of players and their fantastic straight up start, which caught the attention of more and more gamblers causing more and more inflation on the Memphis pointspreads.
Memphis ATS slump chased away enough gamblers so that they briefly retained value with a stretch in which they went 6-0 straight up and 4-2 against the spread.
Back as overlays
Memphis could not sustain the higher odds posted on their games, however, as they went on to finish the regular season 3-1 straight up but 0-4 against the spread as they were back as overlays.
Post Season Profits
Memphis had finished so weak against the spread that they retained some board value for the post season, going 3-0 straight up and 2-1 against the spread to take the CUSA title and then 3-1 both straight up and against the spread in the “Big Dance” before being eliminated by UCLA in the Elite Eight round. Memphis ended a season of stark contrasts and streaks and with a bright future.