Previewing the Mighty Memphis Tigers

After a tough loss to UConn on the road, the Bearcats face another difficult road test at Memphis this Thursday night at 7 pm on ESPN. Despite having a fantastic opening half, and taking the lead, 34-30 in front of a sell-out UConn crowd, the cats could not contain the Huskies in the end. I look for UC to bounce back and take this one in Memphis.

The Memphis Tigers are 9-6 and 2-2 in the American. Memphis has beat Houston twice (early scheduling snafu) and have lost to Tulane and SMU (UC beat SMU at home). They average 67.9 points per game, and collectively are a very good rebounding team at 41st in the country, averaging 38.8 boards.

Memphis is similar to UC in that they do not have a “go to guy.” However, they do have two players averaging double-digit points, while the Bearcats are literally the only team in the country from a major conference without a single player averaging 10 or more points! #4 sophomore forward Austin Nichols is 6’ 8”, 228 lbs., and the Tigers’ leading scorer with 12.8 points per game, 3.5 blocks, and 5.9 rebounds. He makes at least half of the shots he takes. The other is #2 junior forward Trashon Burrell, averaging 10.5 points per game, 5.8 boards, and 2.1 assists. Also similar to UC, the Tigers are not good from the line or from three point land.

For the Cats to win at Memphis, the bigs must have great games offensively and defensively. Shaq Thomas has to continue to attack, which he has been doing from time to time, including the first half of the UConn game. Farad Cobb has to be hot, not cold. Troy Caupain must also continue to distribute the ball and pick his spots, including a three every now and then to keep the defense honest.

Submitted by Andy Smith

Cats win 65-60 and stay near the top of the AAC hunt.