Itâ€™s number one playing number two in college basketball this Saturday and the # 2 Tennessee Volunteers travel from Knoxville to battle the #1 and undefeated Memphis Tigers at their home court. Memphis (12-0, 26- 1) sits atop Conference-USA, while Tennessee (11- 1, 24- 2) is first in the SEC.
The Vols are averaging 83.9 PPG and holding opponents to 69.1 PPG. The Tennessee backcourt can certainly make things happen. Senior guard Chris Lofton leads the club in scoring with 15.4 PPG, while senior guard JuJuan Smith is second in points, putting up 14.3 PPG. Having two experienced players in the backcourt has been a big help for this team. The frontcourt features sophomore Tyler Smith. Smith is averaging 13.4 PPG and 6.5 RPG. Another sophomore, Wayne Chism, is playing tough upfront. Chism has averaged 9.2 PPG and 6.0 RPG. To the Vols benefit, they have a good bench that can hold the fort and score.
Memphis isâ€¦ wellâ€¦ Memphis.
Once again, this is a club with great guards. Junior Chris Douglas-Roberts is the teamâ€™s high scorer, averaging 17.9 PPG and 4.5 RPG. Freshman point guard Derrick Rose leads the team with 4.3 APG and is second in scoring with 13.7 PPG. His 4.3 RPG are impressive. Senior forward Joey Dorsey leads the club in rebbies with 10.5 per contest. He could be a major factor in this contest. Additionally, Dorsey is averaging 7.4 PPG. Upfront, Junior Robert Dozier has grabbed 7.2 RPG and scored 10.1 PPG.
Recently, Memphis almost lost to the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB). The final was 79- 78 and the outcome came down to one shot. Overall, the Tigers have dominated opponents. But there are two questions to consider.
First and foremostâ€”how long can any team go before they lose that â€œperfect record?â€? Memphis has been truly amazing. On December 4, 2007, USC took UAB into OT where the Trojans lost 58- 62. UAB, the second-place club in C-USA, had a lot of trouble with Southern California, but all other clubs, besides UAB, were all easily defeated.
Tennessee lost to Texas in November 97- 78. Their other loss was to Kentucky, a SEC rival, 72- 68. Theyâ€™ve won eight in a row, including a tough 47- 45 victory over LSU.
Memphis is favored by 5.5. It looks like a tough call here. The Vols may be up to the task of finally putting a â€œ1â€? in the Tigersâ€™ loss column.