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Memphis Tigers

1 Houston vs. Memphis: Preview and Prediction

Houston vs Memphis CBB previewe

With the crucial matchup against SMU officially out of the fold, the Memphis Tigers are preparing for their final game of the 2022-2023 regular season. They close out against the number one ranked team in the country, the Houston Cougars. The game will also signify the Cougars’ final appearance as a member of the American Athletic Conference. Starting next season, Houston will be a member of the Big 12 Conference. While many bracketologists now have Memphis penciled in to participate in the upcoming NCAA tournament, it is always better to pick up a big win close out of the regular season, especially against an opponent like Houston.

In the February 19 contest against Houston, the Tigers were without their best player, star point guard Kendric Davis, because of an injury against UCF three days prior. Despite not having the AAC’s all-time leading scorer on the court, the Tigers fought hard against the Cougars. In a losing effort, guard Elijah McCaden emerged as a key contributor down the stretch for Memphis. He scored 20 points which all came in the second half against Houston.

For Memphis to win in their final game of the regular season, they must focus on two key things. Firstly, they must find a way to neutralize Marcus Sasser, Houston’s top player, and leading scorer. Sasser averages 17.2 points per game and has been a dominant force for the Cougars all season. If the Tigers can find a way to limit his impact on the game, they will have a much better chance of coming away with a victory. Secondly, the Tigers must ensure their offense is firing on all cylinders.

Houston is the country’s number-one ranked team in scoring defense by only giving up 56.2 points per game. In the Cougars’ only loss of the season, which came against Temple, the game ended in a low-scoring 56-55 defeat. Another area where Memphis needs to better is the turnover battle. In the first half of the previous matchup against Houston, Memphis committed 14 turnovers. Houston capitalized on the mistakes by scoring 16 of their 32 points in the first half.

Players such as McCadden and Damaria Franklin must continue what they have done over the past few days regarding being productive players for Memphis. Franklin has caught fire recently in the scoring department. In his last four games, Franklin has scored 15, 9, 12, and 10 points. If he can replicate a similar performance against Houston on Sunday, a win to close the season will be within reach. The more production the Tigers can get on offense, the better it will look when the clock hits zero. They will need an all-hands-on-deck approach to put Houston away for the final time.

Final Prediction

With a healthy Kendric Davis back on the court only with players such as McCaden and Franklin playing at an exceptionally high level, the Tigers put away Houston in their final game as a member of the AAC.

Memphis 79, Houston 74 


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