The Memphis Tigers head into a slate, facing three SEC teams. Those squads are the Auburn Tigers and Alabama Crimson Tide, and they close out at home against the Texas A&M Aggies. They kicked things off against Auburn. The game will take place in Atlanta, Georgia, which is home to the Holiday Hoopsgiving Invitational. Auburn is one of seven SEC teams that has one loss or less record in the conference right now. The last time that Memphis faced Auburn was in 2020, when the Tigers lost by four, 74-71. Based on how everything goes, the outcome of each game could go a long way in the Tigers’ aspirations of returning to the NCAA tournament. Here are a few things to pay attention to in Saturday’s big game against Auburn.
The Memphis Big Three
The Tigers’ big three, Kendric Davis, Alex Lomax, and DeAndre Williams, are the key contributors to this team. How they perform on Saturday could determine the outcome against the Tigers. Each player has a skill set that the team greatly benefits from. Point guard Kendric Davis leads the Tigers in scoring at 17.4 PPG, assists at 4.8, and field goal percentage at 37.6. His teammate, Lomax, has been on a tear lately. He is averaging 13.3 PPG, 4.3 assists, and 4.3 steals over his last four games. Williams is one of the best power forwards in college basketball.
The veteran talent is second behind Davis, scoring 14.1 PPG, and leads Memphis in rebounds with 7.3. The group will face a challenge they have seen before in previous matchups this season. The issue that Auburn presents to the Tigers is that they have size and length across the court. They had similar problems with team length in games against Stanford and Nebraska. However, Memphis prevailed due to both teams’ talent voids in critical areas. The Tigers can attack Auburn from the perimeter, but the ability to rebound on the offensive side will be crucial.
The Ability to Close Out the Opponent
Memphis could not finish off their opponents in both of the Tigers’ losses this season. They were in a back-and-forth battle with St. Louis and controlled the Seton Hall matchup but could not finish the deal. They must overcome those issues against Auburn. While they may be undefeated, Auburn is a squad with deficiencies. They are ranked 344th in Division I in 3-point percentage (26.6%). However, the team shot a game-high 45.5% from beyond the arc against Colgate. Is that a sign of things to come from Auburn in that category? We’ll have to wait and see. It’s an area that Memphis must exploit by efficient defensive rebounding and sound decisions regarding scoring.
You can expect a low-scoring, physical, and intense battle between Auburn and Memphis in Atlanta. The team that can force turnovers, is effective in the paint and makes sound decisions on offense will win this game. These are the type of games that plays into the hands of the Memphis Tigers. While they may get off to a massive lead against Auburn, expect the Tigers to deliver in crucial moments to defeat the SEC ball club.
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