Belmont will face no. 10 ranked Memphis in just a few hours. This match-up comes on the heels of the largest amount of votes from the AP Poll in Bruins history- 21, and a close call with the Blue Devils at Cameron Indoor on Friday.
But what does Memphis bring to the table that Duke didn’t? Surely, if the Bruins can keep it together long enough to almost beat a Blue Devils team on their home court, they can stick with a team many are calling “overrated”, right?
But Memphis returns all five starters from last year’s team that nearly upset no. 5 seed Arizona in a thrilling opening round to the NCAA tournament. And while many fans Tigers fans are excited about all five returning starters, some have pointed out the lack of offense last year as a main reason to call this Tigers team “over-hyped”.
Memphis had the worst points-per-possession (PPP) in the entire Conference USA last year. Yes. They were worse than Rice when it came to this scoring statistic. Scoring .97 PPP. Not even a whole point a possession. But the pro-argument for Memphis is that inexperience last year leads to experience this year. Though still lead by sophomores and one of the youngest head coaches in the NCAA, Josh Pastner, the Tigers have a substantial amount to prove to everyone this year.
Belmont’s experience (as I have already outlined previously) will be a major factor in this game, as well as the dominance Belmont showed in rebounding against the Blue Devils just four days ago.
Belmont will need to have a better showing behind the arc than they did at Cameron Indoor, and they will need big plays from their defense.
Memphis Tigers: Players To Watch
6-6′ Sophomore Will Barton, named pre-season all conference first team, averaged 12.3 points a game last year.
5-8′ Sophomore forward Tarik Black, averaged 5.0 rebounds a game last year.
Belmont has a great chance in this game, but I don’t want to “mark this one down in sharpie” just yet. This is Memphis’ first game of the season, and the NCAA understands that Belmont means business. Belmont’s maturity will need to shine first by controlling the pace of the game, and playing with intensity underneath the basket.
That being said, Belmont by 3.
Belmont, Belmont, Goooooooo Belmont!