Game Preview: No. 9 Alabama vs Memphis
When: Tuesday, December 14 at 9:00 pm ET on ESPN
Location: FedExForum, Memphis, TN
Having won back-to-back games over Top 15 teams, Alabama hits the road to take on the struggling Memphis Tigers.
The Crimson Tide are coming off an impressive 83-82 win at home over No. 14 ranked Houston on Saturday night in what-was one of the top overall college basketball games of the year so far during the 2021-22 season. Shooting a combined 52% from the field, Alabama impressed in almost all facets against the Cougars, but did struggle in a few areas also, most-notably being out-rebounded 21-7 on the offensive glass.
Alabama comes into this game ranked as the No. 6 team in the country at 8-1, and are averaging 86 PPG while allowing 72.2 PPG to opponents. Leading the Crimson Tide are leading scorer Jaden Shackelford who is averaging 19.1 PPG and shooting 45.6% from three, as well as others including forward Juwan Gary who had a season-high 19 points on Saturday night.
Memphis on the other hand are coming off a 74-72 home loss to Murray State on Friday night, the Tigers fourth consecutive defeat with the other three coming to Iowa State on a neutral court, as well as road games to Georgia and Ole Miss. The Tigers took a 40-26 lead into the half in the contest, but were out-scored 48-32 by the Racers in the second half, surrendering the lead with around 11:00 minutes to play.
The Tigers as a result of this losing streak have fallen out of the Top 25 at 5-4 overall, and are averaging 76.1 PPG offensively while allowing 68.2 PPG. Leading the way for Memphis is the freshman duo of Emoni Bates and Jalen Duren, while others such as DeAndre Williams, Lester Quinones, and Landers Holley II all play key roles.
Similar to the Gonzaga game, the play of Alabama’s bigs will be key here facing the duo of Duren and Williams down low, one of the top frontcourt pairings in the AAC. The Tigers have been strong at home this season at 4-1, but you could certainly make an argument that this game is the Crimson Tide’s to lose in what is a game between two teams moving in opposite directions at the moment.
Prediction: Alabama 79, Memphis 71