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NCAAB: Tennessee @ Memphis (9:00 PM ET, ESPN)

NCAAB: Tennessee @ Memphis (9:00 PM ET, ESPN)



NCAAB: Tennessee @ Memphis (9:00 PM ET, ESPN)

The latest edition of the game of the year in college hoops comes Saturday night when #1 Memphis hosts #2 Tennessee in an in-state dual


2008-02-22

The latest edition of the game of the year in college hoops comes Saturday night when #1 Memphis hosts #2 Tennessee in an in-state dual. Tickets are hard to come by and betting action figures to be fierce. Make sure to get in on the excitement.

Sportsbook.com will have numerous wagering options available for this game and the rest of the board in college and pro basketball. Remember that every $20 or more wager you win earns you points in the Beat the House Promotion. Make the most of your point opportunities by taking advantage of the winning resources Sportsbook has for you like the Betting Trends, Team Statistics, and Profitable Angles pages. If you need even more, be sure to visit FoxSheets.com and click on the CBB Sample, as the Tennessee/Memphis showdown is the FREE FoxSheet of the Week!!!

Now, back to the big contest…this is a matchup of two teams off to the best starts in their schools’ history. Memphis comes in unbeaten. Tennessee has been beaten twice, both times on the road. Both teams put up a lot of points, so look for a high scoring affair most likely played at least in the 80s. The Vols’ Bruce Pearl and the Tigers’ John Calipari are two of the nation’s most entertaining coaches as well so this one will be fun to watch.

Memphis is riding high as they enter the final few weeks of the regular season. They have all kinds of streaks intact. Listen to just a few of them. 46 wins in a row at home. 32 straight wins inside Conference USA. 26 regular season wins in a row. Some skeptics may still question their conference schedule. They have gone 39—1 since Louisville, Cincinnati and Marquette left their league for greener pastures of the Big East.

Calipari’s counter to this would be simply a list of out of conference teams that have fallen in their way. It is rather impressive with the likes of Oklahoma, UConn, USC, Cincinnati, Georgetown, Arizona and Gonzaga. All that remains for a perfect non-conference record are their in-state rivals the Tennessee Volunteers.

Chris Lofton seems to back in form for Tennessee after struggling for most of the season’s first half. This long distance sharpshooter has made 52% of his three point attempts over a recent six-game span. Over that six-game span he buried 30 shots from downtown.

Tennessee has won 28 straight at home in Knoxville but, regretfully for the Vols, this one is being played in Memphis. Tennessee can put up points - lot’s of points. They lead the SEC in scoring average at 84 points per game. In a recent game they racked up 104 points vs. the defending national champions Florida Gators.

The Tigers’ Chris Douglas-Roberts is simply one of the nation’s most exciting and best players. The 6’7” junior guard has a complete game. He is averaging a team leading 16.7 points per game and makes 48% of his three point attempts. His running mate in the backcourt, Derrick Rose, is among the nation’s best newcomers as well as floor generals. The Chicago native is tallying 14.1 points per contest and dishing out 4.3 assists each outing.

Memphis is solid in the backcourt but where they beat people is up front. They have three legitimate post players who can all run the floor as well. Robert Dozier, Joey Dorsey and Shawn Taggart all go about 6’9”.Dorsey is grabbing 11 rebounds per game with 2.4 blocks per outing in addition to shooting a torrid 72% from the floor.

The #1-ranked Tigers’ Achilles Heel if it does exist may be free-throw shooting. At last glance the Memphis was ranked 327 out of 328 Division I teams in that all important category. They do not have one player shooting over 70% from the line. While we are looking at some negatives they only shoot 34% from behind the three point arc and did turn the ball over 22 times vs. Houston in a recent outing. The Cougars are probably the second best team in their league.

In addition to Lofton, Tennessee comes at you with the three Smith boys, namely Tyler, Ramar and Jajuan. Tyler Smith, a transfer from Iowa, is the best of the lot. This 6’7” sophomore leads his team in field goal percentage (54.3%), rebounding (6.2), steals (1.7) as well as steals (3.7). Jajuan Smith chips in 14.2 points per contest and Ramar Smith adds 8.1 points per outing.

Prediction: It’s showdown time between in-state rivals Tennessee and Memphis. The #1 ranked Tigers will be put to the test truly for the first time in a couple of months. Granted, they’ve played some close games recently, but this will be the first time a team possibly as talented as them hits the Fed Ed Forum. There are a few reasons to believe that this game should be all it is being made out to be, meaning a tight contest with the underdog Volunteers getting the job done ATS. First, Tennessee can score with anyone, even a team as athletic and defensively stout as Memphis. At 83.7 PPG, there’s not a point in the contest where you’ll feel the Volunteers are out of it. Second, the dreaded Memphis free throw woes. Shooting just 58% from the foul stripe, how can anyone feel comfortable laying the points in a matchup this big. Finally, Bruce Pearl’s teams have a history on bringing their best for the best: Pearl is 14-5 ATS (+8.5 Units) when playing against a top-level team (Win Pct. > 80%) as the coach of TENNESSEE. The average score was TENNESSEE 82.5, OPPONENT 77.6 - (Rating = 1*). Tennessee is playing its best ball now, Memphis is not, thanks to the light schedule. Take advantage of it. Play: Tennessee +6




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