Memphis Tigers are on a three game winning streak after their disappointing loss to the Louisville Cardinals. They have a record of 9-3 and are facing their first road test after a seven game home stand.
The Tigers may be a little thin as they head up the road to Knoxville (TN) to face the in-state rival Tennessee Volunteers. As of Tuesday, junior forward Tarik Black has not been able to fully participate in practice because of a groin injury. He has missed the last two games.
If Black is unable to play, that will leave the Tigers short on size and experience in the paint.
Memphis front court starters are senior D. J. Stephens (6’5, 188) and freshman Shaq Goodwin (6’9, 246) compared to Tennessee’s senior Kenny Hall (6-9, 230) and sophomore Jarnell Stokes (6-8, 270).
It would help to have Black at 6’9 and 262 pounds coming off the bench.
Tennessee enters this game with an 8-3 record and a four game winning streak. The Volunteers are a perfect 6-0 at home this season.
They also have a +13.2 points per game scoring margin and a +5.0 rebounding margin at the Thompson-Boling Arena.
This game is very interesting in a couple of ways.
The teams have been playing each other since the 2005-06 season, rotating annually between Knoxville and the Bluff City.
Once the final buzzer sounds, it is unknown when the programs will meet again. There are no future meetings scheduled, and Memphis head coach Josh Pastner has told reporters on multiple occasions that he has no desire to see the series survive.
Last season, when the Tigers defeated the Vols in Memphis (TN), Stokes was sitting behind the Tennessee’s bench in street clothes. During that time, the Memphis native had decided to graduate from high school a semester early and bypass the home team to become a Volunteer.
This state of Tennessee battle is sure to not disappoint college basketball fans.
The 2013 edition of this highly anticipated match up tips off Friday at 8:02 p.m. ET at Thompson-Boling Arena in Knoxville, TN.