AAC Basketball Conference Play Preview and Predictions: Memphis Tigers

By Daniel Karpuc
Michael Dixon Jr.
Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports

The No. 18 Memphis Tigers have had an interesting start to their season. After losing to Oklahoma State, who was ranked No. 7, they won in the rematch with the team who was ranked No. 5 the next time they played them. They’ve won the games they should have won but didn’t look pretty in the process. Their only other loss came against Florida. Their last win in which they were clicking in all phases of the game came against Siena on November 28. That’s not good news if you’re a Tigers fan. Although, at 10-2, it could be a whole lot worse. Just ask Rutgers.

The Tigers are led by Joe Jackson who averages 14.9 points per game, Shaq Goodwin, with 13.5 points and 6.5 rebounds per contest, and Michael Dixon Jr. who puts up 10.7 points off the bench. They have a variety of other guys who are athletic and can step in to deliver some solid minutes like Chris Crawford and freshman Austin Nichols, who I believe is the x-factor to this team’s success. In just 22.8 minutes, Nichols puts up 9.2 points and 4.5 rebounds a game. The Tigers are arguably the most athletic team in the American Athletic Conference.

Here’s how I think they will do in the AAC.

After their victory at South Florida last night, they will win against Cincinnati, at Temple, Houston, South Florida, at Central Florida, Rutgers, Central Florida, at Rutgers, Temple, at Houston, Louisville, and SMU.

They will suffer losses at Louisville, against Connecticut, at SMU, at Connecticut, at Cincinnati.

If I’m correct, they will go 13-5 in conference play and finish 24-8 overall in the regular season after beating non-conference LeMoyne-Owen and falling to Gonzaga. Because of their supreme athleticism, however, this team has the potential to win the conference.

Dan Karpuc is an American Athletic Conference basketball writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @dan_karpuc, “Like” him on Facebook, and add him to your network on Google.

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