After looking like their 2015 NCAA tournament dreams were over just a few weeks ago, the Memphis Tigers have won three games in a row, bringing their record to a respectable 17-10. However, with an RPI of 79, the Tigers will have to win out in the regular season and avoid losing to a bad team in the AAC tournament if they are to make it to the Big Dance.
Memphis’ toughest remaining matchup is at home on Thursday, Feb. 26, at 9 p.m. ET on ESPN2, as the Tigers face off with the No. 21 SMU Mustangs at FedEx Forum.
SMU bounced back from a disappointing start to the season by winning 20 of their last 22 games, but are barely holding on to the AAC regular season title in front of the Tulsa Golden Hurricane. The Mustangs’ defense and rebounding ability has kept them alive when they have struggled to score this season, and should continue to do so in the NCAA tournament.
The first time these two teams matched up in early January, SMU ran away with it 73-59, behind a 21 point performance by Markus Kennedy. However, Kennedy has been inconsistent when it comes to scoring all season long, and the Tigers have turned into one of the best inside defensive teams in the country.
This game could go either way. Both Memphis and SMU are defense-first teams that rely on their scorers inside to get the job done. However, I don’t think that the Tigers can continue their win streak, and the Mustangs come out on top.
Prediction: SMU 66, Memphis 59