Two of the most disappointing teams of the 2014-15 college basketball season, the Memphis Tigersand Connecticut Huskies were both expected to not only hover around the top 25 for the season, but easily make the 2015 NCAA tournament.
Currently, both of these teams are projected to miss out on March Madness. However, based on current records and current RPI rankings, both of these teams stand a legitimate chance at making the NCAA tournament.
Memphis and Connecticut face off on Thursday, Mar. 5, at 9 p.m. ET on ESPN2, with the winner taking a step closer to the Big Dance and the loser finishing the season in disappointment.
UConn won a crucial game over the ranked SMU Mustangs 81-73 on Saturday. The Huskies’ defense stepped up to stifle SMU’s efficient offense and survive several attempts to mount a comeback. This win is their third in a row and marks a turning point in their season, especially offensively. A win over Memphis would be good for the Huskies, but a loss would not be devastating because they still face a good Temple Owls squad to finish the season.
Memphis must win this game — there are no ifs about it. The Tigers will not make the 2015 NCAA tournament unless they can finish the season undefeated and at least go to the AAC tournament final. This team has the talent to do it, but I’m not sure they have the focus.
It’s hard to see a scenario in which Memphis can pull off the upset on the road. Josh Pastner may not be the head coach of the Tigers much longer, as Connecticut defends its home court with a big win over Memphis.
Prediction: Connecticut 71, Memphis 59