TV Schedule: Friday, Dec. 18, 7 p.m. ET, ESPN News
Arena: FedEx Forum, Memphis, Tenn.
Line: Memphis (-3)
Since losing two of their opening four games, the Tigers have won five straight, including wins over the Ohio State Buckeyes and Louisiana Tech. Dedric Lawson has been on fire, and it seems like Ricky Tarrant’s arrival from the Alabama Crimson Tide could have been exactly what this team needed to get back in the hunt for a 2016 NCAA tournament berth. The American Athletic Conference is one of the best in the country, so a win over a potential bubble team like Ole Miss could do wonders for this team’s chances at participating in March Madness.
The Rebels, on the other hand, have yet to secure a marquee win on the season; a victory over the Tigers in Memphis could be just the resume boosting win this team needs when the season gets closer to March. Stefan Moody continues to lead the SEC in points per game, and Sebastian Saiz is more than capable of controlling the game from the inside. This team just needs other players to step up offensively, and they could be well on their way to a top-four finish in the SEC and a trip to the 2016 NCAA tournament.
That being said, Memphis’ underrated defense should pose major trouble for Ole Miss’ struggling offense. The Tigers rebound extremely well, and, outside of Moody, the Rebels do not really have a player who can put up huge numbers to counteract the Tigers’ much more athletic squad. Expect a low-scoring game in which the home team comes out on top, but just barely.
Prediction: Memphis 65, Ole Miss 62