Lipscomb (7-3) at (21) Memphis (9-2)
Thursday, December 30th, 8:00 p.m. (et)
The Sports Network
By Pat Taggart, Associate College Basketball Editor
FACTS & STATS: Site: FedExForum (18,165) -- Memphis, Tennessee. Television: CSS. Home Record: Lipscomb 4-0, Memphis 8-1. Away Record: Lipscomb 3-3, Memphis 0-0. Neutral Record: Lipscomb 0-0, Memphis 1-1. Conference Record: Lipscomb 2-0, Memphis 0-0. Series Record: Lipscomb leads, 4-1.
GAME NOTES: The 21st-ranked Memphis Tigers are clearly the favorites in tonight's non-conference matchup with the Lipscomb Bisons.
While considered the underdog this evening, Lipscomb certainly isn't a pushover, as it has posted a 7-3 record to date, including a 2-0 mark in Atlantic Sun Conference action. The Bisons actually carried an impressive five-game win streak into their most recent contest last Tuesday, but that road affair against Alabama resulted in a 71-51 defeat. The other two losses have come by double figures as well to Baylor and North Carolina, both on the road.
As for Memphis, it carried a modest two-game win streak into its most recent outing last Thursday, but that home clash with Georgetown resulted in an ugly 86-69 defeat. The Tigers are still a solid 9-2 overall, including 8-1 at home, and the team's only other loss came against Big 12 power Kansas. Memphis is a Conference USA squad that seems to challenge for that league's title every year, and this season doesn't figure to be any different.
Surprisingly, Lipscomb owns a 4-1 series lead over Memphis, but the programs haven't met since the 1930s.
There is no doubt that Lipscomb depends heavily on the dup of Josh Slater and Adnan Hodzic to be productive every time out. Hodzic is scoring 20.2 ppg on 55.7 percent shooting from the floor, and he is ripping down 8.9 rpg as well. Slater checks in with 18.1 ppg, and he is grabbing 7.6 rpg to go along with team highs of 46 assists and 25 steals. The third and final double-digit scorer on the roster is Jordan Burgason with his 11.2 ppg. The Bisons are generating 82.1 ppg while allowing 77.5 ppg to foes, but that positive differential was not reflected in the most recent outing against Alabama. In that tilt, Lipscomb was held to a season-low 51 points on 28.8 percent field goal efficiency. Burgason tallied 13 points to pace his club, and Hodzic added 12 points. As for Slater, he finished with 10 points.
With a quick look at the box score from last week's meeting with Georgetown, it isn't hard to figure out why Memphis lost by a wide margin. The Tigers shot just 39.4 percent from the floor and permitted the Hoyas to make good on 56.9 percent of their field goal attempts. Memphis also finished with more turnovers and fewer points from the foul line than the opposition. Will Barton led the way in defeat with 18 points. Will Coleman tallied 12 points, while Tarik Black contributed 10 points. Barton is the team's leading scorer this season with 12 ppg, but his 29.2 percent shooting from three-point range isn't going to scare Lipscomb. Wesley Witherspoon checks in with 11.9 ppg on 50 percent shooting from the floor, and Joe Jackson, who struggled mightily against Georgetown, brings 11.0 ppg to the mix. Memphis is posting 79.3 ppg overall while allowing 68.9 ppg to foes.
Lipscomb will put forth a solid effort this evening, but the athleticism of Memphis will prevail. Expect the home crowd to go home happy.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Memphis 79, Lipscomb 68
12/30 10:31:28 ET