Although Houston’s win over SMU all but secured the AAC regular season title for the Cougars, there was still plenty at stake when Memphis took on Wichita State in Sunday’s college basketball matchup. The loss dropped SMU to two games back and, with a win, Memphis could move to a half-game behind SMU for second in the AAC basketball standings.
For one reason or another, many college basketball analysts have Memphis in the bubble picture this year. The Tigers have struggled with injuries and have also struggled with inconsistency this season. With a blowout win over Wichita State, Memphis moves just a little closer to a possible at-large tournament berth.
Memphis Trounces Wichita State, 81-57
Lights Out Shooting for Memphis Basketball
A cause for concern this year for Memphis has often been their inefficient offense. Even with plenty of top-tier recruits and transfers, the Tigers have still struggled to find consistent shooters on their team. Wichita State plays solid defense and played a top-tier Houston team as tough as anybody else in their last outing. This game would be a good indicator to see if Memphis would continue to struggle, or if they could find an offensive spark.
Luckily for Memphis’ tournament hopes, they found their shooting stroke. The Tigers shot over 55% from the field and 50% from deep. Memphis even shot over 85% from the line where they have struggled immensely multiple times this season. This is clearly not sustainable for the Tigers, but this kind of performance does put the rest of the country on notice for the type of damage they can do if you’re not careful.
Turnovers Still Present
On top of poor shooting and a badly run offense, another thorn in Memphis’ side this season has been turnovers. In the AAC, with a lower level of competition, turnovers have not come back to bite the Tigers too often. In another game filled with turnovers for Memphis, with 20, the question becomes whether or not they can win a tournament game with this type of carelessness.
Memphis doesn’t have an elite defense, nor do they have an elite offense. Plenty of teams don’t in college basketball. The problem is when a team like Memphis doesn’t show any improvement in ball security and continues to commit turnovers, their chances of winning diminish greatly. Having 20 turnovers against Wichita State won’t kill Memphis very often. However, 20 turnovers in the NCAA Tournament will. If Memphis doesn’t suddenly start to show improvement in that department, that will be the reason they get bounced in the early rounds of whatever postseason tournament they qualify for.