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Friday, December 28, 2007

My Pregame on (#2 RPI) Memphis v. (#1 RPI) Arizona

Ok, so you thought the Georgetown game was important to the Tigers? Well, it was. Georgetown was in the Final Four last year and by all accounts, they are at least expected to make it to the Elite Eight or better in 2008.

So, is Arizona more important? From an RPI perspective, it is clearly a bigger game. A victory over #1 RPI Arizona will move Memphis up to the top spot and help keep them in the top 10 all season even with a weak C-USA schedule right around the corner.

Should the Tigers win the game? Las Vegas puts the Tigers at a 8.5 point favorite (three of those goes to the home team by default).

I suspect Memphis wins for three reasons - 1) I believe they have equal to better talent that is more experienced, 2) They have some revenge on their mind after losing in Tucson last year in a very competitive game, but not one where the Tigers played particularly well (though Andre Allen had his best game of the season, IMO), and 3) Memphis is the home team, will have 17,000+, loud, fans dressed in blue, and has won 37 straight in the FedEx Forum.

This is a pretty different Wildcats team from last year. Gone are Mustafa Shakur (23 points, 6 rebounds and 5 assists in last year's outing), Ivan Radenvic and Marcus Williams. Gone is Lute Olson (and replaced with former Tennessee Volunteer head coach Kevin "bad hair" O'Neill - who Memphis fans will love to hate once and again).

Of course, Memphis was lead last year by none of this year's usual suspects. Jeremy Hunt lead the team with 21 points on 4 of 9 from the 3 point line. Andre Allen chipped in 15 and Kareem Cooper had 11. Joey Dorsey had 8 points and 5 rebounds, but he was in foul trouble the whole game (only played 18 minutes) and fouled out with just under four minutes to play.

CDR was sick with flu and Robert Dozier had one of his classic "AWOL" games where he just doesn't show up.

Tonight will be different. Look for Memphis to win by 6 in a close, competitive game, but not one where Tiger fans are ever really worried about the outcome.

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