March Madness Odds - Memphis vs. UAB
By Jordan Walters
WagerWeb.com Contributing Writer
Sports Betting at WagerWeb Online Sportsbook
The toughest road game remaining in top-ranked Memphis' season is Saturday night in Birmingham, Ala., when the unbeaten Tigers (24-0, 10-0) visit Alabama-Birmingham (17-7, 7-2); Memphis is an 8-point favorite at WagerWeb.com.
Memphis, which has the nation's longest winning streak at 43 (it hasn't lost since Dec. 20, 2006), also has won 33 consecutive Conference USA games, but that last loss came at UAB on March 2, 2006 (80-74).
That Memphis team, ranked No. 3 at the time, was on a 15-game winning streak and was the nation's only team without a road defeat.
Think Memphis coach John Calipari will use that as motivation?
"I'll use it. That's great," Calipari said. "This is about us, nobody else, and we've just got to make sure we're preparing and we're focusing and we've got this team in a great frame of mind."
Each team had two current players start that game, as Frank Holmes had 14 points while Lawrence Kinnard added three for UAB. Joey Dorsey had 11 points and 16 rebounds while Chris Douglas-Roberts scored six points for Memphis.
Memphis has since won three in a row against UAB during its current run in conference play, allowing an average of just 52.0 points. The most recent meeting in the series also took place in Birmingham, where Memphis won 70-56 last February, holding the Blazers to 30.8 percent shooting and forcing 20 turnovers.
The Tigers' last four wins have come at home (this will be their first road game of the month), but they haven't exactly struggled on the road this season, winning six games by an average of 18.5 points - all by at least 10.
UAB - under former Indiana coach Mike Davis - hasn't lost at home, going 11-0 and outscoring opponents by more than 20 points per game. The Blazers have only trailed in two of their home games.
However, Davis said the Blazers' leading scorer, Robert Vaden, is "day-by-day" with a groin injury that sidelined him for Wednesday night's win at Rice.
"I'm feeling kind of sore, but I think I should be pretty good and ready to go for Memphis," Vaden said. The Indiana transfer is averaging 20.8 points and ranks second nationally making 4.35 3-pointers per game.
"He's playing. That was just (precautionary)," Memphis senior point guard Andre Allen said. "I don't know any great player that's gonna sit out just for a groin."
Memphis and UAB are the top defensive teams in the league, as the Tigers allow just 60.0 points per game and the Blazers give up 63.8. Memphis' only flaw? The Tigers rank 327th out of 328 Division I teams in free-throw shooting.
Davis said the Blazers aren't caught up in trying to be the first team to beat Memphis this season. He said that UAB needs to ensure that the Memphis game doesn't affect its next game (Houston). The Cougars are tied with UAB for second place.
"We want to be in position for the NCAA,' Davis said.”(But) can we win? We're going to have to play well to beat them. Anybody that beats Memphis, you've got to play great."