The marquee college basketball game tonight will feature the Memphis Tigers heading to Alabama to take on the fourth-ranked Crimson Tide. Both teams enter tonight off of big wins, so we'll be breaking down this exciting match-up and getting into which team you should be backing.
Alabama enters tonight after knocking off the number-one team in the country in Houston. The Crimson Tide has been outstanding on the offensive end averaging 82.1 points per game and leading the nation in offensive rebounds per game. Their ability to get second-chance looks makes this team very dangerous and is exactly what they need with their style of offense.
The Crimson Tide take the fourth most three-point attempts in the country at 30.1 a game, and despite making an average of 10.4 a game, there are still plenty of offensive rebound opportunities when playing this style. Having the big men down low to come down, with an average of 14.1 a game, makes it tough to stop the Crimson Tide from going scoreless on an offensive possession.
Behind freshman Brandon Miller and experienced point guard Jahvon Quinerly, the Crimson Tide run at the 24th-highest tempo in the country, according to KenPom. High tempo can be great, but it can also lead to many turnovers, which has been a problem for the Crimson Tide as they average 16.2 turnovers a game.
This is where the 8-2 Memphis Tigers come in, the Tigers are averaging 9.1 steals per game which is 30th in the country, and senior Alex Lomax is averaging a team-high three steals per game. The Tigers' defense can force Alabama to have one of their highest turnover rates for the entire season tonight.
Offensively Kendric Davis has been leading this Memphis team with an average of 18.4 points and 4.9 assists per game. The Tigers will also get a nice boost from Damaria Franklin, who will make his season debut tonight after finally being declared eligible out of the transfer portal.
The Memphis Tigers can be found as +7.5 point underdogs tonight, and they are my best bet for this one. There is no denying the Crimson Tide is a dangerous team, but their offensive style of play can lead to teams being able to hang around in the game. With the way this Memphis team has played recently on the defensive end, I think they pose a tough match-up for Nate Oats's squad.
Memphis is holding opponents to an average of 27.7 points in the first half of games, and on the season, the Tigers are holding opponents to a 37.9% shooting percentage which is 16th in the country. Being able to contest the Crimson Tide from three and forcing them into turnovers will have the Tigers hanging close all game.
Offensively the Tigers have a much different approach as they don't like to rely on the three-ball often, so they won't be getting into running matches and forcing up deep shots to keep pace with Alabama. This is the most experienced team Penny Hardaway has had at Memphis, and I think their style of play will keep them in this game from start to finish.
Memphis Tigers (+7.5)