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Memphis Hopes for Better Result Against SEC Foe

If at first, you don’t succeed …

The last time the nationally ranked Memphis Tigers hit the road, a Georgia team on a four-game losing streak appeared to be easy pickings. Guess again. A late 3-pointer lifted the Bulldogs to a 3-point win as 11½-point underdogs.

Sarah Stier/Getty Images/AFP

These teams don’t play every year but there still are trends to consider. Each of the last five meetings between the teams, including a Memphis one-point win in 2019, has gone over the total. Memphis has also failed to cover in each one of those games.

Memphis began the season at +1400 in the national-championship odds and is still listed at +2500 in the odds to win March Madness.

  • Game: Memphis (5-2) at Ole Miss (5-2)
  • Location: The Sandy and John Black Pavilion
  • Day/Time: Saturday, Dec. 4, 12 p.m. ET
  • Television: ESPN2

Memphis Tigers vs Ole Miss Rebels

Team Point Spread Moneyline Over/Under
Memphis -1 —- 139 -110o
Ole Miss+1 +1 —- 139 -110o

Highly touted Memphis Hits Bump or Two

Adding top 10 national recruits Emoni Bates and Jalen Duren to an already talented nucleus of returning players, Memphis began the season just missing cracking the Top 25 in The Associated Press poll. That changed when Memphis won its first five games with one decided by single digits.

Iowa State took advantage of some sloppy play with a 19-point win in the championship game of the NIT Season Tip-Off tournament and then host Georgia stunned Memphis in the Tigers’ first true road game of the 2021-22 season.

Memphis is back on the road to face another SEC team, Ole Miss, looking to avoid the program’s first three-game losing streak since the 2019-20 season.

“One of the things we do poorly is we try to make the play ourselves and not draw (the defense) and kick to another guy,” Memphis coach Penny Hardaway said after the Iowa State game. “We do it beautifully in practice but it seems like when the game starts, we start doing like musical chairs. Guys who weren’t doing it, we had to get them out and put another guy in.”

Memphis held its first five opponents under 40% shooting but Iowa State shot 45.5% and Georgia 48% as the Tigers lost both games when the college basketball odds listed them as 11½-point favorites. Memphis has also had three games with more than 20 turnovers so there is a learning curve that the talented but young Memphis squad is dealing with.

No Place Like Home for Ole Miss

The home court has been kind to Ole Miss, which is undefeated at home this season.

The Rebels lost two of three games at the Shriners Children’s Charleston Classic including a 10-point loss to Boise State when the college basketball picks listed the Rebels as two-point favorites. Ole Miss returned home to post comfortable wins over Mississippi Valley State and Rider to improve to 4-0 at home this season.

The key to those two victories? Rebounding would be a good place to start as the Rebels had 100 rebounds including 37 on the offensive end. The offensive rebounding prowess was a new development after the Rebels were held under 10 offensive boards in four of the first five games of the season.

“We’ve definitely been focusing on rebounding,” said Nysier Brooks who pulled down 15 of the Rebels’ 57 rebounds against Rider. “I’ve just really been trying to focus on things I’m great at and making sure I do those, even if the ball might not be going in the hole for me as frequently as I may like. I’m just trying to bring more of my defensive presence at protecting the rim, defending, rebounding.”

Jarkel Joiner has scored in double figures in all six games and when he makes at least 50% of his shots, Ole Miss is undefeated.

Eight different Ole Miss players have started games with Jaemyn Brakefield and Luis Rodriguez the only players to start all seven games.

Ball Security Could Play a Key Role

Both Memphis and Ole Miss have dealt with sloppy play.

Memphis has 10 more turnovers in the last two games and the careless play contributed to the first two losses of the season.

The Rebels have one more assist than turnovers in the last four games and that is a ratio that needs to improve before Ole Miss heads into SEC play.

Memphis is 5-1 against the college basketball spreads in its last six road games but has not covered in its last five games against Ole Miss.

The total has gone under in four of the Rebels’ last five games but for Memphis, six of their last nine games have gone over the total.

Coming off back-to-back losses, we are expected the talent-laden Memphis team to be dialed in and eager to hit the ground running so we are anticipating the game going over the total.

Pick: Over 139

Pick: Memphis Tigers -1

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