Memphis Tigers at Cincinnati Bearcats

Memphis Tigers Preview

Dropping three of six American Athletic Conference games last month put the Memphis Tigers in a difficult spot for the league race, and falling at home to South Florida on Saturday dealt a blow to their resume. Memphis faces a difficult stretch to close out the regular season, beginning Thursday at Cincinnati.

The Tigers played a stellar defensive game in their 60-49 win over the Bearcats on Jan. 16, but defense has not been an issue for them on the season: They rank second in the nation, through Tuesday, in opponents’ 2-point shooting percentage (.399). On offense, Memphis is languishing with little consistency outside of Precious Achiuwa and his 14.7 points per game. The Tigers rank among the nation’s worst in turnovers, committing an average of 17 per game.

Cincinnati Bearcats Preview

The Cincinnati Bearcats ripped off five straight wins following a Jan. 16 loss at Memphis, but their streak ended Sunday in an overtime heartbreaker at Connecticut, 72-71. Cincinnati now sits 1 1/2 games back of Houston in the American Athletic Conference race. The Bearcats have found more offensive consistency since scoring just 49 points at Memphis, hitting 80-plus three times during their winning streak.

Jarron Cumberland leads a corps of four Bearcats averaging in double figures, producing 15.1 points per game. He scored 19 points at Memphis, but Keith Williams was the only other Cincinnati player in double figures with 12. The two shot a combined 10 of 28 from the floor, and Cincinnati went 18 of 60 (30 percent) overall while committing 16 turnovers.