UAB vs Memphis Preview and Prediction
UAB vs Memphis Preview
A matchup that nearly happened two weeks ago, will take place on Saturday afternoon at the FedEx Forum in Memphis, TN.
The UAB Blazers (6-2) winners of three straight will take on the Memphis Tigers (4-4) in a non-conference clash. Both teams were a part of the Advocare Invitational in Orlando, FL over the Thanksgiving break and missed playing each other in that tournament by one game.
The Blazers and Tigers have had two common opponents this year as both played in the 2018 AdvoCare Invitational. The two teams each earned wins over Canisius and dropped games to College of Charleston to finish the event 1-2.
UAB is playing Memphis for the 49th time in program history, with the Tigers leading the all-time series, 37-11. The Blazers one of the most recent meeting during last season’s Bartow Classic, defeating the Tigers, 71-56, in Birmingham.
Blazing the way
UAB is coming off a 73-67 victory over North Alabama in which Lewis Sullivan recorded his second-career double-double with 16 points and 11 rebounds. The senior is making the most of his final year in the Green and Gold as he is second on the team in scoring at 10.1 ppg and leads the team on the glass at 6.4 rpg.
The Blazers look to continue dominating on the glass as they enter the contest leading Conference USA and ranking top 30 nationally in rebounding margin (7.8). UAB is averaging 13.7 offensive rebounds per game and had 14 last time out against North Alabama.
Zack Bryant is the team’s top performer this year, averaging 12.9 points and 2.9 rebounds per game. Bryant has scored in double figures four times. He was the dominant force behind the Blazers lone victory at the AdvoCare Invitational against Canisius.
While this is the first season new Memphis coach Penny Hardaway will match wits against UAB, he played against the Blazers five times in his career. Each of those games came against a Gene Bartow-coached UAB squad. Bartow led the Memphis to its first NCAA title game in 1973 with a team led by Larry Finch, who was the Tigers’ coach when Hardaway was a Tigers’ player.
So the rivalry, while heated at times, has many connections between the programs. Bartow started the UAB program from scratch, building his roster with Memphis-area high school talent.
Memphis has been led during the first two months of the season by freshman Tyler Harris, who leads the team with a 15.3 average. He also has a team-high 26 made 3-pointers, or two more than the rest of the team combined.
In the UofM’s 88-80 win over South Dakota State, Harris and senior guard Jeremiah Martin scored 22 points each. It marked the fourth time this season Harris has scored 20 or more points.
Hardaway has toyed with different frontcourt combinations all season long, failing to find a set of guys to stick with game-in, game-out.
Davenport is the team’s third leading scorer at 13.1 ppg and leading rebounder with 6.6 boards per game.
Maurice typically starts but only see about 12 minutes per game. He is coming off his best performance of the season against South Dakota State where he scored 10 points, pulled down 8 rebounds and blocked four shots—all three were season-highs.
UAB’s last win in Memphis came during the 1998-99 season when it posted a 91-83 victory at The Pyramid. This Memphis squad is going through a transition phase with Penny Hardaway at the helm, but that will end next year when he brings in one of the best recruiting classes the Tigers have ever seen. Penny still wants to win every game, a fiery competitor MFST saw up-close at the AdvoCare Invitational.
I think the Blazers will make this a tight game, but the Tigers scorers, specifically Tyler Harris and Jeremiah Martin will do enough down the stretch to win the ball game.
Memphis 79 UAB 75
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