April 16, 2024

 Memphis Tigers Set to Defend Home Court Against Streaking SMU in AAC Battle

- Photo Credits - Madison Penke / Madison Penke Photography
– Photo Credits – Madison Penke / Madison Penke Photography

 Memphis Tigers Set to Defend Home Court Against Streaking SMU in AAC Battle

The Memphis Tigers, ranked 15th in the nation and carrying an impressive 12-2 record, will take on the Southern Methodist University (SMU) Mustangs this Sunday in what is expected to be a fiercely competitive American Athletic Conference (AAC) duel. The game, scheduled to tip off at 4 p.m. CT, will be broadcast live from the FedExForum in Memphis, Tennessee, with Mike Corey delivering play-by-play commentary and Jon Crispin providing expert analysis on ESPN. We will analyze multiple topics in this matchup. First, we will look at the Tigers being back home, where they perform well. 

– Photo Credits – Madison Penke / Madison Penke Photography

Memphis Is HOME

The Tigers, fresh off a thrilling 78-75 road victory over Tulsa, will capitalize on their home advantage and sustain their seven-game winning streak. The Tigers had to dig deep for their win at Tulsa, with Jahvon Quinerly‘s dramatic three-pointer with just four seconds on the clock securing their opening conference triumph. Despite leading comfortably at halftime, the Tigers saw their momentum impacted by Caleb Mills‘ injury, resulting in a shaky second half where their three-point shooting dramatically cooled off.

The FedEx Forum, a fortress of success for Memphis, has witnessed the Tigers claim victory within its walls in 45 of their last 50 games. Under the guidance of head coach Penny Hardaway, Memphis has compiled an imposing 74-10 record at home over six seasons, although SMU has proven to be one of the few teams capable of repeated success in Memphis, achieving a 3-2 record against the Tigers at FedExForum during Hardaway’s tenure.

– Photo Credits – Madison Penke / Madison Penke Photography

Series History 

34 times, these two programs have met on the hardwood. Memphis also holds a narrow lead in the all-time series against SMU with 18 wins to 15 and will look to build on last season’s feat, where they achieved their first sweep against the Mustangs since the 2008-09 season. The Tigers hold a 12-6 lead over the Mustangs as AAC members. In C-USA, where these teams were previously, Memphis led 10-2. At home, Memphis is 11-6 against SMU and has won two out of the last three games played in Bluff City. Can Memphis extend their current winning streak of three games over SMU? Let’s see who the Mustangs are and if the Tigers have the horsepower. 

– Photo Credits – Madison Penke / Madison Penke Photography

Who Are The Mustangs? 

The visiting Mustangs, holding a 10-4 record and their four-game winning streak, present a formidable challenge, especially with their AAC-leading defensive prowess. SMU’s best defense in the AAC and second nationally in field goal percentage defense has been a cornerstone of their success, holding 13 of their 14 opponents below 42% shooting.

Offensively, SMU is led by the talents of preseason All-AAC picks Zhuric Phelps and Chuck Harris, who average 14.7 and 13.2 points per game, respectively. Phelps also contributes with nearly five rebounds, over two and a half assists, and close to 2 steals per contest.

In only his second season, head coach Rob Lanier has crafted a Mustangs team that excels defensively and thrives on creating turnovers, ranking fourth in the AAC with 8.3 steals per game. Their three-point defense is equally impressive, standing atop the conference and sixth nationally.

B.J. Edwards sets the tone for SMU’s offense with his team-high 3.8 assists per game and a stellar 2.65 assist-to-turnover ratio. At the same time, Samuell Williamson and Tyreek Smith are the team’s leading rebounders, grabbing 6.6 and 6.2 boards per game, respectively.

Conference Supremey At Stake

As these two conference rivals clash, fans can expect a matchup featuring Memphis’s high-octane home play against SMU’s lockdown defense. With both teams having kicked off their AAC campaigns with victories, this game will be pivotal in setting the tone for conference supremacy as the season rolls on. 

– Photo Credits – Madison Penke / Madison Penke Photography

Further reading

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