Wichita State looks to remain hot and improve to 5–1 in conference play Thursday when they hit the road to take on the Memphis Tigers.
Wichita State has won three straight and seven of their last eight contests. The Shockers dominated Tulsa 72–53 back on January 13 and have four of their first five conference games.
The Shockers have looked strong offensively this season, currently ranking 58th in offensive efficiency and averaging 74.2 points per game. Tyson Etienne is making a case for AAC Player of the Year. The sophomore is the only member of the Shockers averaging in double figures (17.2 points per game). He also shoots over 40 percent from three and over 80 percent from the line.
Wichita State has done a good job not playing down to their competition as they are 8–0 against teams outside the top-70 in KenPom this year. The fact that they have the lowest turnover rate in the conference and get to the free throw line at a high rate contribute to their high offensive rating.
Memphis once again entered this season with high expectations, but have fallen short of them thus far. Much like last season, their offense has been inconsistent. Memphis barely ranks in the top-200 in offensive efficiency, shoots 30.2 percent from deep, and hits just 62 percent of its free throws.
Memphis has eclipsed a 100 offensive rating just four times in 11 games this season, and a large reason for that has been an inability to take care of the basketball. The Tigers have a turnover percentage of 20 in each of their last five games and are shooting under 60 percent from the line during that stretch.
Memphis’ defense has been strong again in 2021. The Tigers are top-10 in the country in defensive efficiency for the second straight year and have the length and athleticism to shut down any team in the country. Memphis is allowing below 30 percent from three-point range and crashes the boards at an elite level. While they are a top five team in the country with regards to blocking shots, the Tigers are 298th in opposing free throw rates and foul often.
The Tigers have been up-and-down again this season, particularly in conference play. Memphis has not been a good cover team all season long, and Wichita State has looked much more fluent of late on both ends. If Wichita State can keep Memphis off the glass, the Shockers should come away victorious.
- Wichita State are 6–0 ATS in their last 6 games.
- Memphis are 0–7 ATS in their last 7 games.
PICK: Wichita State +3