Memphis basketball has had a up and also a down season so far in 2019-2020. Despite their 14-5 record, this highly anticipated team is only 3-3 in conference play so far. Tigers have lost two straight and have so many questions that need quick answers before the conference tournament approaches. Below are three things that have doomed Memphis so far this season.
#1 The Turnover Bug
This season has been a festive of turnovers for this young Memphis team. As of the last game against SMU, the Tigers are committing 17 turnovers per game. That is a pretty high number even though some may say that it is what they expect from such a young inexperienced team.
The careless passes and the miscommunication plays need to become more nonexistent if Memphis wants to make a run here in the back half of the season.
Last game against SMU is a great start. They only committed 11 turnovers, but more of them were in the crucial part of the game. Crisp passes and smarter, quicker decisions on where the ball should be is the right step into cutting down the turnovers.
#2 Road Woes in Conference
Conference games are indeed the best thing about college basketball. What makes it even better is if the team on the road can defeat a conference foe in their arena.
Memphis is currently 1-2 in AAC road games at this point.
The lone win from this category was only a four-point margin at South Florida. The two losses from this category are from Wichita State and Tulsa. The Tulsa game was just a complete breakdown while the game against the Shockers was just a nine-point defeat.
Winning on the road is hard for any team in the country, but to come out flat footed like they did in Tulsa was a complete shock to many fans here in the 901. Memphis needs better starts against opponents on the road in order to become true road warriors. They have the talent, but can they come together as a team is still the unknown piece to the puzzle.
#3 Late Second Half Scoring
Everyone wants to be a hero and win the game for their team. But when no one steps up to the plate, who do you go too?
Head Coach Penny Hardaway all season has stressed about assists and feeding your teammates, but over passing late can lead to figuring out the play late in the clock and possibly turning the ball over.
In Monday’s media press conference, Penny Hardaway answered questions about this topic, and he said, “Get Precious the ball” and it is the best thing they need right now.
Precious Achiuwa has been the “go-to” guy on this team since James Wiseman has left to go pro. Memphis needs to adapt that Achiuwa has the ball in his hands when the game is on the line.
DJ Jeffries is another player who can get buckets for this team. They can use him and Achiuwa in a pick-and-roll situation which might be showing their hand, but it could work to perfection.
This Memphis Tigers team is not out of the race just yet. Many experts still have them squeaking by and making the tournament, but they need a February run to get back into the top 25 and a better postseason outlook.
Again, they have the talent. They have the coaching. Do they have the determination and fight in them to right the ship and get back on course with their goals? We will see.
Memphis next opponents are UCF (away), UConn and Temple (both at home).