After a disappointing road loss to East Carolina on Saturday, the Tigers (14-9, 5-5 American Athletic Conference) will try to get a win Tuesday night when they take on No. 22 Wichita State (17-5, 7-3 AAC). This matchup will be the first of a two home games for the Tigers.
A look at the opponent
Wichita State has had their fair share of struggles, losing three of their last five games. They have lost three conference games for the first time in five years, and there is still a little over a month of regular season basketball left to be played. This is the Shockers first year in the AAC. The Shockers have underperformed despite high preseason rankings, where they were projected to finish in the top two of the AAC. Their last three conference losses have been against Houston, SMU and Temple. All three opponents were unranked.
The Shockers have been efficient on the offensive end of the floor. They have the highest scoring offense in the AAC, averaging 83 points per game. Their field goal percentage of 47 percent is the highest in the conference. Cincinnati is the only AAC team with a higher scoring margin than the Shockers. They also shoot 38 percent from beyond the arc, placing them second in the conference behind SMU.
Areas of improvement
The key for the Tigers in this matchup will be their communication on defense, especially guarding the three-point line. The Shockers’ 38 percent three-point percentage could be difficult for the Tigers, as they are currently 11th in the conference in three-point defense.
Against ECU, the Tigers allowed 11 three-pointers, including six from shooting guard Shawn Williams. In overtime, the Tigers had their chances, as they took an early 80-78 lead on three free throws by Jeremiah Martin, but Williams drained back-to-back threes for an 84-80 lead with three minutes to go, and the Tigers never led again. Williams scored 10 of his game-high 30 points in the overtime period.
Players to watch
Wichita State guard Landry Shamet
Shamet has helped the Shockers’ offense this season. He leads the team in scoring with 14 points per game. His 5.3 assists per game lead both his team and the conference. He has lived up to his preseason expectations, as he was a preseason Fourth-Team All-American. Shamet also came into the season with a streak of 25 consecutive games with at least one made three-pointer.
Memphis forward Kyvon Davenport
Davenport has played two strong games and was named to the AAC weekly honor roll Monday. He was arguably the Tigers’ most consistent player this week, averaging 17 points and had double-doubles in back-to-back road games on the road. His shooting inside and relentless motor on the glass could help the Tigers pull an upset Tuesday night.
Forward Kyvon Davenport goes up for a dunk against Cincinnati. Davenport had two double doubles on the road last week.