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Preview: Memphis vs. FAU

The Memphis Tigers will play at home against another conference newcomer, the Florida Atlantic Owls.  

Florida Atlantic has quickly rose to the top of the conference in their first season. 

Last year Florida Atlantic made it all the way to the Final Four, beating Memphis in the process. They have brought almost all of their roster back from that season and continue that success.  

This season Florida Atlantic (21-6, 11-3) is third in the conference and is an NCAA tournament lock barring a late season collapse. Their biggest win was a double overtime victory over Arizona. They also have wins over Texas A&M and Virginia Tech.  

Florida Atlantic is 3-2 in their last 5 games with losses to South Florida and UAB. Compared to last year they have underperformed in conference play but that hasn’t hurt their NCAA tournament chances yet. They are led by Johnell Davis and Alijah Martin, who average 18.3 points and 13.7 points, respectively. They are also led by 7’1 center Vladislav Goldin who averages 14.7 points and 6.4 rebounds.  

Florida Atlantic was previously ranked in the top 25 before dropping 2 out of their last 5. They are currently 33rd in the NET rankings. This is possibly the biggest game of the year for Memphis because of this and the history of last year. In the round of 64, Florida Atlantic beat Memphis in a controversial ending with the refs not giving Memphis a timeout they were trying to call for. This led to a jump ball and a game winning shot from Florida Atlantic.  

Memphis is coming off one of their most impressive wins of the season, blowing out Charlotte 76-52.  

Memphis dropped two games in Texas before this, losing their NCAA tournament at-large bid hopes. They hope to gain momentum heading into the conference tournament. 

The Tigers have had questions about effort the past few games but in the last game they came to play. The offense was decent like it usually is, but the defense was incredible. They held Charlotte to 52 points and guarded the three well, holding them to 28.6% from three.  

First reported Friday by Bluff City Media and then confirmed by the university, Malcolm Dandridge will not suit up for the Tigers due to academic eligibility concerns. 

Florida Atlantic is a great team all-around, with a great offense and good defense. They like to shoot a lot of threes and make a lot as well. Memphis will have to get out to shooters and play good defense if they want to have a chance. Florida Atlantic recently lost to UAB and South Florida so Memphis should have additional confidence that they can beat them.  

Memphis looks to keep gaining momentum in a huge game in front of what should be a great crowd. The game is at 1 P.M. CT on ESPN.  

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