MEMPHIS TIGERS (9-3)
at TENNESSEE VOLUNTEERS (8-3)
Thompson-Boling Arena – Knoxville, TN
Tip-off: Friday, 8:00 p.m. ET
Line: Tennessee -2, Total: 126
Memphis and Tennessee will tip-off Friday night in a game between two state rivals.
Tennessee’s defense has been stifling this year, keeping opponents to 56.4 PPG on 38.5% FG shooting. Although the Volunteers offense leaves a lot to be desired—averaging just 63.1 PPG on 42.2% shooting—they have a marquee win this season against then-No. 23 Wichita State. Memphis entered this season as a ranked squad but lost back-to-back games in the Battle 4 Atlantis tournament to VCU and Minnesota, and has since fallen to Louisville. Who will win this in-state rivalry on Friday night? For the answer, connect to College Basketball Best Bets for all the Expert picks throughout the entire 2012-13 season. The StatFox experts have started off 2013 with a bang, going 16-8 ATS (67%) in the first three days of the new year. StatFox Brian is 3-0 ATS in this span, while StatFox Scott is 5-1 ATS. The experts now have a collective 54.4% ATS mark (186-156-7) in college basketball Best Bets for the season, led by StatFox Gary, who sits at 61.1% ATS (44-28) for the season, while Dave is at 55% ATS (66-55-2) on the year with Scott at 51.4% ATS and StatFox Brian at 51% ATS.
Junior PG Joe Jackson has led the Memphis offense this season in both scoring (13.2 PPG) and passing (4.4 APG) and has shot the ball excellently, making 50.0% of his 3-pointers to begin the 2012-13 campaign. Forward Tarik Black (10.9 PPG, 5.0 RPG) is a strong scoring threat on the block and can move bodies at around 260 pounds, but he doubtful for this game due to a groin injury. That will put more responsibility on 6-foot-9 freshman Shaq Goodwin (8.9 PPG, 5.8 RPG) in the post, but swingman D.J. Stephens (6.0 PPG) paces the team in rebounding (6.1 RPG) and blocks (1.4 BPG). Geron Johnson (10.6 PPG) and Adonis Thomas (10.1 PPG) are also decent scorers on this team that regularly mixes around eight players.
Trae Golden (12.5 PPG, 4.5 APG) leads the Volunteers offense, though his scoring output is down more than a point from last season, in large part due to his 25.8% 3-point rate this season. He's been slowed by a shoulder injury, but will be able to start on Friday night. Jarnell Stokes (11.4 PPG, 7.4 RPG) paces the team beneath the hoop and has the size to handle those big Memphis bodies, weighing in at 270 pounds. Jordan McRae (10.3 PPG) is the team’s last double-digit scorer, with an extremely lean frame at 180 pounds, despite standing at 6-foot-5. The Volunteers are 15-4 ATS at home in the past two seasons, but beating Memphis will be a tough task.