Memphis vs. Murray State Prediction: Can the Tigers Get on Track?

College basketball expert Mike Spector gives his prediction for the highly anticipated Memphis Tigers vs. Murray State Racers matchup Friday night.
Mike Spector |
Fri, December 10, 7:32 AM EST | 4 min read
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Memphis vs. Murray State Prediction: Can the Tigers Get on Track?

The Memphis Tigers have gone from a top ten team to one sputtering in the blink of an eye. Will Penny Hardaway's squad put an end to their three-game losing streak tonight, or will the Murray State Racers continue to send Memphis spiraling?

Memphis vs. Murray State Start Time, Where to Watch, and Odds

Date: Saturday, December 10, 2021Game Time: 8:00 p.m. ETWhere To Watch: ESPN+

Click Here For Memphis vs. Murray State Odds

Memphis vs. Murray State Prediction

Murray State enters this game at 7-1, with their lone loss coming against East Tennessee State in a three-day event at the Naples Invitational. East Tennessee St. was one of two teams to hold the Racers to fewer than 77 points this season, as Murray State ranks tied for 19th in the country in scoring at 83.9 PPG. Their 51.3% overall shooting percentage is seventh-best in the country, though their Achilles heel, especially in close games, is their team-wide shooting percentage of 64.6%. What few shots Murray State misses, they do a great job of securing on the offensive glass, as their 36.7% offensive rebounding rate is 18th-best in the country.

Memphis head coach Penny Hardaway made some eye-popping comments about his team's lack of chemistry earlier this week. Hardaway said, "We've got so much negativity in our locker room with veterans being jealous. Everybody's trying to get to the NBA off the ranking we had, but nobody is willing to sacrifice minutes, touches, anything. It's been miserable." He added, "The main reason we have these losses is the veterans don't want to take the young guys under their wings. They want it to be about them. So when adversity hits, they run. I guarantee you we'll start winning because you're going to see guys out there who care and will carry out the game plan."

Hardaway refers to a current three-game losing streak against Iowa State, Georgia, and Mississippi that followed a five-game winning streak to start the season. Early in the season, Memphis overcame their offensive mistakes (25.5% TO rate) due to an abundance of talent and athleticism on the defensive end. However, their usually relentless pressure defense did not show up in Athens against a Georgia team playing without their starting point guard.

Thus, the big question surrounding this game is, did Hardaway push the right buttons in practice this week, and did his comments motivate his players? Or are the same lack of chemistry issues going to manifest themselves in their first home game since November 19th? While the Tigers are 4-0 at home this season, the fact that they have allowed 75.7 PPG over their last three games is concerning.

Murray State is a difficult team to defend, as they have four players averaging in double figures. However, the Racers do not shoot the three as well as one would expect from a high-scoring team, as they are converting at just a 32.5% clip from beyond the arc (ranks 201st). Thus, trying to make their living at the rim against a Tigers frontcourt that spans 6'9", 6'9", and 6'11" is not the most intelligent game plan, and the Racers will have to knock down some perimeter shots tonight.

Based on Hardaway's comments, our best guess is that we will see a more spirited effort on defense, even if it means sacrificing some talent and skill on the offensive end with more limited minutes from his NBA-bound players.

The under is 6-2 in Murray State's last eight games and is 4-1 in Memphis' last five. So expect another low-scoring battle tonight.

Memphis vs. Murray State Pick

Mike Spector
@MikeSpector01

Mike Spector brings unmatched knowledge and insight into the game of football, and more importantly the process of betting on NFL football. Mike is the #2 ranked expert in FantasyPros' NFL betting contest

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