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What to watch for: USF vs. No. 21 Memphis

USF starts a three-game stretch, that won’t see them leave Florida, with a Sunday tilt against No. 21 ranked Memphis. Following the matchup with Memphis USF will play at UCF next Saturday and then host Wichita State on Jan. 21.

Memphis comes to Tampa following a 76-67 loss at Wichita State despite out rebounding the Shockers and holding them to 33 percent shooting.

The Bulls look to rebound from a 62-59 loss at East Carolina.

Memphis Tigers forward Precious Achiuwa drives to the basket around Wichita State Shockers guard Dexter Dennis at Charles Koch Arena.
Memphis Tigers forward Precious Achiuwa drives to the basket around Wichita State Shockers guard Dexter Dennis at Charles Koch Arena. (Photo by: William Purnell-USA TODAY Sports)

RunningTheBulls.com has your quick facts and what to watch for against Memphis:

Quick Facts

Matchup: USF (8-8, 1-2 AAC) vs. Memphis (12-3, 1-1 AAC)

Date: Sunday Jan. 12

Time: 4 p.m.

Location: Tampa, Fla. | Yuengling Center

Watch: ESPN2

Radio: USF Bulls Unlimited

History: This will be the 33rd meeting between Memphis and USF. The Bulls have a 6-26 record in the series. USF won last season’s only meeting between the two, 84-78, in the Yuengling Center.

The Opponent: Memphis only has three returnees who saw playing time last season. According to KenPom.com, Memphis is the youngest team in NCAA Division I basketball.

Memphis is averaging nearly 80 points a game – they play at the tenth highest tempo in the nation at 75.5 possessions per game and at the other end of the court the Tigers are equally impressive. Memphis ranks in the top-five nationally in field goal percentage defense (2nd), blocks per game (4th) and are in the top-25 in steals per game (22nd). The Tigers are outscoring opponents by an average of 17.0 points and out-rebounding them by 7.1 boards-per-game.

Although Damion Baugh has started every game at point guard, we feel that Alex Lomax is the lead guard that really makes Memphis go. The sophomore is a physical guard who likes to get into the paint and get to the free throw line where he makes 76 percent of his attempts. Lomax is also shooting 53.6 percent on his two-point shot attempts.

Tyler Harris is very quick and fast, especially in open court, and a very good perimeter shooter. The 5-foot-9 shooting guard comes off the bus ready to shoot but he struggles to score in traffic.

Despite not appearing on The American preseason first or second team Precious Achiuwa (UH-chew-UH) is averaging 15.1 points, 10.3 rebounds and 1.8 blocks per game. He can defend 1-5, is quick off his feet – his second jump is every bit as good as his first – allowing him to be a plus rebounder and good shot blocker. A natural power forward who is playing the post, since James Wiseman left Memphis, Achiuwa is a legit top-10 NBA Draft pick.

Lester Quinones (kin-YO-ness) is a streaky spot up shooter. He wants to catch-and-shoot and is not as effective putting the ball on the floor.

A 6-foot-7 225-pounder that can slide between either forward position, D.J. Jeffries is a versatile player who can grab a rebound, start the break and make the right pass or take it coast-to-coast to score himself. He is a three-level scorer who is making almost 60 percent of his two-point attempts and 41 percent of his three-point attempts. He likes to drive left.

The Memphis defense tries to speed you up, hopefully into a turnover, they switch on screens, front the post and bring weak-side help when the ball goes into the post. They play mostly man and are good at it limiting foes to .889 points per possession.

Prediction

USF 69 Memphis 64

To win this game USF needs to have great transition defense, win the war on the glass, ball security (Memphis averages 8.9 steals per game) and make shots.