Memphis (16-3) at East Carolina (12-7)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Wednesday, January 30, 7 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Minges Coliseum (8,000) -- Greenville, North Carolina. Television: None. Home Record: Memphis 12-1, ECU 10-2. Away Record: Memphis 3-0, ECU 2-5. Neutral Record: Memphis 1-2, ECU 0-0. Conference Record: Memphis 5-0, ECU 3-3. Series Record: Memphis leads, 13-1.
GAME NOTES: The Memphis Tigers will attempt to keep the ball rolling as they head into Minges Coliseum for Conference USA action against the East Carolina Pirates.
This will be the second meeting this season and 15th in history between the Tigers and Pirates. Memphis coasted to a 67-54 victory over ECU on Jan. 9 to extend its all-time series lead to 13-1.
The Tigers' win over ECU was part of their current 10-game winning streak that grew on Saturday with a hard-fought, 73-72 decision over Marshall at home. Josh Pastner's squad defeated Oral Roberts, Tennessee, Harvard, and Tulane by much more comfortable margins prior to clipping the Thundering Herd. Memphis has yet to lose in three true road tests and is also one of two undefeated teams left in the C-USA standings.
Memphis is outscoring its opposition by an average margin of 9.9 points per contest due to its strong core of talent. Joe Jackson is netting 13.9 points and 4.5 assists per outing for Memphis while Adonis Thomas (10.7 ppg), Tarik Black ( 9.7 ppg, 5.0 rpg), and Geron Johnson ( 9.6 ppg, 1.9 spg) also play vital roles. Freshman forward Shaq Goodwin also makes a big impact due to the tremendous inside presence he provides, which was very helpful against Marshall's big man duo of Nigel Spikes and Dennis Tinnon.
Memphis held a four-point advantage thanks to clutch free throw shooting before MU's DeAndre Kane connected on a 3-pointer at the buzzer to make it a one-point final margin. Jackson finished with 16 points and five assists to pace the squad, Thomas scored 15 points, and Shaq Goodwin added 11 points to keep the winning streak alive.
The Pirates were defeated, 68-67, by Texas-El Paso at home on Saturday, which dropped them to a 12-7 overall record, including their 3-3 mark in the league standings. The setback was the second in three games, as they previously lost by 21 points to Marshall and defeated UAB by six. Coach Jeff Lebo's squad has been a problem for the opposition on its way to a C-USA leading 77.6 ppg. Defensively, ECU has not been very impressive at all, allowing 70.7 ppg, which is ranks 10th in the 12-team C-USA.
In the loss to the Miners, Miguel Paul tallied 20 points and four steals, Ty Armstrong scored 13 points, and Maurice Kemp finished with 10 points, albeit on just 3-of-13 from the field. Despite the poor showing against UTEP, Kemp has made himself an early candidate for C-USA Player of the Year by producing 17.3 ppg to go along with a 7.8 rpg. Robert Sampson is an even more impressive rebounder with 9.2 per contest, while Paul is second in the conference with 6.0 assists a game.
Although ECU will be playing the second installment of this season series in its own backyard, it will still find it very difficult to tame the Tigers. Memphis has only lost to Virginia Commonwealth, Minnesota, and Louisville this season, all of which have appeared in the top 25. It appears that Southern Miss, which is also undefeated in league action, may be the only school capable of keeping up with the Tigers in the race for first place in C-USA.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Memphis 71, East Carolina 59
01/30 10:34:36 ET