For most of you,Thursday is probably just another Thursday. For the Memphis Tigers, it's a must-win game against the Wichita State Shockers. The conference standoff is a necessary resume builder for the Tigers. For the Shockers, it's a revenge game.
After suffering the second loss of the season to the Georgia Bulldogs, the no. 21 Tigers look to bounce back against a conference opponent, no. 23 Wichita State. No stranger to disrespect themselves, the Shockers are looking to avenge their 0-2 record against the Tigers last season. Not only are they hungry for a win, but they are a pretty impressive basketball team. The Shockers are 13-1 and 1-0 in conference play. They had an impressive close game against (now ranked) no. 17 WVU. They also obliterated the Ole Miss Rebels last, which the Tigers played down-to-the-wire back in November.
Following Saturday’s loss, Coach Hardaway stated, “That team is going to be waiting on us to get to Wichita with what happened last year.” The Tigers are in for a tough challenge, but they have to talent to handle business. The way the Memphis Tigers win is simple: clean up. Clean up and simply taking better care of the ball.
Thursday’s matchup is going to depend on defense. The shockers only allowed 54 points, had 38 rebounds and beat the Rebels by 20. If the Tigers can keep an eye on no. 10 Erik Stevenson, the chances for a win are good. The Shocker’s sophomore guard dropped 29 points against the Rebels, 15 of which were outside the three-point line.
Regardless of the adversity, the Tigers have faced this season with the NCAA, injuries, and the loss of its star player, they have proved that they are talented and ready for a solid tournament run. However, beating the Shockers is necessary to keep up the momentum. With Baugh now out with the flu and uncertain of DJ's return, it's going to be a tough battle. The Tigers look to continue the winning streak against the Shockers Thursday at 6:00 in Wichita.