With the college basketball game of the year approaching, it is time to breakdown the matchups on and off the court.
Guards: Advantage Memphis
The guard play features strength versus strength in Chris Douglas-Roberts, Derrick Rose and Willie Kemp of Memphis against Chris Lofton, Jajuan Smith, and Ramar Smith of Tennessee.
Douglas-Roberts and Rose are the top two of the bunch, which is where the advantage comes from. However, the long ball makes up for a lot of the talent differential.
Jajuan and Lofton are rarely hot on the same night. Normally, as long as one of them is, it is enough, but they will both have to be to beat Memphis. It will be hard for them to slow down the dynamic Memphis guards, too.
Post: Advantage Even
Joey Dorsey and Robert Dozier might have a rebounding advantage over Tennessee's post, but the Vols can get more points from their inside men, even though those points will be scored on the perimeter. That will also bring the Memphis big men outside.
Tyler Smith, Wayne Chism and company will continue to rotate in and out, keeping them all fresh. The key will be for them to keep Dorsey off the offensive boards.
Shooting: Advantage Tennessee
This is where the Vols can make hay. As mentioned before, Lofton and the Smiths have to be on for the win. Meanwhile, the Tigers are known for their struggles beyond the arc. It won't be as necessary for them though if they can get to the paint. Neither team can shoot free throws very well, but the Vols are better, thanks to Lofton and Jajuan.
Defense: Advantage Even
The Vols have the full-court pressure defense that can change the game fast. However, they foul quite a bit and struggle with interior defense. Memphis has a solid, underrated half-court defense.
Coaching: Advantage Even
John Calipari might be the bigger name for Memphis, but Bruce Pearl is one of the best coaches out there as well. The chess match should be great, and the fact that the coaches aren't the best of friends makes it even more interesting.
Intangibles: Advantage Memphis
The home court wins out here, which comes along with getting the calls. The Tigers seem to get most of them and when they don't, Calipari will let the refs know. That and the noise will be a big factor in the game and you can expect several Vols to be in foul trouble.
The harder schedule will give the Vols a big advantage as they have already played at Kentucky and Xavier, and against Gonzaga in Seattle.
Bench: Advantage Vols
The Vols can come at you in waves and they will with J.P. Prince, Jordan Howell, Duke Crews, and Brian Williams.
Outcome: 81-75 Memphis
This should be a game of runs, but Memphis will make just enough of its plenty of free-throw opportunities to hold off a late charge.