Conference USA Tournament 2013: Weaknesses Teams Must Exploit to Beat Memphis
While No. 25 Memphis is undoubtedly the favorite to win the C-USA tournament this year, the Tigers certainly aren't invincible.
In fact, Memphis lost to 17-13 Xavier on Feb. 26 and was almost upset by 17-13 UTEP on March 5.
At first glance, the Tigers (27-4, 16-0 C-USA) seem to have everything. They can score, they have solid overall rebounding numbers and they hold opponents to a low shooting percentage.
But a deeper look into Memphis uncovers some glaring weaknesses that could doom the team moving forward if an opponent executes the right game plan.
Here's a look at the weaknesses opponents must exploit to upset No. 1 seed Memphis in the 2013 C-USA tournament. A complete look at the bracket can be found at CSTV.com.
*All stats via TeamRankings.com
Opponents' Offensive Rebounding
The interesting thing about Memphis? The Tigers rank a respectable 54th in the country in total rebounding rate, but rank 77th in opponents' offensive rebounding rate (148th in opponents' offensive rebounds per game).
For example, in the Tigers' 64-62 loss to Xavier on Feb. 26, they held the Musketeers to 38 percent shooting, but also gave up 16 offensive rebounds.
In the 87-78 loss to Louisville in December, Memphis shot 52 percent against Rick Pitino's defensive-minded squad—while holding the Cardinals to 42 percent shooting—but allowed 10 offensive rebounds.
Memphis may rank 20th in the nation in field-goal percentage and 27th in points per game, but the Tigers turn the ball over on 20.8 percent of their possessions (248th in the nation).
They committed 24 turnovers against Louisville, 12 turnovers against Xavier and 16 turnovers in the narrow 56-54 victory over UTEP on March 5.
A team with active hands and solid defense has a shot against Memphis in the C-USA tournament.
What should Memphis be worried about the most?
Memphis has a bad habit of sending opponents to the free-throw line. In the losses to Louisville and Xavier, the Cardinals and Musketeers were able to get to the line an alarming amount of times.
Louisville, for example, attempted 46 free throws in the December matchup (making 38). Xavier attempted 27 free throws. UTEP managed 19 free-throw attempts.
For the season, Memphis is ranked 192nd in free-throw attempts allowed per game and 133rd in free throws allowed per offensive play. Opponents have scored 20.8 percent of their points from free throws (195th in the country).
So, in essence, crash the offensive glass, pressure Memphis into turnovers and attack the rim and you have a good shot of upsetting the No. 1 seed in the C-USA tournament.
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