NCAA Basketball Game Preview: Alabama at Memphis

Dec 14, 2021

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Game: Alabama Crimson Tide @ Memphis Tigers  

Time: 9:00 p.m. ET 

Odds: Crimson Tide -4.5, Tigers +4.5 

Total: 154.5 

The sixth-ranked Alabama Crimson Tide heads to Memphis to take on a Tigers team that long ago dropped out of the Top 25. The Tide has been on fire in the early part of this season. Head coach Nate Oats’ team enters tonight’s matchup coming off consecutive wins over Gonzaga and Houston. Alabama beat the Bulldogs on Dec. 4 when they were ranked No. 3 in the nation. The Tide beat Houston 83-82 on Saturday. The Cougars are the 14th-ranked program in the country right now. 

Jaden Shackleford has been outstanding for Alabama so far this season. The junior guard averages 19.1 points and 6.9 rebounds per game. The Tide are 8-1 with the only loss coming to a Rick Pitino-coached Iona in the ESPN Events Invitational. Alabama has played some quality competition thus far which makes their 6-3 ATS record that much more impressive. 

Memphis has been a disappointment. The expectations were pretty high for head coach Penny Hardaway who brought in one of the nation’s top recruits in Emoni Bates. The Tigers got off to a great start going 5-0 though most of the competition was mid-major programs. They did beat Virginia Tech 69-61 for their fifth victory. 

Then, the wheels fell off the bus. Memphis was ranked as high as No. 9 in the country and promptly lost four straight to Iowa State, Georgia, Ole Miss, and last Friday to Murray State. Minus Iowa State, these are not exactly top tier programs and now at 5-4 Hardaway and the Tigers are in desperate need of a win. Upsetting the No. 6 team in the country could be just what the doctor ordered. 

One thing going in Memphis’s favor is playing at home. The Tigers have lost just once at home in their last 12 games at the FedEx Forum. Memphis has been able to keep games close. Take out the 19-point loss to Iowa State (No. 11 in the nation) and you see the Tigers last three losses are by a combined nine points.  

Tonight represents the first time all season that Memphis will play as an underdog. As a result of playing as a favorite, the Tigers are just 1-5 ATS in their last six games. Memphis was a 10-point favorite over Murray State and an 11.5-point chalk against Georgia.  

While Alabama is 6-3 ATS this season, they are only 1-5 ATS in their last six games on the road. What stands out about the Tide is the offense. They rank No. 7 in the country in scoring averaging 86 points per game. The Tide play fast ranking in the top 20 in adjusted tempo. Memphis likes to do the same and actually ranks a few spots higher than the Tide in adjusted tempo. The Over is 5-3-1 in Alabama’s games this season. The Under is 4-2 in Memphis’ last six games and the Under is 6-1 the last seven times the Tigers played as an underdog.