The Matchups: Memphis

The Matchups: Memphis

Before every game MusketeerReport breaks down the position by position matchups for X's opponent. This edition focuses on Tuesday night's game against Memphis.

Semaj Christon Fr (6-3, 187) vs Joe Jackson Jr (6-1, 182)

Christon had some issues against VCU's press, the biggest being that he had no help once Dee Davis left the game. Even still though, the defense did force him to speed up at times and play out of control, leading to him turning the ball over 10 times in that game. Now he had some nice finishes around the basket and he dished out seven assists as well, but with Davis possibly not playing in this one, Christon is going to have to do a better job of taking care of the ball. Jackson is a very efficient player for the Tigers, and a very talented one as well. He leads the team in scoring at just under 14 points per game, and he also dishes out 4.7 assists. He's excellent as a spot-up shooter and in transition. They'll also do a little ball-screen stuff with him, where he's decent. Jackson will play out of control at times and has a tendency to turn the ball over.

Slight Edge Memphis

Brad Redford Sr (6-1, 182) vs Geron Johnson Jr (6-3, 196)

One would have to assume Dee Davis will be out for this game, so we'll put Redford in the starting lineup. He is coming off a big shooting performance in the VCU game, where he went 5-for-8 from beyond the arc to finish with 15 points. He hit some big threes in that game to try to keep Xavier on pace after Davis left the game. It will certainly hurt not to have Davis out there again against another team who likes to force turnovers and play fast. The Musketeers need Redford to get hot and be aggressive like he was in the VCU game. Another 15-point performance would be huge. Johnson is the type of guard that can do a little bit of everything. He has a point guard's handle, he passes the ball well, he's athletic and good in transition, and also a decent spot-up shooter at 34 percent from 3-point range.

Slight Edge Memphis

Justin Martin So (6-6, 205) vs D.J. Stephens Sr (6-5, 200)

Martin has came out the last two games and started off hot, making a big impact early, and then he's faded both times in the second half. If Xavier is going to have any prayer in pulling off this upset, they're going to need a big game out of Martin. They need him to rebound, they need him to really defend for all 40 minutes, and most importantly they need him to score. He has been shooting the ball better lately, as he's five for his last nine from beyond the arc. Stephens scores a lot of his points off of cuts to the basket. He's good at reading the defense and finding the open spot when Joe Johnson or Geron Johnson are beating their men off the dribble. Stephens is also a good rebounder and a good defender, with a really high block percentage.

Slight Edge Memphis

Jeff Robinson Sr (6-10, 225) vs Adonis Thomas So (6-7, 240)

Robinson has been pretty non-existent the last three games on the offensive end. With the pace of this one, he'll likely play a lot of minutes again. He'll have opportunities to score at the rim on the back end of Memphis' defense. One nice thing about Robinson being in the lineup is he can guard guys that face-up at the forward position like Thomas. Thomas is a very talented kid and a he still has plenty of upside. He's a skilled forward that scores a lot of his points by spotting up and shooting, and even though he's only hitting at a 27.3 percent clip, he will jack open threes. Whenever he gets a screen, he's almost always shooting a jumper off the dribble. He's the second leading scorer on the team at 11.8 points per game, as he does a good job of finding extra points on the court, whether it be from a nice cut, a tough shot, hustle points off of defense or loose balls. He's just an average rebounder at best.

Moderate Edge Memphis

Travis Taylor Sr (6-8, 216) vs Shaquille Goodwin Fr (6-9, 246)

Last game against VCU snapped Taylor's five-game streak of scoring double figures, as he finished with just five points on 2-of-5 shooting. Teams that play fast make it tougher to get the ball inside, but Xavier is going to need to get Taylor more than five shots if they want a chance to win this. He's been extremely consistent on the glass, and though Memphis is a good rebounding team especially on the offensive end, I expect him to continue to control the boards. Goodwin is a big-bodied freshman with a lot of upside. He's active on the blocks, scoring a lot of his points off of cuts around the basket, post-ups or put-backs. He also runs the floor well to get some easy transition points. Philmore may have to come in and help provide some weight in the paint to throw around with Goodwin.

Slight Edge Xavier

Xavier Bench vs Memphis Bench

Memphis has a pair of "could-be starters" on the bench in 6-4 junior wing Chris Crawford and . Crawford has been heating up recently, scoring in double-figures in four of her last five games, including a 19-point outburst last game over the weekend against Southern Miss. Tarik Black is a 6-9 junior center who brings nine points and 4.9 boards per game to the table off of the bench. Antonio Barton is also a scoring guard that is sporadic, but sometimes wildly effective. With another man down, Xavier is down to really having almost no production off the bench. Philmore, as mentioned previously, could see sometime to combat the big bodied Goodwin and Black.

Moderate Edge Memphis

Overall

As big as we talked about the last game against VCU being, this game is nearly as big because of the name on the jersey, but it's almost meaningless in terms of importance. I wouldn't expect to see Dee for that reason, if nothing else. Memphis is a talented ballclub that has been playing great ball since the holidays. They also haven't played too much competition since the holidays. The Musketeers have to be patient and strong with the ball against Memphis' pressure, which will be easier said than done with Davis out. They take some chances going after steals, which leads to some easy looks for the other team if they don't get it, but it also leads to the nation's 17 highest steal percentage. The bottom line here is Xavier will need a few guys to step up with some big-time performances to pull this off.

Score Prediction: Memphis 70 Xavier 62

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