On this Thanksgiving night (11pm CT), the Baylor Bears are squaring off against the Memphis Tigers in the Las Vegas Invitational. I can think of at least three good reasons to stay up and watch this game: 1.) it will provide you with a perfect opportunity to raid the fridge for a late night leftovers snack; 2.) if you intend to be part of the Black Friday mob, you're probably not going to be sleeping much anyway; and 3.) you love Baylor. Oh, reason number four: Baylor looks to have a pretty good chance to win! Let's see why.
A brief bio on the Tigers: an 8th seed in last season's Tourney, they advanced to the round of 32, where they fell to #1 UVA, the surprise ACC regular season champion, who recently scored a lot of points. Memphis returns only four players from last year's squad, making them one of the least experienced teams in the country.They are lead by 6-7 SO Nick King, 6-6 JR Trahson Burrell, and 6-8 SO Austin Nichols. Avery Woodson, a 6-2 SO, is the team's leading three point shooter despite only attempting ten threes on the season, making four of them. Memphis has only played two games so far, losing the Wichita State 56-71 and defeating Prairie View A&M 77-49 (Baylor beat Prairie View 60-45).
|Trahson Burrell||JR||F||6-6||10.0 Pts, 6.5 Reb, 1.0 Ast|
|Markel Crawford||FR||G||6-4||6.0 Pts, 2.0 Reb, 1.0 Ast|
|Calvin Godfrey||SR||F||6-8||3.5 Pts, 4.5 Reb, 0.5 Ast|
|Shaq Goodwin||JR||F||6-9||10.0 Pts, 6.0 Reb, 1.0 Ast|
|Chris Hawkins||JR||F||6-6||3.5 Pts, 2.5 Reb, 0.5 Ast|
|Kedren Johnson||JR||G||6-4||3.0 Pts, 1.0 Reb, 0.5 Ast|
|Nick King||SO||F-G||6-7||11.0 Pts, 7.5 Reb, 1.0 Ast|
|Jake McDowell||SO||G-F||6-5||0.0 Pts, 0.0 Reb, 1.0 Ast|
|Austin Nichols||SO||F||6-8||8.5 Pts, 2.5 Reb, 0.0 Ast|
|RaShawn Powell||SO||G||6-1||2.0 Pts, 2.0 Reb, 2.0 Ast|
|Avery Woodson||SO||G||6-2||9.0 Pts, 0.5 Reb, 1.5 Ast|
You seeing what I'm seeing? We have another #WeirdBasketball roster on our hands! Neither team has a height advantage on the other, except at the guard position, where Memphis has a couple of inches on Baylor. The zone will neutralize that problem on the defensive end, but Chery and Medford could have some trouble getting has the longer arms of the Tigers defenders. Even after they scoot past the perimeter, Memphis boasts the third highest block rate in the country, despite maxing out at 6-9. Austin Nichols, 6-8, leads the team in blocks at 4.5 per game. Six of those came against Wichita State, likely to be one of the best teams in the country again this year. You don't have to have a 7-footer to have a block party.
Be sure to tune into Fox Sports 1 at 11PM to support your Baylor Bears!