College basketball rankings: Memphis remains unbeaten, but competition will get tougher next week


When a team spins the ball more than 26 times, misses 14 of the 16 3-pointers it tried and gets only five points from its best scorer, victory is not a likely outcome. So how does it speak of talent? Memphis is, and how suffocating the Tigers can be defensively, that they can do those three things on a Friday night and still beat Western Kentucky 74-62.

“Thank God for Jalen Duren,” Memphis coach Penny Hardaway said, “because he kept us in the game and won it for us.”

That’s its long and short.

Duren took 12 shots, made eight of them, and finished with a game-high 22 points, a game-high 19 rebounds and a five-block high in the 31-minute game against Western Kentucky. The five-star freshman is unbelievable and the main reason the Tigers improved to 4-0 with four double-digit wins before heading into Wednesday’s game with a Virginia Technology That team is also 4-0 with four double-digit wins.

Clearly Memphis has a chance to be great.

The talent and depth are overwhelming.

But here’s the truth: the revenue issue, which has been an issue throughout Hardaway’s tenure, must be improved or the Tigers are unlikely to go undefeated much longer. After hitting the ball 26 more times against Western Kentucky, Memphis’ pass success rate rose to 27.2%, ranking 345th in the nation. There is simply no way a team can regularly cross the ball anywhere nearby and achieve what the Tigers hope to achieve this season. So one way or another, Hardaway and his staff have to get there to a manageable number – preferably before Wednesday’s game against Virginia Tech, which could lead to another chance to continue against Xavier on Friday.

Memphis still holds the 5th spot in CBS Sports’ daily updated top 25 and 1 college basketball rankings. Virginia Tech ranked 23rd. Xavier ranked 26th. All three teams (plus State of Iowa) is competing in next week’s NIT Season-off at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn.

25 and 1 top chart College basketball rankings: Memphis remains unbeaten, but competition will get tougher next week


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