The Bracketology Report: Memphis

Updated: January 14, 2004, 4:04 PM ET
By By Tom Durso | Insider Bracketologist

Editor's note: Each week Bracketology Insider will take an in-depth look at teams headed for the NCAA Tournament ... or not.

Week in review
After a 9-2 swing through its nonconference schedule, Memphis (No. 45 RPI, No. 88 SOS) entered Conference USA play needing a couple of wins to prove that its success -- against the likes of Tennessee-Martin (No. 202 RPI, No. 34 SOS), Oakland (No. 204 RPI, No. 173 SOS) and Samford (No. 229 RPI, No. 129 SOS) -- was no mirage.

We're still waiting. The Tigers dropped their first two conference games, losing on the road to DePaul (No. 97 RPI, No. 61 SOS) and Southern Miss (No. 62 RPI, No. 20 SOS), both of which took advantage of poor Memphis shooting to put the Tigers in an early C-USA hole.

The loss to Southern Mississippi ended Memphis' five-game winning streak. The Tigers shaved a 16-point second-half deficit to just one with 8.7 seconds to go, but Southern Miss closed the deal at 66-63 with a couple of free throws and a turnover forced by some tough D. Likewise against the Blue Demons, the Tigers trailed nearly all night. Their late rally was nowhere near enough to overcome 34.8 percent shooting, and DePaul held on for an 82-73 win in Rosemont.

Coming up
The Tigers will host a solid Charlotte (No. 43 RPI, No. 102 SOS) squad at the Pyramid on Saturday. The 49ers have played well in some tough gyms on the road this year, while Memphis has unexpectedly had to scrape by some unimpressive competition in its own building. Expect Charlotte to bring the house, with the winner remaining a factor in the C-USA race.

The going gets a little easier with a trip to New Orleans to play Tulane (No. 149 RPI, No. 119 SOS) on Tuesday. The Green Wave, dealing with a rebuilding situation, haven't played with much consistency, losing five of their last six, giving Memphis a golden opportunity to pick up a much-needed road victory.

"Planting seeds"
The Tigers are No. 39 this week on The Bracketology Report national seeding chart. That makes Memphis a No. 10 seed, as well as the fifth Conference-USA team in the projected NCAA field.

Memphis won its "bubble" game, downing Villanova (No. 79 RPI, No. 103 SOS) in South Philadelphia back on Jan. 6, but losses to Southern Miss and DePaul have John Calipari's crew right back there in bubble trouble. The Tigers desperately need a win or two to remain in the bracket.

Games of the Week
Memphis fans should root FOR and AGAINST the teams in ALL CAPS.
For WAKE FOREST @ Duke (Sat.)
Iowa @ ILLINOIS (Sat.)
Against Southern Miss @ MARQUETTE (Fri.)
Marquette @ CHARLOTTE (Tues.)


Inside the Numbers
Additional considerations for the NCAA Selection Committee include:
"Good" wins
(vs. RPI 1-25) NONE
(vs. RPI 26-50) NONE
(vs. RPI 51-100) Belmont, Missouri, @Villanova
"Bad" losses
(vs. RPI 101-200) NONE
(vs. RPI sub-200) NONE
Record vs. projected field (1-2)
Win: Austin Peay
Loss: N-Wake Forest, @Illinois
Record vs. at-large pool (n/a)
Win: does not yet apply
Loss: does not yet apply
Reason(s) to SEED Memphis
  • No. 45 RPI
  • 3 wins vs. RPI Top 100
  • Reason(s) to DROP Memphis
  • No. 102 non-conference SOS
  • Shaky vs. good competition so far
  • Tough C-USA schedule coming up
  • Season breakdown (9-4, 0-2)
    All RPI data through Monday, Jan. 12

    Date     Opponent          Result     Opp.RPI   Opp.SOS
    11/13    N-Wake Forest     76-85 (L)    13        163
    11/22    Fordham           94-64        198       117
    11/29    Austin Peay       74-60        183       139

    12/3 Tenn. Martin 84-64 202 34 12/6 @Mississippi 73-62 100 106 12/13 @Illinois 64-74 (L) 46 99 12/17 Belmont 89-83 78 84 12/22 Samford 63-62 229 129 12/27 Missouri 61-59 72 28 12/29 Oakland 69-63 204 173

    1/6 @Villanova 73-57 79 103 1/10 @Southern Miss 63-66 (L) 62 20 1/13 @DePaul 72-83 (L) 97 61 1/17 Charlotte 43 102 1/20 @Tulane 149 119 1/24 Houston 114 75 1/27 South Florida 129 136 1/31 @TCU 159 74

    2/4 Louisville 2 10 2/7 St. Louis 103 149 2/11 @East Carolina 165 265 2/14 @Marquette 65 211 2/21 UAB 29 7 2/24 Southern Miss 62 20 2/28 @Louisville 2 10

    3/3 TCU 159 74 3/6 @Cincinnati 21 161 3/10-13 Conference USA Tournament


    Joe Lunardi's forecast (Jan. 12)
    Chance of NCAA top seed: 0 percent
    Chance of NCAA "protected" (1-4) seed: 0 percent
    Chance of NCAA bid: 45 percent
    Chance of NCAA at-large bid: 40 percent
    Chance of NIT bid: 45 percent
    Chance of missing post-season: 10 percent

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