Memphis vs. Houston Preview

Memphis is on a mission to get as many wins as they can get with the regular season winding down.

The No. 21/22 ranked Memphis Tigers have been in battles after another in their last two games, but with the regular season winding down, a win is all that matters.

On Thursday night, the Tigers (21-6, 10-4 AAC)  will face a familiar foe in the Houston Cougars (13-14, 5-9 AAC). The last time these two teams, Memphis routed to an 82-59 victory in front of the home crowd.

In the last meeting, sophomore forward Shaq Goodwin was all across the stats sheet finishing the game with 20 points, six rebounds, two blocks, and one assist. Two of the four senior guards for the Tigers scored in double figures: Joe Jackson (18) and Michael Dixon Jr. (13).

Memphis is the type of coach that doesn’t take any team for granted. The Tigers have struggled in their last two games against two teams (Rutgers and Temple) that are at the low half of the American Athletic Conference.

Memphis combined to win their last two games by a total of eight points.

“Everyone needs to get out of their head that we’re going to go smash teams by 30. This is not little league basketball; this is the American,” Pastner said. “This is a very good basketball league from top to bottom.”

Well, the Cougars are part of the lower half of the conference as they are currently sixth in the AAC. According to Pastner, a team’s record and RPI doesn’t define how good of a team they are.

“From 1 to 10, everyone has good players. Everyone is well-coached. The Temple team is better than their record. They are just an elite team.”

Going into the Houston game, the Tigers will have to find a way to slow down the explosiveness of 6-foot-8 junior forward TaShawn Thomas, who’s leading the Cougars in scoring (15.7 ppg). In the first meeting against the Tigers, Thomas had 14 points, seven rebounds, two assists, and two blocks.

Pastner was asked how will he try to defend Thomas. Pastner answered the question with a straight to the point answer with an smile on his face.

“Well if you were my assistant coach, then I would tell you. We just gotta guard him.

“They (Houston) are really good, especially at home. They are one of the fastest teams in the country. They got great players. They can shoot the ball. This is a very great basketball team that we’re facing on Thursday night.”

Houston currently has an 11-6 record on their home floor.

The game between Memphis and Houston is slated for Thursday at 8 p.m. CST at the Hofheinz Pavilion in Houston, TX. The game will be televised on CBSS.