BANKER (Murray State vs. Memphis)
Murray state is off to a solid start this year with a 7-1 record, and they have always been known as a very solid mid major program out of the Ohio Valley Conference. Their one loss this season camas against a hardnosed ETSU squad who really locked them up on the defensive end and only allowed Murray state to score 58 points.
Since then, Murray states offense has been clicking as they’ve racked up 80, 74, 98, and 93 points in the 4 games since that loss. All resulted in wins. Murray state faces Memphis who had a lot of hype coming into the season but hasn’t come close to living up to that hype as they enter this game with a 5-3 record and are coming off 3 consecutive losses, all as favorites.
Murray states defense will be key in this game as they are just outside of the top 100 in adjusted defensive efficiency and they are 25th in the nation in turnover percentage on defense. This has been Memphis’ Achilles heel this season as they are one of the worst teams in the country in taking care of the ball on offense. They are 351 out of 358 D1 teams in turnover percentage on offense and they are averaging a total of 19.1 turnovers which is actually dead last in the nation.
Memphis is extremely talented, but they haven’t gelled as a team yet and are not playing efficient basketball on the offensive end at the moment. I believe Murray state will take advantage of their carelessness in this contest and turn those turnovers into more layups and easy buckets. Murray state has proved in the last few years that they are a program who can hang with the big boys and given how Memphis has been playing lately, I simply think 11 points is too much. Score prediction: Memphis 71-66.
Loyola Chicago is a team that is in everyone’s radar now after their recent tournament success in the last few years and they have kept that success going into this year even with a new coach. Loyola is off to an 8-2 start with their only losses coming to auburn and a buzzer beater loss to Michigan state. Loyola is a team that’s going to play suffocating defense year in and year out. This year they are 52nd in the nation in adjusted offensive efficiency, 59th in turnover percentage, and 60th in 2-point percentage defense.
Vanderbilt is a team who has struggled in the SEC over the last few years but has a better squad this year. They are off to a 6-3 start but really haven’t been tested so far and are coming off 2 consecutive losses to SMU by 12 and Temple by 4 in a game where they were 9-point favorites. Bottom line for me here is that I think overall Loyola Chicago is the more talented and fundamental team who has played a tougher schedule to this point as well. I think they are more prepared and will limit Vanderbilt on the offensive end who is a team that already struggles to score. Score prediction: Loyola 74-66.
Louisville is a team who has looked very impressive so far. Louisville has been getting it done on the defensive side of the ball as they are 19th in adjusted defensive efficiency, 22nd in 2-point percentage defense, and 39th in Uber all defensive effective FG% defense. This continuity on the defensive end has led Louisville to a 6-2 record with losses to Michigan state and an overtime loss to Furman. They face DePaul in an interesting ACC/Big East matchup and DePaul has somewhat been the laughingstock of the big east for the last few years but appear to be much better this year. They are off to a 7-1 start with their one loss coming to Loyola Chicago. DePaul is the same as Vanderbilt though in the fact they haven’t really been tested so far with a weak non-conference schedule. I expect Louisville to control and win this game with their defense. Score prediction: Louisville 75-63.