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Earlier this year, UT Martin’s football team knocked off the Tigers in Memphis in a storm delayed game.

Today, Memphis basketball looks for revenge.

Here’s today’s First Word:

UT Martin (2-4) at Memphis (3-2)
7:00 p.m. CST

Memphis and UT Martin have played five times since 2000. The Skyhawks have lost by at least 20 points in every meeting. So it makes sense that the Tigers are a 24.5 point favorite tonight against UTM squad still winless against Division I opponents.

We’ve seen flashes of good play from the Skyhawks this season, but it’s been very inconsistent, especially on the offensive side. Myles Taylor is clearly the number one option on offense, averaging 16 points a game on 50% shooting. From there, the inconsistency really starts to show. After a slow start to the season, Mike Liabo is coming off two good performances, Bobby Jones has shown he can shoot, but hasn’t broken double-digits in any of UT Martin’s four games against Division I teams.

Jeremy Washington has missed two straight games, and remains day-to-day with what’s being described as a “minor knee injury”

Memphis isn’t off to a hot start again this season, something that appears to be becoming the norm for Josh Pastner’s team. Memphis was held to 37% shooting in a win over Northern Iowa on Saturday, and are shooting 44% for the season. They have dangerous weapons in Joe Jacksonand Adonis Thomas, and Tarik Black, all of which are averaging 10+ points a game. The Tigers aren’t taking many three’s this season, meaning Memphis will challenge the smaller interior of UT Martin.

Southeast Missouri (4-4) at New Orleans (2-3)
7:00 p.m. CST

This is kind of an intriguing road game for the Redhawks. New Orleans isn’t that great: They turn the ball over, stuggle to shoot the three, and are undersized compared to Southeast Missouri. But it’s on the road, New Orleans is 6th in the nation in forcing turnovers, they like to push tempo, and SEMO hasn’t taken advantage of any turnover-friendly team this season. This is still a game SEMO should win, but I’m curious to see how easily they do so.

New Orleans defense on the interior has been a weak point all season, something Tyler Stone and Nino Johnson should be able to take advantage of. They’re better on the perimeter, and could provide more of a challenge to the Redhawks guards.

The Privateers are led by Lovell Cook, the team’s only player averaging double-digit scoring. And defending the perimeter is mostly a non-issue. New Orleans is shooting 24% behind the arc, but they don’t take that many shots to begin win. Especially unimpressive, Corey Blake is 0-13 from behind the arc this season. Ouch.


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OVC Ball
Predicting the OVC race…in mid-December

2016-17 Basketball Standings

OVCOverall

EAST

Belmont8-014-4
Morehead State6-310-12
Tennessee Tech5-39-14
Jacksonville State5-413-11
Tennessee State4-413-8
Eastern Kentucky2-69-14

WEST

UT Martin5-315-8
Murray State5-311-11
SEMO5-310-13
Austin Peay3-57-15
Eastern Illinois1-79-12
SIUE0-85-17
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