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December 27, 2013

Jackson State Preview

The No. 17 Memphis Tigers enjoyed a three-day break after defeating Southeast Missouri State last Saturday by the final score of 77-65. It was a struggle for the Tigers but they were able to get the victory behind sophomore forward Shaq Goodwin 20 points and eight rebounds performance. Senior guard Joe Jackson came through for Memphis as well with 16 points, five assists and four rebounds.

Due to Jackson's performance in the past week, Jackson was named to the AAC's weekly honor roll on Monday. Jackson averaged 16.5 points, five assists and three steals in the Tigers' two games last week. He currently leads Memphis in scoring (15.3 ppg) and assists (4 apg).

The Tigers resumed practice on Christmas night preparing for Jackson State (4-7). In the eyes of the people who will be either watching or attending this game will look for a blowout and a second consecutive win for Memphis. As a team, Memphis averages 83 points a game and only allows their opponents to score an average of 70.3 points a game.

Jackson State will look for the upset against Memphis trying to erase a two game losing streak on the road to Evansville (57-51) and at home to Louisiana-Lafayette (73-70). Jackson State has major issues on the offensive end of the basketball. As a team, they are shooting 40.9 percent from the field and 29.9 percent from long range. From the looks of it, they will have to rely on senior guard Julysses Nobles to carry them to victory. So far into the season, Nobles is averaging 16.8 points a game to go along with 4.5 rebounds and 3.6 assists a game. Nobles is not the only player on the team that's scoring in double figures.

Senior center Brandon West is second on the team in scoring (11.4 ppg) and newcomer Javeres Brent is third on the team in scoring (10.4 ppg).

With the scoring power Jackson State currently have with just three players, they are not averaging 70 points, more like 64.6 points a game. Jackson State allows their opponents to score an average of 69.6 points a game.

Jackson State possesses one center that can score and it may not be enough to beat Memphis who has three players who can turn up the heat in the paint. Goodwin is having his best season as a Memphis Tigers averaging 13.6 points and 6.5 rebounds a game. Freshman forward Austin Nichols has had his ups and downs this season but can find a way to be productive on the court. He's currently averaging 9.4 points and 4.7 rebounds a game. Senior transfer David Pellom can make a spark for the big men at anytime. For right now, Pastner will look to Goodwin and Nichols to get the job done in the paint.

Coach Pastner will also rely on his four senior guards to produce on the court. Jackson and Chris Crawford haven't disappointed as they have been the most consistent guards for Memphis on offense. Michael Dixon is currently averaging 10.4 points a game, but he has not been consistent like he was during his days at Missouri. Geron Johnson is arguably one of the best Tigers' best on-ball defenders as he averages 1.5 steals a game.

With the senior guards performing well along with the big men, Memphis shouldn't have a problem putting Jackson State in the ground in the first half and route to another victory before conference play kicks in next month.

This game is slated for Saturday at 11 a.m. CST at the FedEx Forum in Memphis, TN.

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