Prediction, Preview, and Odds
#755 Illinois - Chicago vs.
#756 Memphis
Friday, November 8, 2019 at 7:00pm EST
Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium, Memphis
Written by Joshua Broom

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#755 University of Illinois at Chicago
#756 University of Memphis
1-0
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13-17
19-17
14-16
17-19
74
80
74
74

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An NIT program one season ago, now sporting the nation’s finest recruits, nationally ranked Memphis welcomes Illinois-Chicago Friday night.

Revolution abounds in Memphis where favorite son Penny Hardaway has lifted his Tigers back into national prominence. Hardaway begins his second year as the Tigers’ sideline leader. Last season Memphis won 21 games and finished 11-7 in conference play. More importantly, the Tigers group fostered a culture which attracted two five-star recruits and a secondary wave of incoming talent. Leading 2019 signee James Wiseman has stoked unlimited upward possibilities among Tigers nation.

Reloaded, No. 14 Memphis enjoys its first national ranking since 2014.

Meanwhile, a legitimate Horizon League championship threat, Illinois-Chicago returns key senior leadership. Top among those returnees is Tarkus Ferguson. Ferguson is rated by many outlets as the Horizon League’s top preseason player. UIC finished 16-16 last season, with a credible 10-8 conference mark.

Memphis opens as a -16.5 favorite according to pregame.com.

UIC ready for big moment

Overmatched in talent, Illinois-Chicago’s seniors will collect an exciting atmosphere when battling Memphis. Ferguson (15.5 ppg last season), Godwin Boahen and Marcus Ottey each have the wares and firepower to press the Tigers’ perimeter. However, their best efforts can’t overcome what Hardaway and company offer.

Nonetheless, Friday’s meeting will strengthen a UIC program which used Boahen’s 22 points, and game-winning trey to edge Olivet Nazarene college Tues. Ferguson and Ottey didn’t appear during the Flames’ 75-72 season-opening win. It remains to be seen if either compete Fri.

Last season, UIC averaged 74.7 ppg and allowed 74.5 points against. Look for Memphis’ interior presence to tax Illinois-Chicago’s defense

A palpable buzz felt around Memphis

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Already atop NBA big boards as 2020’s #1 choice, Wiseman began his college career with flash Tues. night. The 7-1 phenom dropped 28 points in 22 minutes, shooting 7 of 11, as fellow touted recruit Precious Achiuwa added 14 points in 17 minutes as Memphis routed South Carolina State 97-64.

With each basket by their new frontline, a SRO FedEx Forum roared its approval to emphasize the Tigers’ rebirth. Now, Memphis is set for another glorified big tent revival exhibition vs. Chicago-Illinois.

Sporting an entirely different feel after losing four-fifths of last season’s starters, the national spotlight will reflect the Tigers’ every 19-20’ move. Though, Wiseman and Achiuwa appear unfazed.

Stylistically, it’s worth noting Hardaway pushes tempo; Memphis averaged 80.1 ppg last year, #29 NCAA. This Tigers’ defense will no doubt produce better numbers than 18-19’s #256 74.4 ppg. Expect another high-end offensive display tonight.

Best Bets for this Game

Full-Game Side Bet

Insiders Status:

Rating:

Behind the nation’s top recruit, and likely upcoming top overall NBA Draft choice, Memphis should easily cover their 16.5 point spread. Wiseman and Achiuwa will control all aspects during tonight’s contest while their supporting cast excels vs. mid-major opposition.

Prediction: Memphis covers

Full-Game Total Pick

Insiders Status:

Rating:

At 157.5 I’ll take the over as each squad pushes tempo. Also, with one game under their belts, Memphis and Illinois-Chicago shouldn’t experience as many early-season miscues. And with his college debut aside, Wiseman will shine even brighter before his new arena. Keep an eye on pre-game lineup, and check back here for updates, concerning Ferguson and Ottey’s status. If those offensively-inclined seniors play heavy minutes, this contest will break 160 points.

Prediction: Over
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Written By Joshua Broom

A lifelong sports enthusiast, Joshua Broom has lent his thirty-plus years of insight to several sports outlets and has appeared on national radio to talk hoops. Now a dedicated handicapper, Joshua avidly critiques NBA, MLB and college and professional basketball and football trends for the betting public. Check out his picks today at Stat Salt to get a leg up on your bookie.