The Memphis Tigers took care of Cincinnati last night in a game they absolutely needed to win. It may seem early to talk of "must wins," but last year's national runner-up and perennial high seed in recent seasons could be in some Bubble trouble this season, and a loss last night would have made their situation even more difficult.
Memphis had three big chances to score a signature win...and whiffed in a neutral game with Xavier, a game at Georgetown, and could not hold their home court against Syracuse. Cincy is their best win (currently #52 RPI) and without a somewhat unexpected big season from the Bearcats, the Tigers' non-conference resume is pretty weak. Add to that the CUSA has no other top teams, and it could get dicey for Calipari's squad especially if they lose a number of conference games. They do play at Tennessee on Jan 24, so there is one more shot at a big scalp. Outside of that, they are likely going to need to finish in the top two in CUSA to be under serious consideration for an at-large. The chances of that are good, but Memphis is far from the near lock they have been by Christmas the past few seasons (three straight THIRTY win seasons).
Last Night's GOI
--at Baylor 79, Portland State 66. Bears move to 10-1.
--Davidson 79, at College of Charleston 75. The best chance that Davidson had of losing in conference is now behind them with a "w" in the results column.
--Georgetown 74, at UConn 63. Hoyas take the inside track on the Big East race with this massive road win.
--at Memphis 60, Cincinnati 45. See above.
--Oklahoma at Arkansas. Hogs with a chance for a big scalp at home.
--UAB at Butler. Blazers need a signature win badly.
--George Mason at Dayton. Pats need it a lot more.
--New Mexico at New Mexico State. In-state rivalry alert!
--Illinois at Purdue. Huge Big Televen opener for both teams.
--Clemson at South Carolina. In-state rivalry alert!
--Cleveland State at Wright State. Huge Horizon match up. Raiders are 6-1 in their last 7 (close loss at Wake) after starting 0-6.