Missouri Tigers vs. Memphis Tigers Preview and Pick – 2009 Men’s NCAA Sweet 16

No. 9 Missouri Tigers +4.5, 140.5 O/U (30-6) 19-9 ATS, 15-14 O/U vs. No. 3 Memphis Tigers -4.5, 140.5 O/U (33-3) 21-12 ATS, 13-22 O/U Thursday, March 26, 2009, University of Phoenix Stadium, Glendale, Arizona 9:37 p.m. EST, TV: CBS

By Wilson of Predictem.com

The NCAA Tournament continues this Thursday in Glendale with the No.2 seed Memphis versus the No. 3 seed Missouri out of the West Region of the bracket. It will be a battle of two teams that have won 63 games this season between them. Memphis has been on cruise control after surviving a bit of a scare in the first round from Cal State Northridge. Once the Tigers pulled away from the Matadors they closed out the game with an 11-point win. They also destroyed the Maryland Terrapins 89-70 over the weekend. Missouri comes into Thursdays matchup after beating an extremely talented Marquette team 83-79 in round two of the tournament.

Memphis is averaging 74.7 points per game on 44.8 percent shooting from the field. The Tigers allow just 57.6 points per contest to their opponents. Memphis is incredibly athletic, but not as athletic as the Russian acrobats who perform in Las Vegas at the Riviera Hotel and Casino, said Bobby Knight in an interview on ESPNs, The Mike & Mike Show last week while discussing the probable run that Memphis might make in the tourney. Memphis is the real deal; I think they are the best No. 2 seed that this tournament has seen in quite sometime.

Missouri is putting up 81.1 points per game on 47 percent shooting. The Tigers (both teams are the Tigers!) can score a ton of points in a hurry. Memphis will be tested defensively but I believe they will hold their own due to their talent level and basketball savvy-ness. Mizzou gives up 66.6 ppg to the opposition. Missouri was victim to some booing as they had a pinch shooter come off the bench to seal the win by sinking a couple of key free-throws with seconds left on the clock. Freshman Kim English was called upon to shoot from the stripe after J.T. Tiller took a foul and crashed hard to the floor. However, Marquette stepped over the baseline while attempting to inbound the ball which all but killed any chance for a last second shot.

The bookies are predicting a game that will reach into the 70s as the total is currently sitting at 140.5, and Memphis is favored by 4.5. Which streak of Tigers will prevail? This game will be a great sweet sixteen showdown as both teams are very similar in nearly all categories outside of Missouri, who averages about eight points more offensively.

Memphis head coach, John Calipari, is known for his dribble drive motion offense and high energy teams. Calipari looks forward to playing Missouri as they offer some different sets offensively and it will be interesting to see how both teams adjust defensively. Missouri will need to be active as it is very tiring to guard a team that never stops moving. The dribble drive is methodical, fast, but patient, all at the same time.

Missouris Leo Lyons scored 18 and Kim English finished with 17 in the win over Marquette, and they will be ready to advance come Thursday. Tyreke Evans put up 19 points for Memphis as he will also be leading the charge for the Tigers to earn a spot to the fourth round. No matter what happens there will be an ambush of Tigers heading to the Elite Eight.

I like Caliparis Tigers, and the dribble drive motion. Memphis is just too talented and I believe the better team despite what shows up on stat sheets.

Wilsons Pick: I was walkin Memphis Memphis 72, Missouri 67! Luck to ya.