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Talkin’ Tall Firs: Game of the Year Candidate

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Oregon and Memphis will put on a show at the Moda Center tonight

NCAA Basketball: Illinois-Chicago at Memphis Justin Ford-USA TODAY Sports

A lot of background noise has been surrounding James Wiseman and the Memphis Tigers thanks to the NCAA. The potential #1 pick in the upcoming NBA Draft has been deemed ineligible for something that happened back in high school. Penny Hardaway, Wiseman’s high school and college coach, helped James pay for his moving expenses when he was moving to Memphis from Nashville. Wiseman was transferring to Memphis East High School to play ball for Hardaway. The NCAA said Wiseman was acting as a booster for the University of Memphis. A very confusing and strange situation has caused Wiseman to go against the NCAA’s decision of ineligibility and continue to play which makes me think James is going to play with a bigger fire under his belly than normal as he doesn’t know if his next game could be his last.

Memphis Tigers (2-0)

As for the rest of the team, Hardaway has brought together arguably the best recruiting class in the country. Penny puts out five freshman in the starting lineup (only the Michigan Fab Five and a couple of John Calipari’s Kentucky teams have done that) and it is quite intimidating for any opponent. All of the starting freshman were ranked in the 2019 ESPN 100. Hardaway isn’t playing around this season.

Wins - South Carolina State, Illinois-Chicago

Losses - none

KenPom Ranking - #34

Player to Watch For:

Boogie Ellis, Freshman - 15.0 PPG, 2.0 APG, 1.0 SPG, 53.8 3P%

A true point guard for the Tigers whose best trait is his three-point shooting ability. Although, he also has a quick first step and isn’t afraid to attack the rim with bigger opponents around. He will be looking to set up Wiseman for easy buckets, especially on the back-screen alley oop (something I saw a lot from the Tigers when they hosted South Carolina State).

Game Time:

#13 Memphis vs #14 Oregon - 9:00 PM ET, ESPN on Tuesday, November 12th

Score Prediction:

73-71, Tigers over Ducks

This will be the first ever meeting between these two schools and it comes in the highly-anticipated Phil Knight Invitational in Portland, Oregon. It’s going to be interesting to see how Altman plans on slowing down Wiseman and if Okoro will be able to suit up for the Ducks. If they can pressure Memphis inside and force the Tigers to shoot from long-range as well as deep in the shot clock, Oregon has a chance. This one will be coming down to the last possession so whoever has it then should collect the W. Also worth noting as an advantage for the Ducks, It will basically be an Oregon home game so it should be loud with “Go Ducks” chants.

UT Arlington Mavericks (2-0)

This is the perfect game to have after you just played a Top 15 ranked team in the nation. The Ducks should breeze through the Mavericks after a tough one with the Tigers. Another opportunity for the young guys to get more time on the court and become more comfortable in the offense.

Wins - UT Dallas, Tulsa

Losses - none

KenPom Ranking - #134

Player to Watch For:

Jabari Narcis, Senior - 11.0 PPG, 7.5 RPG, 2.0 BPG

A 6’9” mobile big man who runs the floor well for his size. Jabari is comfortable around the basket on offense and protects it on the other side of the floor. He’s no James Wiseman though.

Game Time:

UT Arlington @ #15 Oregon - 8:00 PM ET, PAC12 Network on Sunday, November 17th

Score Prediction:

72-50, Ducks over Mavericks

I predict a big contribution from Chris Duarte in this one. He has been firing on all cylinders in the first couple outings with the Ducks and he does so much on the floor. This will be his breakout game.

*Arden Cravalho is a Gonzaga University graduate from the Bay Area... Follow him on Twitter @a_cravalho