Zach Hayes is an editor, contributor and bracketologist for Rush the Court.
Note: Check out games #68-52 on the list here.
51. February 25: Memphis at Marshall (4:00, FSN)- The most likely candidate to knock off powerhouse Memphis isn’t a usual suspect like UAB, UTEP or Tulsa. Instead, it’s Tom Herrion and Marshall, a team loaded with reigning C-USA freshman of the year DeAndre Kane, point guard standout Damier Pitts and Justin Coleman, a former Louisville commit with huge upside. The problem is that Memphis is overflowing with talent up and down the roster. Will Barton could lead the league in scoring, Adonis Thomas is a superb athlete and Tarik Black is the Tigers most indispensable player. Whether Pitts can fluster Memphis’ young point guard Joe Jackson, who averaged more turnovers than assists as a freshman, is a storyline to watch when these two clash in late February, possibly for a conference crown.
Josh Pastner and Memphis aim to hold off upstart Marshall this season
50. February 4: Xavier at Memphis (1:00, FSN)- As per usual, Memphis loaded up on their non-conference schedule to make up for a weaker Conference USA slate. The Tigers travel to Louisville, but their toughest home date next season could very well be Xavier, another premiere non-BCS school who’s not afraid to challenge themselves outside of conference play. The Musketeers boast a loaded backcourt spearheaded by Tu Holloway, a legitimate sleeper for the Wooden Award, and he’ll likely be matching buckets with Memphis’ Will Barton. But it’s Antonio Barton, the often overshadowed brother, who made rapid defensive improvements last season and could draw the assignment of containing Holloway.
49. February 1: Connecticut at Georgetown (7:00, ESPN2)- The Hoyas lost their core in Chris Wright and Austin Freeman, but it was a duo that only led the program to a 27-27 record over the last three seasons in Big East play. They’ll need Jason Clark, who had a much quieter junior season than expected, to grab hold of a leadership role and become an all-Big East performer. He’ll need help from his friends Henry Sims and Nate Lubick or Connecticut’s intimidating duo of Alex Oriakhi and Andre Drummond will have their way in the paint.
48. February 7: Purdue at Ohio State (9:00, ESPN)- These two schools have had some memorable meetings recently, from Evan Turner’s coming out party in West Lafayette to E’Twaun Moore’s 38-point effort last season. Any opponent that hopes to knock off the Sullinger-Craft-Buford led Buckeyes in Columbus this season will need to play a near-perfect 40 minutes. A disciplined Purdue team coached by Matt Painter and led by a healthy Robbie Hummel is capable.
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