College basketball standings: Memphis remains undefeated, but competition stiffens next week

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When a team returns the ball more than 26 times, misses 14 of 16 3-point shots they attempt, and only gets five points from their leading scorer, a victory is not a likely outcome. It shows how talented Memphis is and how suffocating the Tigers can be defensively, that they could do all three of those things on Friday night while beating Western Kentucky 74-62.

“Thank goodness for Jalen Duren,” Memphis coach Penny Hardaway said, “because he kept us in the game and won it for us.”

That’s the long and the short of it.

Duren took 12 shots, had eight and finished with a high of 22 points, a high of 19 rebounds and a high of five blocks in 31 minutes against Western Kentucky. The five-star freshman was amazing and the main reason the Tigers improved to 4-0 with four double-digit wins ahead of Wednesday’s showdown with a team from Virginia Tech who are also 4- 0 with four double-digit wins.

It’s clear that Memphis has a chance to be awesome.

The talent and depth are overwhelming.

But here’s the truth: The turnover issue that has been a problem throughout Hardaway’s tenure needs to improve or the Tigers likely won’t go undefeated any longer. After giving the ball 26 more times against Western Kentucky, Memphis’s offensive turnover rate is 27.2%, which ranks him 345th in the country. There is simply no way for a team to return the ball close to that on a regular basis and achieve the goals the Tigers hope to achieve this season. So somehow Hardaway and his squad need to hit a manageable number – preferably before Wednesday’s game against Virginia Tech, which could lead to another CV-making opportunity against Xavier on Friday.

Memphis remains No.5 in the daily CBS Sports Top 25 And 1 college basketball rankings updated on Saturday morning. Virginia Tech is # 23. Xavier is # 26. All three teams (along with Iowa State) will play in the NIT season draw next week at Barclays Center in Brooklyn.

Top 25 and 1 rankings


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