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Memphis Basketball: 2021-22 season preview and outlook for Tigers

Jan 21, 2021; Memphis, Tennessee, USA; Memphis Tigers head coach Penny Hardaway during the second half against the Wichita State Shockers at FedExForum. Mandatory Credit: Justin Ford-USA TODAY Sports
Jan 21, 2021; Memphis, Tennessee, USA; Memphis Tigers head coach Penny Hardaway during the second half against the Wichita State Shockers at FedExForum. Mandatory Credit: Justin Ford-USA TODAY Sports /
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Memphis Basketball
Memphis Basketball Penny Hardaway Justin Ford-USA TODAY Sports /

Memphis Basketball Schedule Breakdown

Oct. 24 – Lemoyne-Owen (DII) [Exhibition]

Oct. 31 – Lane College (DII) [Exhibition]

Nov. 9 – Tennessee Tech

Nov. 13 – North Carolina Central

Nov. 16 – Saint Louis

Nov. 19 – Western Kentucky

Nov. 24 – Virginia Tech (NIT Season Tip-Off)

Nov. 26 – Iowa State or Xavier (NIT Season Tip-Off)

Dec. 1 – Georgia

Dec. 4 – Ole Miss

Dec. 10 – Murray State

Dec. 14 – Alabama

Dec. 18 – Tennessee

Dec. 21 – Alabama State

Dec. 29-Mar. 6 – AAC Conference Play

Memphis Basketball has a pretty respectable non-conference schedule to lead into AAC play. Around December, things really start heating up and they play a couple of top-25 teams. Some of these non-conference games will likely be among Memphis’ most competitive contests.

The end of November will present the first stretch of challenges for Memphis. On Nov. 16, they will match up with a sneaky dangerous Saint Louis team before meeting Western Kentucky on Nov. 19. Neither of these teams projects to be better than the Tigers, but they aren’t games that Hardaway and Co. can overlook.

Memphis then enters the four-team NIT Season Tip-Off. Their first-round matchup will be against Virginia Tech, which will be their toughest game of the season so far. The Hokies are projected to be a top-five team in the ACC. If Memphis defeats Virginia Tech, they will likely face Xavier (I’m pretty confident Iowa State won’t win that game).

The Tigers close out the non-conference schedule with four SEC opponents in six games. Facing Alabama and Tennessee within a week of each other should be an excellent testing ground for Memphis to prove their legitimacy.