1. Loss of Caleb Mills has been detrimental for the Tigers
One of the biggest reasons for the current slide has been the absence of Mills, who suffered a season-ending injury against Tulsa a month ago. The team has gone 3-3 since, including averaging over 80 ppg allowed in some poor defensive efforts.
Compared to the other transfer pickups, the former Florida State/Houston guard hasn’t been an all-star statistically. Mills averaged 7.9 ppg on 39% shooting off the bench in 25 mpg, though he was shooting a career-high 37% from three-point range. He did have some big outings in the non-con campaign, including 13 points against Clemson and 17 in a road win over VCU.
More than anything, Mills was the one newcomer to the Memphis Basketball roster who fully bought into his role, even if it was lesser than at his previous spot. Plus, the defensive effort was noticeable when he was on the court for the team, compared to what it is now.
As expected, the bench production has taken a dip as well, with the scoring production of Jayhlon Young, Jayden Hardaway, and Ashton Hardaway being much more inconsistent. And if Jaykwon Walton doesn’t make the shots, the offense overall becomes too one-dimensional at times. Penny will need one of his sons to step up on both ends for the bench to not be a negative down the stretch.