17. Memphis (11-2)
The resume looks great for Memphis, though chances to improve it will freeze for several weeks. They had tough losses against Mississippi and Villanova, but have also beaten Arkansas, Michigan, VCU, Texas A&M, Clemson, and Virginia, with some of those outings more impressive than others. Memphis is playing their best ball at the right time of the season, with conference play beginning soon in the AAC.
Saturday marked the end of their nonconference slate with a somewhat easier opportunity as the Tigers won 81-70 at home over Austin Peay. David Jones was stellar as usual with 19 points in the win while Naeqwan Tomlin had 15 points and 15 rebounds off the bench and the team put together another solid effort in a sixth straight win.
A nearly flawless December showed us that Memphis means business and should be one of the heavy favorites in the AAC in the weeks and months ahead. One potential issue is that Memphis won’t get tested by high-level opponents like they were during the nonconference slate, though pesky Florida Atlantic awaits near the end of the season. For now, the focus for Penny Hardaway’s squad will be on Tulsa this upcoming Thursday.