Memphis extended its winning streak to 18 games and clinched at least a share of the Conference USA with its victory over Southern Miss, 89-73, Saturday afternoon at FedEx Forum in Memphis, Tenn.
Since dropping out of the Top 25 and being the team that became fashionable to label “disappointing” after its performance in the Battle 4 Atlantis, Memphis has been on a tear. Coach Josh Pastner’s team has lost just one game in that span (22-1) and have an average margin of victory of just under 14 points per game.
A key has been point guard Joe Jackson, who has only failed to score in double figures three times since Atlantis and had 15 points, five rebounds, and four assists Saturday against Southern Miss.
In a weak C-USA this season, Memphis is doing all that it can. It does not allow for the Tigers to get a quality win in conferences games, rather into turns into a series of dodging possible resume blemishes. But Memphis has now hung 89 points on Southern Miss both at home and on the road and won by double digits twice.
That gives coach Josh Pastner’s team some room to operate. If Memphis slips up and loses in the conference tournament in Tulsa next month, they will still be in a position to grab an at-large bid. Southern Miss on the other hand likely needs to secure the automatic through the conference tournament to get avoid falling into the NIT.