In the middle of the conference schedule, the No. 24 Memphis Tigers and No. 23 Gonzaga Bulldogs found time to fit each other in. Gonzaga comes in leading the West Coast Conference at 11-1 while the Tigers have settled into a tie for third in the American Athletic Conference.
When the Bulldogs find their way into FedEx Forum, they will be greeted by a Memphis team that hits the offensive glass hard. Memphis' offensive rebounding percentage rates as the second-best in the AAC at 36.3 percent. The battle to corral the Memphis misses will be one of the biggest keys to the game, with Gonzaga rates as the best team in the WCC at preventing opponents from grabbing their own misses.
Gonzaga relies heavily on its bigs to rebound, while Memphis wings get a larger number of boards. Gonzaga center Przemek Karnowski is second in the WCC in defensive rebounding percentage at 23.1 percent. Being 7'1 definitely helps him there. Senior big Sam Dower is the other main rebounder for the Zags, grabbing 6.5 misses per game.
Memphis has six players who are grabbing 3.4 rebounds per game or more. Shaq Goodwin leads the way with 6.6, and is followed by Geron Johnson (5.2), Chris Crawford (4.0), Austin Nichols (4.0), David Pellom (3.5) and Joe Jackson (3.4).
Another thing to watch will be how well the Tigers take care of the ball. Memphis ranks as the best in its conference in assist-to-turnover ratio (1.35:1) and also ranks among the top 10 in the country in assist percentage. The best team in the WCC at stealing the ball is Gonzaga, despite no single player averaging two per game.
The weapon of choice for the Bulldogs is the three-pointer. The Zags shoot 42 percent from deep on the season, with Kevin Pangos Gary Bell leading the way. They combine to shoot 10.6 threes per game. Bell hits threes at a team-high 46 percent clip, while Pangos makes 43 percent of his attempts.
The battle between the two ranked opponents is going to be an interesting match of strength versus strength, watch it on ESPN at 9 p.m. ET.