Led by former NBA coach John Calipari, Memphis (9-8, 2-1 C-USA) comes in having won two out of three overall and 15 of 18 against the Bulls.
USF(8-6, 1-2 C-USA) comes in the losers of two consecutive last-second losses to UAB and Marquette.
At a press conference Monday, coach Robert McCullum said it’s about confidence.
“If you line up and don’t really believe you have a chance to beat your opponent, then you probably won’t,” McCullum said. “The UAB game was at home, but having a chance to win at Marquette and all the things that go along with that — the crowd, the tradition and just their record at home over the years — all those things factor in.”
Memphis is led by standouts Sean Banks, Rodney Carney and Darius Washington, each of who average double figures in points.
Carney, a forward, is the team’s leading scorer with 17.1 points a game. Banks is averaging 14.5 and Washington is pouring in 13.6.
McCullum is especially impressed with the play of Washington, a freshman with big shoes to fill.
“Well, (Washington’s) obviously a talented player — it’s been well-documented,” McCullum said. “He’s received all those high-school accolades to back it up, and he’s played extremely well for a freshman — for him to walk in and try to fill the shoes of (Antonio) Burks, who was last year’s Conference USA player of the year. As you watch them play now versus earlier in the season, he’s really improved a great deal already, as you anticipate he would do.”
Last year, Memphis beat USF 66-55. Memphis is coming off a stellar year, in which they finished tied for the Conference USA title and earned a berth in the NCAA tournament.