There are not many March Madness matchups that are tougher to predict than the 8-9 seeded games.
When these seeds go head-to-head every year, it’s sure to be a battle between two very evenly matched teams. This meeting between Memphis and Boise State is no exception.
No. 8-seeded Boise State was a powerhouse in the Mountain West all year, finishing with an impressive 15-3 record in conference play and 27-7 record overall. They enter the tournament riding a three-game win streak after making a run to defeat San Diego State 53-52 in the Mountain West Conference championship to earn an automatic bid.
No. 9-seeded Memphis had a rollercoaster season filled with injuries but eventually found their groove at the right time. They finished with a 13-5 record in conference play and 21-10 record overall. They made a push to the American Athletic Conference championship but came up just short, falling to Houston 71-53 in the title game.
Which team will advance to face a likely opponent in No. 1 seed Gonzaga in the second round? We have you covered with all the information you need to make a decision below.
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Boise State vs. Memphis will take place on Friday, March 18 in Portland, Oregon. According to Sports Interaction, Memphis is a slight favorite to win this matchup. Below are the details of their game, including the betting odds, time, TV and venue.
When Boise State started the season 3-4 with a couple of disappointing non-conference losses, the NCAA Tournament was probably an afterthought. The Broncos responded by ripping off 14-straight wins, going 21-3 after their slow start to earn the top seed in the Mountain West Conference tournament. From there, they rattled off three more wins, including a close one-point victory over San Diego State University to claim the conference tournament championship.
Abu Kigab (6-7, 220-pound senior forward)
14.7 PTS, 5.8 REB, 2.4 AST, 1.3 STL
Marcus Shaver Jr. (6-2,185-pound senior guard)
13.6 PTS, 3.8 REB, 2.2 AST, 1.1 STL
Emmanuel Akot (6-8, 210-pound senior guard)
10.7 PTS, 3.2 REB, 2.9 AST
Tyson Degenhart (6-7, 232-pound freshman forward)
9.9 PTS, 3.9 REB
Mladen Armus (6-10, 240-pound senior forward)
7.2 PTS, 7.9 REB, 0.9 BLK
Memphis began the season with high expectations behind a projected 2022 NBA Draft lottery pick in freshman center Jalen Duran and a projected future first-round 2023 NBA Draft pick in Emoni Bates, but early on, nothing clicked. Riddled with injuries and player absences due to COVID-19 protocols, the Tigers had a stretch of losing five of six non-conference games and even kicked off conference play with a loss. They started 3-4 in AAC play before rattling off 10 wins in 11 games to close the regular season despite losing star freshman Bates to an injury in February. Memphis rode its end-of-season momentum all the way to the AAC championship game where they came up short against Houston for the conference title.
Jalen Duren (6-11, 250-pound freshman center)
12.2 PTS, 8.0 REB, 2.2 BLK, 1.2 AST
DeAndre Williams (6-9, 205-pound freshman forward)
10.9 PTS, 5.8 REB, 1.8 AST, 1.4 STL
Lester Quinones (6-5, 208-pound junior guard)
10.2 PTS, 3.5 REB, 1.4 AST, 1.2 STL
Landers Nolley II (6-7, 208-pound junior guard)
10.2 PTS, 3.8 REB, 3.0 AST
Tyler Harris (5-9, 148-pound senior guard)
9.2 PTS, 1.8 AST, 1.3 REB
If you look at the NET and KenPom rankings of these two teams, you’ll quickly realize just how even this matchup could be as they’re only separated by a few spots.
Boise State is a team powered by upperclassmen, whereas Memphis is led by their young stars but also has a group of juniors and seniors who help steer the ship.
The Broncos are owners of one of the best defenses in the country, holding teams to just 60.8 points per game and they’re going up against a turnover-prone Tigers team, whose 16.2 turnovers per game is fifth-worst in the nation.
However, Boise State will have their hands full trying to contain Memphis freshman center Duren, who is one of the top prospects in the 2022 NBA Draft. Duren’s dominance was on full display in the AAC tournament, going for 21 points and 20 rebounds in the Tigers’ semifinals win over UCF.
Boise State’s defense makes them an intriguing pick in this matchup, but just know you’d be betting against one of the most talented players in the entire tournament in Memphis’ Duren.
For more insight on this and every matchup, check out the TeamRankings Predictor Tool below. TeamRankings subscribers also receive access to customized, data-driven picks for their bracket pools.
HISTORY OF UPSETS BY SEED:
15 vs. 2 | 14 vs. 3 | 13 vs. 4 | 12 vs. 5
The 8-9 matchup is historically one of the biggest « coin flip » selections of the NCAA Tournament. Eight seeds have a slight advantage over nine seeds with a 75-69 record all-time, but last year, only one nine seed pulled off an upset.
Below you can find the recent history of nine seeds upsetting eight seeds in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.