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Tigers Basketball Insider: Can team buck the data in its first game back?
 
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Memphis Tigers guard Landers Nolley II (3) brings the ball up the court during a game against ECU at the FedExForum earlier this month. (Patrick Lantrip/Daily Memphian)
 

Memphis Tigers guard Landers Nolley II (3) brings the ball up the court during a game against ECU at the FedExForum earlier this month. (Patrick Lantrip/Daily Memphian)

Hello, and welcome back to the Tigers Basketball Insider. Below, you’ll find the latest news and analysis from The Daily Memphian’s Danielle Lerner and Geoff Calkins. 

The Tigers are officially unpaused. But will they be untroubled when they take the court at FedExForum on Wednesday night?

Data says probably not. 

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Twitter user and advanced analytics stathead Evan Miyakawa posted an interesting graph showing how teams have fared in their first game back after a pause. The outlook isn’t good. 

 

Miyakawa told me his data does not differentiate between pauses forced by COVID-19 issues with opponents and those forced by positive cases among a team’s own personnel. That distinction determines how much the team is able to practice during a pause — but as Memphis demonstrated, maybe that doesn’t matter. 

Memphis’ first long break in January was due to COVID-19 cases and contact tracing with multiple opponents. The Tigers practiced consistently during the 19-day layoff, but still lost to Tulsa, 58-57, in their first game back. 

Wednesday’s game will be the Tigers’ first in 18 days. The team did not practice for 10 of those days, after multiple staffers and players tested positive for COVID-19. Since resuming practice last weekend, coach Penny Hardaway said players have struggled with conditioning but remain mentally sharp.

Will that be enough to buck the trend? 

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More from your Insider:


Calkins: Penny Hardaway and the Memphis Tigers now have a chance to save their year

It has been a difficult season for the Tigers, but now that they’re back from a COVID pause, they have a chance to make things right. 

Critical stretch begins as Tigers return from COVID-19 pause

Players and staff, isolated from the court and each other, are scrambling to get back to form.

American Athletic Conference to allow fans at basketball championships

Attendance for both the men’s and women’s tournaments will be limited to about 25% capacity, or 3,500 fans. 

NCAA to allow limited fan attendance at basketball tournaments

Men’s tournament will permit 25% of capacity; women’s tournament will allow 17%.

 
 
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