Memphis, TN-Voters were impressed enough with Memphis’ win over Louisville on Saturday to move them to 20th in the nation in both polls this week. That’s a jump of one spot in the Associated Press rankings and two spots in the coaches poll.
On Monday, Tigers freshman Austin Nichols was been named the American Athletic Conference Rookie of the Week.
It is the second week in a row and the third time this season Nichols earned the weekly honor, as he also received it Dec. 2, 2013, and Feb. 24, 2014. It is the sixth time this season a Tiger has been honored by the league. In addition to Nichols’ three weekly awards, Shaw Goodwin was twice named The American Player of the Week Dec. 2, 2013, and Jan. 13, 2014, and Nick King the league’s Rookie of the Week Nov. 25, 2013.
Last week, Nichols averaged 13.0 points, 4.5 rebounds, 2.0 assists and 2.0 blocks and did not have a turnover in 50 minutes as part of Memphis’ 1-1 week. The 6-foot-8 forward helped the Tigers to a 72-66 win over No. 7/4 Louisville with 14 points, five rebounds, three assists and two blocks Mar. 1. He added 12 points, four rebounds and two blocks in a 77-68 loss at Houston Feb. 27.
The Collierville, Tenn., native has picked up his play recently, netting double figures in his last four games. He averaged 13.3 points and shot 68.8 percent from the floor in the last four contests.
On the season, Nichols has started all 29 games and is averaging 8.9 points and 4.2 rebounds. He is second on the team in both blocked shots (38) and field goal percentage (59.3). Nichols is ranked among the American Athletic Conference statistical leaders in field goal percentage (3rd) and blocked shots (11th).
The Tigers (22-7, 11-5 The American) return to action Thursday, Mar. 6 when they travel to Cincinnati, Ohio, to face the Bearcats (24-5, 13-3 The American) in a conference match-up. The contest, to air on ESPN, is slated for a 6 p.m. (CT) start.