Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Today's Mishmash

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Memphis aims to silence doubters
MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- A 24-game winning streak hasn't convinced everyone that Memphis is a legitimate national championship contender.

After all, the second-seeded Tigers didn't get much of challenge from their Conference USA rivals, none of which made the NCAA tournament. Counting North Texas and Nevada, the two teams Memphis beat to get to the South Regional semifinals, the Tigers have defeated five teams that made the NCAA's field of 65.

It's safe to say that Thursday's game in San Antonio against Texas A&M will be the Tigers' toughest test in months.

And Memphis could be without leading scorer Chris Douglas-Roberts, who is nursing a sprained left ankle. Coach John Calipari said he wasn't positive Douglas-Roberts would play.

"But I think he will," Calipari said after his weekly radio show Monday before a packed house of Tiger fans at a Memphis restaurant.

CDR ankle improving
University of Memphis star sophomore Chris Douglas-Roberts showed signs of progress Tuesday, according to team officials, but it was still uncertain whether his sprained left ankle would prevent him from playing in Thursday's NCAA South Regional semifinal against Texas A&M.

"He's planning on playing, but we'll have to see," coach John Calipari said. "I think he is (improving)."

Douglas-Roberts has been receiving nearly round-the-clock treatment since Memphis beat Nevada, 78-62, on Sunday to reach the Sweet 16. He suffered the injury with 8:11 to go in the game after jumping to tip a ball and landing on teammate Joey Dorsey's foot.

According to team officials, Douglas-Roberts was walking Tuesday without a protective boot. Douglas-Roberts was at the Finch Center late Monday night to receive treatment again and will continue to do so today in San Antonio.

Though Douglas-Roberts, the Tigers' leading scorer at 15.4 points per game, tells teammates he will play, his status likely won't be determined until Thursday.

Deja Vu
A year ago, the University of Memphis played an Elite Eight game against a lower-seeded opponent in that team's home state.

In the game, the top-seeded Tigers were defeated as much by No. 2 UCLA's stifling defense and their own inept shooting as by the pro-Bruin atmosphere inside The Arena in Oakland.

The stakes may not be quite as high Thursday when Memphis faces Texas A&M in a South Regional semifinal inside San Antonio's vast Alamodome. But the scenario facing the No. 2-seeded UofM looks familiar:

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