Wednesday, March 28, 2007
See you next year.
Friday, March 23, 2007
Memphis Shows Cojones
It's time to stop slagging on Memphis. I was as guilty as anyone of questioning Memphis' No. 2 seed and Conference-USA "pedigree," and I'll admit that I thought the Tigers would not only lose to Texas A&M but perhaps lose big. Yet John Calipari's guys showed some serious cajones in their 65-64 win in front of the Aggies' rabid home crowd. You want tough? Chris Douglas-Roberts plays on a sprained ankle and somehow becomes a huge factor (15 points). You want poise? Antonio Anderson steps to the line for two free throws with his team down one and three seconds left -- and nails them both. Maybe those Bob Rotella visualizing drills really do work on free throws. (Just to make sure we knew what was going on, Anderson grabbed his nether regions, Sam Cassell-style, after the final horn. Classic.)
Streaking Memphis 1 Win From Final Four
Visualize this: The Memphis Tigers are one win away from the NCAA Final Four. Forget those season-long struggles from the free throw line. The Tigers are making them when it counts, with Antonio Anderson hitting two with 3.1 seconds left Thursday night for a 65-64 victory over Texas A&M in the NCAA South Regional semifinal.
Anderson Nails Clutch Shots
Memphis Comes Through at the Line
Wild Night in San Antonio
The Tigers also deserve backslaps for the way they survived and advanced. They overcame a Final Four-caliber A&M team and an A&M crowd that outnumbered Memphis fans by 20 to 1 ... 50 to 1? More?
No wonder, as Memphis coach John Calipari waited to do his postgame interview with CBS, that he walked toward the Tigers' section of the Alamodome, such as it was, and pointed at them. And kept pointing.
"We ... played guys I haven't played all year, in this game, in this environment," said Calipari. "And in the end, made a couple of free throws, made a couple of baskets and walked away with a W in front of 30,000 Aggies, which makes it even more of an amazing thing."
Calipari exaggerated the size of the crowd, but not by much.
Memphis Wins 25th in a Row by Edging Aggies
Antonio Anderson's two free throws with 3.1 seconds left boosted Memphis to a thrilling 65-64 win over Texas A&M, as the Tigers extended the nation's longest winning streak to 25 games and moved into the Elite Eight of the NCAA Tournament.
Memphis winning critics over
Memphis wants you to know it has one of the nation's best basketball programs. And it shouldn't matter that it plays in a bad conference.
So it's intent on winning and proving you – and me – wrong until we finally admit Memphis is an elite program. Frankly, that shouldn't be too hard after Memphis beat Texas A&M on Thursday night at the Alamodome.
Not after the Tigers won on the Aggies' home court. At least it sounded like their home court, considering the crowd of 26,060 couldn't have had more than 1,500 Memphis fans. Not after the Tigers grabbed three offensive rebounds on their final offensive possession of the game. And certainly not after Antonio Anderson, a 64 percent free throw shooter, made two freebies with 3.1 seconds to give the Tigers a one-point lead. Memphis earned this one. It deserved to win.
Not after the Tigers won on the Aggies' home court. At least it sounded like their home court, considering the crowd of 26,060 couldn't have had more than 1,500 Memphis fans.
Not after the Tigers grabbed three offensive rebounds on their final offensive possession of the game. And certainly not after Antonio Anderson, a 64 percent free throw shooter, made two freebies with 3.1 seconds to give the Tigers a one-point lead.
Memphis earned this one. It deserved to win.
Eyes of Texas were upon them, but Tigers never blinked
Antonio Anderson stepped to the line, spun the ball in his palms, and tried not to think about the stakes or the moment.
Just 3.1 seconds remained in a game that had long since passed thrilling on its way to epic. Anderson had already hit the first free throw to tie the game for the 13th time. Now, after an interminable timeout, he had a chance to permanently untie it.
"When I got to the line, I said ‘Let me get this game over with,'" he said.
Anderson spun the ball in his hands. He bounced it once, then sent it spinning through the hoop and into history.
The massive blot of Texas A&M fans fell silent. The small section of Memphis fans hollered loud enough to make up for it.
John Calipari always said his Memphis Tigers would make their free throws when it mattered, didn't he?
It never mattered more than this, it couldn't matter more than this, as Anderson's two shots gave his team a lead it wasn't about to relinquish.
Thursday, March 22, 2007
According to this CA article, Jeremy's ready to light it up and the Alamodome is really big.
CDR's feeling better and might play tonight. He really wants to.
I would like Acie Law to go away. Really. That'd be great.
So, we're the underdogs. So, we're playing Texas A & M, a lower seeded team, not so far from their home. That's okay.
Seth Davis disagrees, and picks the Aggies to win by 1.
p.s. If anyone out there gets the reference from the title and first line (besides you, Mom) let me know. I thought it was more well-known than it (apparently) is.
Wednesday, March 21, 2007
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.
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:
By Gary Parrish
MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- John Calipari has spent the past few years using an East Coast attitude to antagonize his friends from the eastern part of this state.
The Memphis coach has at different times insisted on no longer playing Tennessee, promised to only play the Vols on a neutral court and explained in detail why Bruce Pearl is at a disadvantage in attempting to come into his city and recruit.
|John Calipari is from the East Coast, but he mixes it up in Tennessee. (Getty Images)|
So though Calipari remains more Pittsburgh than Memphis in many ways, one thing he inherited long ago is a disdain for Good Ole Rocky Top. It's a sizeable disdain, and the man has never wavered, privately or publicly.
"All of their fans should be rooting for us and all of our fans should be rooting for them," Calipari said. "We should be cheering for each other."
Ah, strength in numbers.
It's a sensible strategy on the surface, considering the state of Tennessee has a numbers advantage in this NCAA Tournament. Memphis and Tennessee remain in the South Regional and Vanderbilt is in the East Regional -- meaning this state known more for its musical contributions to Rock 'n' Roll (Sun Studio), Country and Western (The Grand Ole Opry), Southern Soul (Stax Records), Rhythm and Blues (Beale Street) and Rap (Hustle and Flow) is the largest contributor to the Sweet 16 with three institutions that are just two wins from the Final Four.
"It's incredible," Calipari said. "What my man (Kevin Stallings) is doing at Vanderbilt is incredible, what Tennessee is doing is great and then we're hanging around, too. So it's kinda nice."
But can everybody play nice?
That's the question, and to fully understand why it's not as easy as it sounds you have to understand the state of Tennessee and the divisions that exist. For the most part, east Tennessee (Knoxville/UT) and middle Tennessee (Nashville/Vanderbilt) despise west Tennessee (Memphis/U of M), and vice versa. The people of Memphis believe the people of Nashville are snobs and the people of Knoxville are rednecks, and the people of Nashville and Knoxville both believe the people of Memphis spend most of the week robbing and shooting each other.
They are wild stereotypes, to be sure. But they exist.
Why didn't Harold Ford Jr. win his U.S. Senate race last year?
Analysts believed it wasn't just because he was a black man running in the south or a Democrat running in a conservative state. The real problem was Ford is a black democrat from Memphis, and that's a hell of a combination to overcome in the eyes of everything outside a 60-mile radius of Memphis.
Plus, Ford is a Tiger supporter; it's doubtful that helped in any way.
Which brings us back to the Sweet 16 and San Antonio, where Memphis and Tennessee fans have converged for the weekend.
The Tigers play Texas A&M in the first game Thursday just before the Vols play Ohio State. Depending on the outcomes and how much alcohol is consumed, don't be surprised if the two schools' contingents shimmy over to the Alamo and re-enact the famous 19th century battle at some point late Thursday night.
But Calipari has offered a truce.
"I'm not going to paint my body orange," he said. "But I might wear an orange shirt."
Gotta start somewhere. Baby steps and all that.
Anyway, when I heard this proposal I decided to call Pearl. I wanted to know whether he was down with the idea. So I asked whether he was down with the idea.
"I'm absolutely down with it," answered Pearl, who added he had already called to congratulate Calipari and Stallings. "Tennessee and Memphis are sister schools in a way, from the same system. So I don't think there's any question we should be rooting for each other."
And what if Memphis and Tennessee both win Thursday and play Saturday with a trip to the Final Four at stake?
"It would be great for the state," Pearl said.
"Then we draw the line in the sand and it's back to civil war," Calipari added. "But up until then we should be rooting for each other."
Bipartisan basketball at its finest.
But in a search to determine whether the notion of Memphis and Tennessee fans uniting is realistic, I bounced the idea off a man with ties to each school. His name is Keith Easterwood, and he's an AAU coach in the state of Tennessee who has worked with players in both programs and regularly talks with both staffs.
Can Memphis root for Tennessee? Can Tennessee root for Memphis?
"It's a nice warm fuzzy thought, but it goes against the grain for too many people," Easterwood said. "I don't think it's going to happen."
In other words, see you at the Alamo late Thursday night.
Tuesday, March 20, 2007
Confidence is High: According to the CA, CDR's playing Thursday night will be a game day decision, but the players are hopeful he will be able to play. Calipari says he won't play unless they think he can stay up with the game.
ESPN's coverage: Tigers' top scorer nursing sprained ankle
Monday, March 19, 2007
Sorry no updates over the weekend... I was in New Orleans. ;) Go Tigers.
My favorite columnist: Team Effort Seals Deal
With slightly more than six minutes left in the game, Memphis Tigers coach John Calipari could feel it all slipping away -- the game, the season, the back-to-back trips to the Sweet 16.
Chris Douglas-Roberts had been carried off to the locker room with a sprained ankle. The Memphis lead had gone from 7 to 5, from 5 to 3, from 3 to a single layup.
What happened next may be the happiest stretch of basketball in Calipari's tenure at Memphis because it was everything he has always thought basketball should be.
Furious defense. Relentless rebounding. A collection of players who, tested by a moment, survive the moment by drawing on each other and their collective will.
The big surprise: Memphis Turns It's Weakness into Winning Ingredient
"The No. 2 Tigers 78-62 victory against the No. 7 Wolf Pack on Sunday at New Orleans Arena, was their 24th consecutive win. But heading into the game, there were still large questions looming over the Tigers. Two of the main ones were: Could they make their free throws? And could they execute in a half-court game?
The Tigers answered the first question in hilarious fashion; they hit 26 of 34 free throws, with each one they made being met with a wild cheer. That registered at a 76 percent clip, which was decidedly better than the 61.3-percent rate they were hitting entering the game. Much was being made about the Tigers’ struggles, especially when Coach John Calipari said that he had actually stopped having his players practice free throws and had them just work on visualization techniques."
The Scare: Deep Memphis Deals with Douglas-Roberts' sprain
"I'm going to play," Douglas-Roberts told ESPN.com as he hobbled out of the locker room.
Calipari was quick to say, "We don't know yet." But he added, "we hope."
So here is the rub for Memphis. Even if Douglas-Roberts doesn't play, this team is deeper and tougher than a year ago. The Tigers still might survive without him -- or at least, without a healthy version of him -- in San Antonio.
Still no love: Tigers in Sweet 16, but are they any good?
Calipari has some depth, but has been going only eight deep lately. Douglas-Roberts plays the most minutes and score the most points. Calipari points to the fact that they've won without CDR before this season.
But that was against East Carolina and Tulsa.
Not Texas A&M.
"Everyone has doubted us," Memphis sophomore guard Antonio Anderson said.
For good reason.
A little bit of love: Wolves no match for Tigers
Their top scorer was in the locker room getting X-rays. The lead they'd been nursing was down to two points. And the other team's star player was finally rolling. If the Memphis Tigers were going to crack, this was the time - especially because they were facing a formidable opponent for the first time since before Christmas. John Calipari's bunch didn't budge. Not by a single point.
A LOT of love: Kansas, Memphis and Georgetown Storm into Sweet Sixteen
Memphis: Time to stop doubting John Calipari's team, whose winning streak reached 24 thanks to a stifling defensive performance in its 78-62 rout of Nevada. Most impressive about the Tigers was their offensive balance. The only downer: Chris Douglas-Roberts left late in the second half with an ankle sprain and didn't return. They'll certainly need him against Acie Law.
Thursday, March 15, 2007
Wednesday, March 14, 2007
Tuesday, March 13, 2007
The asshat: Win Your Tournament Pool
The sad truth: Free Throws are Tigers' Achilles Heel
The inspiration: Imagine swish
The dare: South Region quick hits
The psych out: Predictions may keep Tigers humble
The Big Question: Are these Tigers better?
Get a bracket here.
Sunday, March 11, 2007
Saturday, March 10, 2007
Friday, March 9, 2007
Tigers win, 92-71. In doing so they tied a school record with 20 straight wins. The Charleston (WV) Gazette said the Tigers "dunked" Marshall. ESPN called it a spanking. The CA thinks Dorsey is making progress. I just think he's AWESOME.
|3:30 p.m.||(1) Memphis vs. (4) Tulane (CSTV)|
|Tigers win, 71-49.|
|6:00 p.m.||(3) Houston vs. (7) Rice (CSTV)|
Tomorrow's Championship game will air on CBS at 10:35 am CT.
Thursday, March 8, 2007
The game is at 6pm CT. On TV: TV: CSTV (Ch. 222 on Comcast digital cable, Ch. 610 on DIRECTV, Ch. 152 on DISH Network).
The CA pregame story is here. ESPN's game preview is here.
|Thurs.||March 8||Noon||(2) UCF vs. (7) Rice (CSTV)|
Watch Live | Gametracker
|Thurs.||March 8||2:30 p.m.||(3) Houston vs. (6) Southern Miss (CSTV)|
Watch Live | Gametracker
|Thurs.||March 8||6:00 p.m.||(1) Memphis vs. No. (8) Marshall (CSTV)|
Watch Live | Gametracker
|Thurs.||March 8||8:30 p.m.||(4) Tulane vs. No. (5) Tulsa (CSTV)|
Watch Live | Gametracker
Wednesday, March 7, 2007
Memphis the team to beat in C-USA
MEMPHIS - With No. 5 Memphis the clear favorite in the Conference USA tournament, the rest of the league's coaches are trying to make sure their teams remain motivated.
There's fourth-seeded Tulane closing with a 5-1 record to earn a first-round bye. SMU, the league's 11th seed, challenged Memphis before losing 64-61 in the final regular season game. Coaches are grabbing at anything to inspire a run at the tournament title and automatic bid that is their only hope of reaching the NCAA tournament.Read the Rest...
Tuesday, March 6, 2007
Despite Ranking, Memphis Remains a Mystery for N.C.A.A. Tournament
Memphis earned its first No. 1 seeding in the N.C.A.A. tournament and fell a game short of the Final Four last season. But the Tigers were hardly expected to achieve similar success this season after losing two top players from that team to the N.B.A.
Now, having won an N.C.A.A. Division I-best 19 consecutive games and being the first team to streak through Conference USA undefeated since 2000, the sixth-ranked Tigers (27-3) are poised to be seeded No. 2 or No. 3 in this month’s N.C.A.A. tournament.
“Whether they merit a No. 1 seed, I don’t know, but I do think they’re better than they were last year,” Rice Coach Willis Wilson said in a telephone interview.
As the Conference USA tournament starts on its home court Wednesday, Memphis is perhaps college basketball’s most mysterious highly ranked team.
The Tigers have victories against Kentucky (20-10), Mississippi (19-11) and Gonzaga (22-10), and their only losses are to Georgia Tech (20-10), Tennessee (22-9) and Arizona (20-9), all of whom were ranked at the time.
But 16 of their wins were in Conference USA, which is ranked 11th nationally in the Ratings Percentage Index, behind such leagues as the Mountain West, the Western Athletic Conference and the Atlantic 10.
As a result, Memphis, led by the sophomore guard Chris Douglas-Roberts and a stingy defense, is ranked eighth in the R.P.I., but its strength of schedule is 77th.
2006-07 CONFERENCE USA ALL-FRESHMAN TEAM
John Fields, East Carolina, F, 6-9, 200, Fayetteville, N.C.
Kevin Sims, Tulane, G, 5-10, 160, Jackson, Miss.
Sai'Quon Stone, Southern Miss, G, 6-6, 205, Brooklyn, N.Y.
Ben Uzoh, Tulsa, G, 6-3, 185, San Antonio, Texas
Jeremy Wise, Southern Miss, G, 6-2, 165, Jackson, Miss.
2006-07 FRESHMAN/NEWCOMER OF THE YEAR
Jeremy Wise, Southern Miss, G, 6-2, 165, Jackson, Miss.
2006-07 CONFERENCE USA ALL-DEFENSIVE TEAM
Antonio Anderson, Memphis, G, 6-6, 200, So., Lynn, Mass.
Paul Delaney III, UAB, G, 6-2, 200, Jr., Decatur, Ga.
Joey Dorsey, Memphis, F, 6-9, 260, Jr., Baltimore, Md.
Bamba Fall, SMU, C, 7-1, 210, So., St. Louis, Senegal
Oliver Lafayette, Houston, G, 6-2, 180, Sr., Baton Rouge, La.
2006-07 DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR
Joey Dorsey, Memphis, F, 6-9, 260, Jr., Baltimore, Md.
2006-07 SIXTH MAN OF THE YEAR
Jeremy Hunt, Memphis, G, 6-5, 210, Sr., Memphis, Tenn.
Monday, March 5, 2007
Awards: CDR and Dorsey were both named to the 2007 Conference USA First Team. Jeremy Hunt was named to the Second Team.
|2007 SCHEDULE OF EVENTS|
|Wednesday||March 7||Noon||(7) Rice vs. (10) UTEP|
|Wednesday||March 7||2:30 p.m.||(6) Southern Miss vs. (11) SMU|
|Wednesday||March 7||6:00 p.m.||(8) Marshall vs. (9) UAB|
|Wednesday||March 7||8:30 p.m.||(5) Tulsa vs. (12) East Carolina|
|Thursday||March 8||Noon||(2) UCF vs. No. 7/10 winner (CSTV)|
|Thursday||March 8||2:30 p.m.||(3) Houston vs. No. 6/11 winner (CSTV)|
|Thursday||March 8||6:00 p.m.||(1) Memphis vs. No. 8/9 winner (CSTV)|
|Thursday||March 8||8:30 p.m.||(4) Tulane vs. No. 5/12 winner (CSTV)|
|Friday||March 9||3:30 p.m.||Semifinal 1 (CSTV)|
|Friday||March 9||6:00 p.m.||Semifinal 2 (CSTV)|
|Saturday||March 10||10:35 a.m.||Championship Game (CBS)|
Saturday, March 3, 2007
Again? Are they seriously trying to drive me to insanity? Or least to drink. Dude.
Final Score: Tigers win 64-61. This is the team that we beat by 30 something points in January. It was absolutely nerve wracking.
U of M extends streak to 19
Memphis gets 19th straight win
Missed FTs a concern for Cal
Favorite name of the week: Ike Ofoegbu
Next: Tigers have a first round bye in the C-USA tournament, and will play Thursday night.
Thursday, March 1, 2007
Latest Line: Memphis by 12.
ESPN game preview
Also? Florida lost Tuesday night and Texas A & M lost last night. Sweet.
Final Score: Tigers win, 78-67.
These Tigers are trying to give me a heart attack, I swear.
ESPN: Memphis defeats UTEP for 18th straight win
CA: Tigers win 18th in a row
Next: the last regular season game, at SMU, tomorrow night at 8:30pm CT, on CSTV.