Friday, December 12, 2008

We interrupt this regularly scheduled hoops program

To talk about college football.

I know that's not what I normally do around here, but I was looking for a schedule of the bowl games in Excel format and couldn't find one online. So I made one. And thought I'd be kind and share it.

So here is the link to my College Football Bowl Schedule for 2008-09 in xls It's a google doc you might be able to to download or at least copy and paste. Let me know if it doesn't work.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

And... we're off!

Another year is here, and the Tigers play tonight at 7pm CT. Against Fairfield. Dunno anything about Fairfield, but I do know that the Tigers are ranked #12 and #13 in the pre-season polls, and favored by 19.5 tonight. So that's good.

Since I haven't posted since, you know, April, I considered doing a little reminiscing, a little discussion of San Antonio, a little analysis of what went wrong... But it breaks my heart too much, so I won't. I will only look forward to what could be this year, and also grateful for all the excitement of last season, my first trip to a Final Four, and basically, the thrill of victory and agony of defeat. It was a better year than all the other teams (but one). And I will never forget it.

Now. It's time for a new year and another chance. I'm looking forward to the roller coaster.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Friday, April 4, 2008

One Day More

I don't want to turn this blog into a Geoff Calkins tribute or anything, but he is my favorite sports journalist. Today he writes about judging the Memphis players-- by the way they wear their hats, by the tattoos they have, by their age, by so many things. It's something people do. And not just the national media-- not just people who have no clue about Memphis, the University, or this team. Memphians do it.

As a lifelong Memphian (until recently, anyway-- but I am still a Memphian, in spirit if not in location), I can't begin to enumerate the number of times I've heard people insult my hometown. Visitors, people who've never even been to Memphis, but especially locals. It's crime-ridden, it's ugly, and (my favorite from my time in East Tennessee) it's FLAT. But let's just talk about that for a second.

I'm not going to pretend that Memphis doesn't have crime. It's a city. Cities have crime. And Memphis has more than its fair share. Memphis also has more than its fair share of racial tension. But it's not like I was afraid all the time. Or even very often. And ugly? Memphis may be many things, but Memphis is not ugly. And I feel that I have enough experience to say that. Look, I live in the mountains. The Rocky Mountains. I can see ski slopes from my office window. It is ridiculously and unbelievably beautiful here. But I still won't say Memphis is ugly. Memphis has lots and lots of trees, and big parks. Memphis has azaleas and flowering pear trees and crepe myrtles that flower all summer. No, there's not much snow. And autumn never lasts as long as we want it to. But Memphis is not ugly. And flat? Come on, Chattanoogans, is that the best you've got?

Anyway, the whole point of this post was to say this: this team, these Tigers, may not appear to be basketball royalty. They have tattoos and brands, and cornrows, and wear their hats in a untraditional manner. They get in trouble when they stay out too late in nightclubs, and at least one of them has thrown away his lifelong dream this weekend. They make mistakes. And I don't claim to know them personally. I've never met any of the players. Calipari says they have great hearts. I know better than to believe every word out of Coach Cal's mouth, but I do know what I've seen.

I've seen them LOVE to play basketball. I've seen them have fun on the court. I've seen that most times these players are willing to share the ball, and thus the glory, with their teammates. I've seen that they appear to be more than teammates, they are friends. I've seen that Joey Dorsey lights up and comes alive when he feels the love and support of the crowd. I've seen Chris Douglas-Roberts give all he has over and over. I've seen Derrick Rose arrive without a sign of any prima donna attitude, and be all that we thought he would be and more. I've seen Antonio Anderson named the Most Valuable Player in the Conference tournament even though he's not at the top of the list of "stars" on the team. And that's enough for me.

So call them young and irresponsible. Just don't call them thugs.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Check Me Out

I did a little Q & A on the Final Four with the good folks over at Thirtyfive Seconds. They're doing a series on the Final Four and I was proud to be representing Memphis. Read it all here:

Final Four Preview: Memphis Tigers

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Maybe True Blue Speaks of Heart More than Blood

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

By Geoff Calkins (Contact)

Well, we do eat with our hands.

I mean, it's true, isn't it?

We eat barbecue -- with our hands.

We eat ribs -- with our hands.

We eat Pronto Pups -- with our hands.

In Los Angeles, they raw eat fish with chopsticks. Tell a Memphian to eat something with a stick and chances are he'll skewer it, batter it and dunk the whole mess in boiling oil.

So you can understand why people all over the country are having a hard time understanding what Memphis is doing at this year's exclusive Final Four gathering in San Antonio.

North Carolina, UCLA and Kansas are the right kind of people. Memphis is, well, here's Joe Gergen, from Newsday:

"If we were talking families here, the first three would be the Rockefellers, the Carnegies and the Stanfords," Gergen wrote. "Memphis would be the Clampetts."

It's true too. We don't have all the things those UCLA people have.

Elly May: I hear they got smog.

Granny: What's a smog?


Jethro: I reckon it's a small hog.

Better hope that The Rendezvous doesn't get a hold of it.

But the point is, we Memphians are viewed as interlopers, trespassers and party crashers, too.

"It's the blue bloods vs. the blue collars," said Memphis coach John Calipari, whose grandparents -- you may have heard this -- came through Ellis Island.

UCLA, North Carolina and Kansas have won 17 NCAA men's basketball championships between them.

Memphis won the NIT not long ago.

"Combined with UCLA, there's like 11 national championship between us," Calipari said.

UCLA has all 11.

Nice try, John.

UCLA is John Wooden, the Wizard of Westwood. Kansas is James Naismith, the inventor of basketball.

Memphis is Calipari, giving out big screens in the upper deck.

USA Today ran a story Monday with the headline, "It's Memphis," explaining that the school is no longer called Memphis State.

The school's name was changed 14 years ago! Memo to USA Today: Memphis also has an NBA team. Or used to have one, anyway.

But why should anyone be expected to know stuff like this? We're fat Elvis and The Peabody ducks. A little too campy, a little too quaint and a little too gritty to know the secret handshake.

UCLA is all glamor and glitz. North Carolina calls itself a "public Ivy," whatever that is.

The "first graduate music therapy program was created in 1947 at Kansas," according to the school's Web site.

How about that? Kansas created music therapy.

Unless you count the blues, of course.

If the Final Four was a movie, we'd be Rodney Dangerfield in "Caddyshack."

If the Final Four was the House of Windsor, we'd be Lady Di.

If the Final Four was an awards show, we'd be Three 6 Mafia at ... hey, maybe there's a lesson there.

In 2006, Three 6 Mafia was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Original Song. Nobody thought a raggedy Memphis rap group could win.

Three hours later, host Jon Stewart delivered the line of the night.

"For anyone keeping score, Martin Scorsese, zero Oscars," he said, "Three 6 Mafia, one."

So it's possible, isn't it? Especially this year of all years?

A beagle won the Westminster dog show. A former stripper won the Oscar for best original screenplay.

Who says a basketball team from Memphis can't win the NCAA championship?

And when it happens, really, no need for the rest of you to apologize.

In the words of Jed Clampett: "I reckon you done what you done because you didn't know we was who we was."

Friday, March 28, 2008

Final score

Go Tigers!

I am inside Reliant Arena watching the Stanford/Texas game. Lots of
burnt orange.

Sent from my iPhone

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

And we're off!

It's that time again. And I'm already angry.

Every poll that asks which 1 seed will be the first to lose? You know the answer.

Some analysts (like ESPN's Hubert Davis) are calling for the Tigers to be upset by Mississippi State in Round Two. Or certainly by Pitt. Or for goodness sake, Texas. No way we're going all the way. Dick Vitale thinks we'll lose to Texas, too, though his call seems to be based on geography, not on basketball talent.

Gregg Doyel from cbs sportsline does think we'll make the Final Four, if only because he thinks Stanford will upset Texas and we can beat Stanford. Should Texas beat Stanford, though, he doesn't sound too confident.

Check the brackets of 14 national insiders from ESPN, and Only three of them think Memphis will reach the Final Four. Only ESPN's Digger Phelps picks Memphis to win it all.

It's irksome.

But there are a few people I don't hate right now. Like Digger Phelps, my shirt/highlighter matching friend that seems to love us. Another of my new favorite people is Dick Jerardi, writer for the Philadelphia Daily News who has Memphis winning it all. I'm also quite fond of Kevin Scarbinsky, who writes for the Birmingham News, and says,

I've seen Memphis in person twice, and that's what a national champion looks like.

The nation is going to find out about Memphis, whose only loss this season came by four points against a Tennessee team that won the SEC regular-season title and earned a No. 2 seed in the NCAA Tournament.

The nation is going to find out that Memphis can win from ahead or behind, in close games or blowouts, with offense or defense. The Tigers have the players to win a title, and they have the hunger after losing in the Elite Eight the last two seasons.

The Tigers play Friday night at approximately 8:40pm. It is to tip off thirty minutes following the end of the game before, so that time could change significantly. If you need a schedule of all games, you can check here. That page includes NIT games.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Okay, Okay...

So I didn't blog about it. I couldn't bring myself to. The Vols? Seriously? Was that God's idea of funny? Cause it wasn't. I would have much rather lost to UAB. Although, losing to the #2 team isn't so bad. EXCEPT IT'S THE VOLS.

But today I feel I can come back to Blogger with a heart full of gratitude to the Vanderbilt Commodores, for cutting the Vols' time at #1 to a short 28 hours or so. :)

The question now is, what happens? In the AP poll, the Tigers only fell to #2. If they win both games this week (Tulsa tonight and UTEP Saturday) they should take back the #1 spot. But in the Coaches' poll, the Tigers fell to #3, behind UNC. UNC plays one game this week, on Saturday, against Boston College. If UNC wins that game, they will probably move up to #1, even though they have 2 losses and (assuming they win both games this week) the Tigers will only have 1. Which irks.

But the most important thing to me at this point is that the Tigers are a number 1 seed and that they play in Little Rock. UNC would be placed in Raleigh (I'd think), so if they're ahead of us on Selection Sunday it's not going to hurt us on that. Actually, there aren't many teams that (if we're a 1 seed) would take our spot in Little Rock and push us to another city. UCLA would go to Anaheim, the Vols are closer to Birmingham (or D.C., as Cal likes to say), Kansas to Omaha. Texas is the one that might give us a problem. But they'd have to be above us and I'm not sure how that could happen.

Anyway, there's not much we can say about all that until Selection Sunday rolls around. In the meantime, though, we still need to address one game at a time. There are four games left in the regular season, two home, two away, and tonight's game is at home against Tulsa. We're favored by 18.5. I'd take that bet, because I think the Tigers will be in the mood to put the smackdown on somebody, and too bad for the Hurricane that they drew this day. We'll see, though, won't we?

Monday, February 18, 2008

Dewey & Truman? No, UAB and Memphis

Looks like ESPN jumped the gun a little on Saturday night, publishing an article about our loss before the game was over... They should really know better. But what a game, right? And the aftermath.... I have faith that when UAB comes into the Forum for our Senior Day, our fans won't return the favor and start a brawl.

I didn't get to see the game (DirecTV really needs to carry CSS) and I don't know if I wish I'd seen it or if I should be grateful I missed it for the sake of my cardiac health. I will be able to watch the rest of the games this season, they are all on CSTV or ESPN.

Speaking of ESPN. Just a little mention of Saturday's game against the Vols. #1 vs. #2? SERIOUSLY? I just don't know if I can handle it. Thank the good Lord I am not going to the game, I might seriously LOSE MY MIND. I know that the Vols could beat us. But I also know we can beat the Vols. We can beat anyone in the country, in my opinion. It all depends on which team shows up, and we all know that the guys have shown up for the big games this year-- UConn, USC, Georgetown (I mean, come on), Arizona, Gonzaga... There is no way that the FedExForum won't be completely on FIRE and it should be one of the best basketball games EVER.

And I'll be here, trying to gather a few friends (nobody in this town cares about college basketball) wearing my "Hey Tennessee-- You Suck" t-shirt, yelling like crazy. Maybe the Tigers will hear me, all the way from here.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Zags Schmags

I would lying if I said I wasn't a little nervous about tomorrow's game against Gonzaga. I haven't pulled myself back from the ledge. But I'm confident-- it's not that I think they'll lose, it's just that I'm nervous because they could. If we had lost one early game, it wouldn't feel so vital that they keep doing it, right? I mean, there's a reason so many people want the Patriots to lose, and that same reason has many cheering against the Tigers now.

I saw this little video this morning on YouTube. "Bring your five, it can't get better than this; You can't win, your five ain't even better than their bench." "Please Memphis, don't beat us no more." Hee.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Bored. And sad.

I don't get CSS out here. I certainly don't get WLMT. I didn't see the Siena game. Or Pepperdine. Or ECU. Or Marshall. And I won't see Rice tonight. Or Southern Miss on Saturday. Fortunately, I do have CSTV, so I can watch next Wednesday's game against Tulsa (and several of the remaining games), and of course the Gonzaga game and Tennessee game are both of ESPN. The early season was awesome because almost every game was on national television. I miss my Tigers.

My only consolation is the Gametracker, where you can watch little player icons shoot and rebound. But it's not the same.

That is all.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

I'm on the brink of a nervous breakdown

I'm seriously a little bit scared now.

For years, since I started going to Tiger basketball games in the fall of 1992, I've been saying it. Every year, almost at least, I've said, "This is the year!" And I always mean it, call it naivete or hopeless optimism or refusal to face reality. But seriously, y'all?

This IS the year.

And I'm really freaking out about it a little. I'm more nervous about each game than I would be if the team was only mediocre. Because, for reals, we could go all the way. We could go undefeated or one-defeated or whatever, but we could SERIOUSLY BE PLAYING FOR THE CHAMPIONSHIP.

Georgetown was one thing. That game? That game was a thing of beauty. It was everything a college basketball game could be, the only thing missing was ME in the Forum. But then Arizona came along. This could trip them up, can they keep themselves pumped for a game after something as exhilarating as Georgetown?

Um, yeah. They can. And now? Now I'm just whipped into a tizzy, counting down each game, trying to keep myself under control while mentally figuring out how in the heck I'm going to afford to go to all 6 games in the tournament if it should happen because no way in hell am I missing it and hopefully we'll play in Little Rock for the first two games so I can find a friend with a couch or a guest room and then I can caravan with thousands of Memphis fans across the River with our flags flying on our car windows and how much fun would that be and I really cannot wait and oh gosh I better not count my chickens before they hatch because I don't want to jinx anything but still that would be so awesome I've forgotten to use punctuation.

And because of this possibility, every game has the potential to push me over the edge. Siena, tonight? Oh Lord, don't let them beat us. Anything can happen. If we beat them it's good for our RPI (currently we're no. 1, you know), and we need a good RPI come March and we really need a high seed in the tourney. Maybe it's a good thing you can't get CSS out in my new neck of the woods, because I'm not sure I could stand it. I won't be able to watch a game until the Gonzaga game. That's THREE WHOLE WEEKS away. Maybe in that time I can get a grip. But somehow? I doubt it.