Sunday, February 22, 2009

What a Difference a Year Makes

I spent the day re-reading the posts I wrote last season. All the way back to October, when I made my reservations for San Antonio (which turned out to not be a jinx at all and came in quite handy), I knew that last year was something special. I didn't know much about Derrick Rose, but I knew that people were amazed by him. I knew we were expected to do great things. Knowing this made it worse. The season was stress-ridden for me. Every game was cause for anxiety. And when I finally made the trip to San Antonio, it was amazing. It was entirely worth spending the money I didn't have. It was also worth the disappointment at the outcome. But the weekend itself was amazing, and it will be a great memory that will last my lifetime.

This season? This season has been different from the beginning. I didn't blog much (or at all, really) this year. I didn't pay nearly as close attention to what was going on. Yes, I read the Commercial Appeal every day. And I watch the games that I can. But this was supposed to be a rebuilding year, nobody expected much, we were supposed to be incredibly lucky to make the Sweet Sixteen, if even that. So I wasn't investing nearly as much energy. And then... something happened. They found a point guard. They started winning. And they didn't stop.

The Tigers now #5 in one poll and #6 in the other. Tomorrow, they will likely rise at least one spot, and have the potential to rise two. Other teams are losing. But not the Tigers. Most bracketologists think we're a lock for a 2 seed. We're closing in a 1 seed. And it's happening without people noticing. We're not on national TV as much this year (except for this Thursday on ESPN2, 8pm CT), and we've been under the radar for the most part.

Hubert Davis thinks we're going to the Final Four, though he's just about the only one right now. But I wouldn't best against it at this point.

Even if it isn't supposed to be our year.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Where did the season go?

It's mid-February, it's been a very interesting season, and I haven't blogged about it, not really, since November. I am a slacker of the utmost degree.

But while I wasn't blogging and most of the country wasn't paying attention, the Tigers have sneaked back up into the Top 10. They've won every game since Tyreke Evans took over the point. And they look suspiciously familiar. You know, like the teams we've seen in the past four years.

Seriously, Memphis fans, do you realize what we've been dealing with for the past few years? Two number 1 seeds, a 2 seed, 2 Elite Eights and a National Championship game? This year was supposed to be the year off, the year Sweet Sixteen was likely out of reach, the year we just hoped to hold things together while we waited for next year's recruits. It was the year where the players didn't have chemistry, where they weren't a brotherhood, just some guys on a court with a ball. Someone forgot to tell the team, I guess.

Last weekend's game at Gonzaga was quite a thing of beauty, a huge game for the Tigers. Nationally televised, with the chance to either prove the country right or wrong. But tonight is big too, especially in the conference, since Tulsa could snatch a tie in the conference championship, but any loss now will hurt. The Tigers are favored right now by 13.5, and that seems slightly optimistic given the way our last game at Tulsa ended, with me screaming at the television and Antonio Anderson sinking a last second shot.

But, if the Tigers just keep winning, we may be in for a very familiar scene come March. And I, for one, can't wait.