RESULTS| STATS| HISTORY | MESSAGE BOARD | MEMPHIS INSIDER
RECORD: - REGION: West SEED: 7|
COACH: John Calipari CONFERENCE: AAC
Road to the Final Four ...................................................................................
This is a good team with a great inside presence in
Chris Massie. Opponents have double-teamed Massie since he joined the team
in January. He has answered the call by averaging a double-double.
Rodney Carney is a high flying athlete that can hit shots, while Antonio Burks is
a good point guard that can score and distribute. John Calipari has a
group of overachievers that reminds you of his teams at UMass. Memphis is a
good defensive team and a tough-minded group.
|Player to Watch|
Think Coach Cal is happy Mr. Massie hit the books during the fall semester? NCAAs are much more fun than season of NBDL.
How They Got Here
This time, Memphis didn't have to sweat out Selection Sunday -- or feel lousy after the brackets were released without the Tigers.
The Tigers were left out last year and had to settle for winning the NIT. This time around they're not only in the Dance, they're among the more dangerous teams coming in.
Memphis bolted out of the gate with an attention-grabbing opening win over Syracuse on a neutral floor, the added another high-voltage win over Illinois in December. When muscleman Chris Massie regained his eligibility after the first semester, the Tigers looked like a dark horse title contender.
Then came an ugly January stretch in which Memphis lost to lesser lights South Florida, Saint Louis and Southern Mississippi by an incomprehensible 17 in Hattiesburg. All of a sudden it looked like the Tigers were coming a cropper.
But a soft stretch of schedule served to rebuild confidence, and then Memphis went into Freedom Hall and authoritatively handled Louisville for 40 minutes. That certified the Tigers as a legitimate national power, and they kept on winning until running into an inspired Cardinals team in a C-USA tournament rematch. They ended the regular season on an 11-game winning streak, getting great play from point guard Antonio Burks during that stretch.
What We Like
Memphis is finishing on a powerful roll. It might have best low-post offensive player in the country in Massie -- at the very least he's the strongest. Calipari surrounds him with enough three-ball shooters to make the Tigers a nightmare to defend. Calipari has done very well in March, be it the Big Dance or the little one (NIT). This team doesn't lapse often on defense, either.
What We Don't Like
Any team reliant on three-ball at least stands a chance of shooting itself out of the Dance, especially if Massie is blanketed inside. There's not a player on the team with a shred of NCAA experience, and the Tigers still have some moments where you question the overall IQ of this team.