There is definitely something to the Tigers in the Camp Cal period. For the third game in a row, I thought the Tigers had a solid game all around. Its not to say there still aren't weaknesses and a few problems, but I feel like they have turned the corner.
First off look at the field goal shooting. Cincy (59.3%), Houston (60.0%) and Sou Miss (46.3%). Those are really good numbers with two of those games on the road. Yes, I know, its C-USA, but they still have to play them and win them.
Ok, let's look at the game.
I felt like the Tigers had good control of the game throughout and never went into panic mode even when they trailed. Southern played a really good game. While I know Eustachy wasn't thrilled with the officiating, Memphis did get fouled alot. Sure fans could say that Memphis never should have been behind in the game and in fact they should have had a bigger lead at the half considering Southern's 25% FG shooting, but I really have few complaints.
How about Joey Dorsey? I think he is finally starting to get it. The media has reported that Joey told Cal he wants to be the next Ben Wallace - rebound, defense and block shots. He still has a long way to go, but I like the role model.
Check out Joey's line for the last three games:
Cincy 3-3 FGs, 0-2 FTs, 10 RBs, 5 BLKs, 4 TOs
Houston 4-7 FGs, 0-0 FTs, 10 RBS, 3 BLKs, 1 TO
Sou Miss 4-5 FGs, 6-9 FTs, 11 RBs, 6 BLKs, 4 TO
That is 73.3% from the field, 54.5% from the line, 10.3 RB/game, 4.67 blocks/game and 3 turnovers/game.
Memphis can go a long way when Joey plays like this. If Joey can limit the turnovers a bit there is something to build on.
I was happy so see Cal do some experimenting playing with the big line up (Dorsey and Cooper). It certainly did change their offensive dynamics. Instead of rotating the ball around the outside you saw a lot of dribble drives and clear outs. The result was only 5 assists in the game, but the Tigers were fouled often and responded with 72% free throw shooting in the game.
You can tell I'm in a good mood because I almost have nothing to say negative about Andre Allen. I thought he had a really good game (for him). I could have done without two of his 3 point shots (the first and the last one), but overall I was very pleased with his game and particularly his defense.
Antonio Anderson, where has that shooting been? He is 4 of 5 from 3 point range over the past two games. CDR is 3 of 3 from 3 point range on the road swing. That is so big because it takes pressure off of Jeremy Hunt having to be the only guy who can give you a big 3 pointer down the strech.
And speaking of a big 3 pointer down the strech, that is exactly what Hunt did versus Southern. It was probably the biggest shot of the game.
CDR and Dozier where excellent. Both made big baskets throughout and CDR's 82% from the FT line sealed the game.
Kemp has been a bit disappointing the past two games, but I'll forgive a freshman especially after the monster game he had 10 days ago against Cincinnati. He has to pick up his defense or he'll continue to watch Andre Allen get his minutes at the point. Kemp in fact played his season low in minutes while Allen played 24, 6 over his season average.
I think people have to give Southern Miss some credit. They have some really talented freshman that could make a difference in the next couple of years. Stone, Stephens and Wise are all freshman while Beasley and Craft are only sophomores. I expect Southern to be a top 3 C-USA team the next two years. Their RPI is #132 today. I suspect they are a solid NIT team this year.
I am really excited about where the Tigers are at the moment. I am not taking anything away from UAB, but Memphis is playing their best ball of the season and it is a great time to do so in the midst of a 3 game road trip against better teams in the conference.