Tigers inching way up the polls
U of M up one spot; Rice next on slate
By Dan Wolken
February 20, 2007
The University of Memphis didn't quite make the top five Monday, as coach John Calipari predicted over the weekend. But the Tigers did inch closer, moving up from No. 8 to No. 7 in both the Associated Press and ESPN/USA Today polls.
It's Memphis' highest ranking of the season, following Saturday's 78-77 overtime victory over Gonzaga at Spokane Arena. Memphis is 22-3 overall (ACTUALLY THEY ARE 23-3, BUT WHO IS COUNTING, ED.) and 12-0 in Conference USA heading into Thursday's nationally televised game against Rice at FedExForum.
With a win, Memphis will clinch at least a share of the C-USA regular-season title.
"Last year, (being highly ranked) was more of a surprise than anything. This year, we expected to be this good because we worked hard," sophomore guard Antonio Anderson said. "Now we know where we are and what we need to do to keep this thing going."
More important than the polls, Memphis solidified its claim for a high NCAA Tournament seed on Saturday. The Tigers are No. 9 in the RPI, according to Ken Pomeroy's calculations on kenpom.com.
Memphis has won 15 consecutive games, which is the nation's longest win streak. If the Tigers win their four remaining regular-season games and the C-USA Tournament to finish with a 30-3 record, they will remain in the top 10 of the RPI and the polls.
Though Calipari brought up the idea Memphis could get a second consecutive No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament, the Tigers would need several teams in front of them to lose multiple times.
"I'm not sure, I don't know," sophomore guard Chris Douglas-Roberts said of the possibility of a No. 1 seed. "We lost to Georgia Tech, and they're not ranked, and Tennessee. I don't know, but we should be a high seed."
-- Dan Wolken: 529-2365