NCAA first round: Memphis vs. North Texas
Calipari delighted with second seed; 'Now we have to play that way'
By Dan Wolken
March 12, 2007
Despite some nervous moments Sunday as the NCAA Tournament field was released, the University of Memphis basketball team ultimately got everything it hoped for.
Not only did the Tigers grab the No. 2 seed they felt they deserved, but they also will be staying relatively close to home in the South Regional. Memphis opens the tournament Friday in New Orleans against No. 15 seed North Texas, coached by former interim Tigers coach Johnny Jones.
Should Memphis win that game, it would play the winner of No. 7 seed Nevada and No. 10 seed Creighton on Sunday. With two wins, Memphis would advance to the Sweet 16 in San Antonio.
Memphis, ranked No. 5 in the national polls, was slotted as the tournament's No. 6 overall seed on the strength of its 30-3 record and 22-game winning streak.
"We played well enough to get a (No. 2)," coach John Calipari said. "Not only were we a two, we were the second two. It's not like we were on the end. So when everybody said three or four, they weren't even close. We were a solid two. Now we have to go play that way."
The Tigers received the news Sunday afternoon while gathered at Calipari's house to watch the NCAA Selection Show on CBS. As Memphis' placement was announced, CBS cameras in Calipari's living room captured the jubilant reaction.
The bracket of the South Regional was the last one to be announced, which took away some of the surprise. The only question was whether Memphis or Texas A&M would be the No. 2 seed opposite No. 1 seed Ohio State.
Texas A&M wound up as the No. 3 seed, meaning the Aggies could have the advantage of playing in nearby San Antonio should they advance.
"I think we're in a good position," sophomore guard Chris Douglas-Roberts said. "It didn't matter where they put us, because we had to throw the ball up and play anyway."
-- Dan Wolken: 529-2365