The Tigers also deserve backslaps for the way they survived and advanced. They overcame a Final Four-caliber A&M team and an A&M crowd that outnumbered Memphis fans by 20 to 1 ... 50 to 1? More?
No wonder, as Memphis coach John Calipari waited to do his postgame interview with CBS, that he walked toward the Tigers' section of the Alamodome, such as it was, and pointed at them. And kept pointing.
"We ... played guys I haven't played all year, in this game, in this environment," said Calipari. "And in the end, made a couple of free throws, made a couple of baskets and walked away with a W in front of 30,000 Aggies, which makes it even more of an amazing thing."
Calipari exaggerated the size of the crowd, but not by much.
Meanwhile, A&M's players took turns blaming themselves for the loss. Acie Law IV missed a layup with 47 seconds that could have given the Aggies a three-point lead.
"That play cost us the game," he said.
Next up was center Antanas Kavaliauskas, who dominated in the post, especially in the first half. Kavaliauskas finished with 17 points, but lost out in a frenzied fight for a rebound near the end of the game (Memphis' Antonio Anderson was fouled during a putback shot, and subsequently made the game-winning free throws).
Gene Wojciechowski is the senior national columnist for ESPN.com. You can contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.