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Sunday, March 04, 2007

My Commentary (and Saga) on the SMU Game - Let's Hear It for Effort!!! (From Both the Team and the Fan)

Ok, so I'm out with the wife and kids bowling knowing that the Memphis game starts late tonight. We get home, get the kids fed and bathed and in the bed by 9:00 pm. This is great, I can catch most of the game.

Oh yeah, it isn't being shown on basic cable (CSTV is only on the premium cable offering). Ok, no problem. I ask the wife if she is cool with me driving down the street to catch the game at a bar. Sure. No problem.

And so my adventure begins..........

I get in the car, turn on the radio and quickly learn the Tigers are down by four, 21-25, but have made a nice come back after being down 3-14 early. Dave Woloshin, WREG 600 Radio, informs me that the Tiger defense has brought them back into the game.

I pull into Huey's at Houston Levee Rd and Poplar Ave. in Collerville (TN) and rush into the bar. The bartender tells me they only have basic cable. She says they're too cheap to add premium service, but she says that Chili's probably has the game.

So off I fly. Now Dave Woloshin tells me that Memphis has caught up with SMU and holds a slim one point lead. Joey Dorsey has picked up his 2nd foul and is sitting on the bench. Pierre Niles is getting some extended minutes and even scores a few buckets. Neither team is shoting particularly well. Both teams are 37% from the floor.

Next, I dash into the parking lot of Chili's in Collierville. Nope, only basic cable at Chili's. Now I'm getting frustrated because I now have to back track west toward Memphis to find a t.v. with premium Comcast cable.

I drive west for about 10 minutes. Memphis is still hanging on to a mild lead. They are up three with the ball and we are under one minute remaining in the first half. Dave Woloshin informs me that the Tigers have had some really rotten luck in the game. Nothing seems to being going right for Memphis. The Tigers fail to score and SMU holds that ball for the last shot of the half. SMU shoots and misses, but, oh no, SMU picks up the offensive rebound and scores with a second to go.

Tigers 29, Mustangs 28 at the half.

I pull into the East End Grill at the corner of Winchester Rd. and Hacks Cross Rd. in Memphis (just across the street from the world headquarters of Fed Ex Express). Nope, strike three, they have satelite - no CSTV.

Ok, it is half time so I figure I've got enough time to make it to Hooter's. They surely will have the game. They are a sports bar afterall.

I jump on Bill Morris Parkway heading west. I exit at Ridgeway Rd. and swing over to Mt. Moriah. I know that Hooter's is somewhere on the South side of the street but I don't see it. Finally, I make out the sign, but oddly the sign has no lights. Well, now I know why. It looks like the whole place is shut down.

I can't believe this. I'm 0 for 4. This is like Tiger free throw shooting.

So, I figure I'm down to my last option - The Fox and the Hound on Sanderlin. Right next door to Cal's Champion Steakhouse. If this one doesn't have the game, I decide I'm snake bit and I'll head on home and keep listening to Dave Woloshin.

Now, I'm heading north on White Station Rd. in East Memphis. Forrest Goodman has given me the complete Top 25 scoreboard and the second half is about to begin. Dave Woloshin is hopeing for a more inspired beginning to the second half than what was exhibited by the Tigers opening the game. He notes that the Tigers may have come into this one too relaxed considering they had pounded SMU a month earlier by 36 points.

Oh no, Joey Dorsey picks up his 3rd personal foul on an over the back call on the Tiger's first offensive possession. Kareem Cooper is coming back in.

I finally pull into the parking lot of the Fox and the Hound. Man, where am I going to park? This place is packed. They must have the game.

I race inside and, yes, it is packed. No room to sit and eat. I make it up to the bar and wait for a chance to buy a Bud Light. The big screen t.v. is just over head.

And so my struggle to see the Tigers is not wasted.

But what a display. The Tigers seem to be playing very hard, almost too hard sometimes. Memphis' defense is gambling so much they are picking up fouls trying to steal the ball and they are getting burned on a few SMU drives to the basket.

The game goes back and forth. SMU's Rackauskas makes two shots in a row from the right side of the lane. Suddenly, our defense looks too porous.

But wait, what happened. Yes, Rackauskas has picked up his 5th personal.

While the score doesn't seem to denote it, the Rackauskas
loss seems to provide a confidence boost. And man do the Tigers need something. Lady luck has completely left tonight.

The Tigers get a rebound, wait, no, Dozier falls down and is called for traveling.

Willie Kemp get a pass from Jeremy Hunt in the left corner. No wait, the pass was ankle high and Kemp bobbles it. It rolls through his legs and over the base line. Turnover.

The Tigers steal the inbounds pass and whip it around to the left side where Andre Allen, what are you doing?, shoots a fall away three pointer. The glances off the right iron and SMU snags the rebound.

Man, no luck tonight.

This is getting a bit concerning. Finally, something good happens. CDR nails a three pointer with about 3:47 to go. Memphis regains the lead, up two. Let's go. Play that hard nose defense. Ken Pomeroy says your the 5th best defense in the nation.

We go back and forth with noone scoring, finally SMU scores to make a it a one point game on a free throw by Ofoegbu.

1:37 left, Now Memphis needs a good posession. They spread the floor looking for a seam in the zone. No opening. The shot clock is under 10. Hunt shoots an off-balance 3 point shot. Dorsey rebounds and puts back the follow. Tigers up by 3.

1:00 to go, SMU takes a 3 pointer, it's off, Dorsey rebounds, timeout Tigers.

22 seconds, Jeremy Hunt is fouled. No problem. He is a senior. No, no you can't miss. Ok, he makes the second one. Tigers up by 4.

SMU's Devon Pearson shoots from the left side of the three point line. Antonio Anderson flys by to complicate the shot. Pearson is leaning on the shot. It is a long way out. Are you kidding me? He hit it. The Tiger lead is just one.

14 seconds, Tiger's inbound, CDR is fouled. Come on Chris. You are the clear choice for C-USA Player of the Year. No, you can't miss the free throw. Another miss. Your killing me. Dozier great tip back on the rebound. Right into the CDR's hands.

Ok Chris, enough fooling around. Swish, Swish - ball game.

Now that was fun.

If you think C-USA sucks, you didn't watch the UTEP Miners Thursday or the SMU Mustangs tonight. Very few teams would have beaten either team.

Very good Tigers - 16-0 in conference play. 19 games in a row.

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