Monday, January 28, 2008
Jeff Goodman - College Hoop Blog: Good 'N Plenty
College Hoop Blog: Good 'N Plenty
Now I can book my trip to Memphis for Feb. 23.
The top-ranked Tigers dispatched of Gonzaga and in doing so, ran their record to a perfect 19-0. They are one of just two remaining unbeaten teams left in the country, but unlike Kansas, John Calipari’s club has a fairly clear road – except for a date on Feb. 23.
That’s when Tennessee comes to town.
Calipari and Vols coach Bruce Pearl won’t say it publicly, but they don’t like one another.
It’ll be a war.
Getting back to the Tigers, they came out of the gates in both the first and second half against the Zags with plenty of intensity. Sometimes it’s easy to forget what a difference freshman Derrick Rose can make.
The Tigers were up just three points early in the second half when Rose buried a 3-pointer. On the next possession, he found Antonio Anderson for a fastbreak dunk that gave Memphis an eight-point lead that was never really threatened the rest of the way.
This isn’t the same team as the previous two that were ousted in the Elite Eight – primarily due to the addition of Rose. However, the Tigers still have one glaring deficiency that could keep them from getting to the Final Four.
The Tigers were just 6-of-24 from long distance, but even more worrisome is their inconsistency from the charity stripe.
It’s a safe bet that Memphis will be the worst free throw shooting team in the NCAA tournament. The Tigers entered the game shooting 58.5 percent from the line, fifth-worst in the entire country (for comparison, North Carolina is shooting 76 percent as a team). Memphis made 59 percent against the ‘Zags and missed a few down the stretch.
The bottom line is that Memphis has continued to win. The knock is that they haven’t beaten a single NCAA tournament team in a road game and they shouldn’t be tested in the next seven league games.
While Conference USA is improved from a year ago, there aren't any teams capable of receiving an at-large bid.
Memphis' next – and final regular-season test – will likely come against the Vols. Exactly one month from today.