Blog Entry

Memphis lost again (but will be fine)

Posted on: December 17, 2011 9:05 pm
Edited on: December 17, 2011 9:44 pm
By Gary Parrish

MEMPHIS -- The easiest thing to do is point to last season and insist this is exactly the same.

But it's not the same.

Despite Memphis' 5-4 record and lack of number beside its name, these Tigers aren't like those Tigers because those Tigers were awful. They were 8-1 at this point last season, and that looked OK on the surface. But they had been blasted by Kansas, struggled with Miami and LSU and taken to overtime by Arkansas State and Austin Peay. Memphis never really got better and went on to finish 10-6 in Conference USA. It was a bad season. But it won't happen again.

Because this team is not that team.

So while this city is in (basketball) panic-mode after Saturday's 95-87 loss at fourth-ranked Louisville that dealt the Tigers their fourth defeat in nine games, it's worth reminding people that context matters. Memphis hasn't been pushed by the likes of Arkansas State and Austin Peay. The four losses this season are to four ranked teams -- namely No. 4 Louisville, No. 16 Georgetown, No. 20 Michigan and No. 24 Murray State -- and the Tigers were in three of those four games until the final minute.

Is that good?


They need to learn how to close and win.

A team ranked 11th in the preseason shouldn't have four losses already.

But a lot of the questions that plagued last season's team aren't issues with this season's team. They're much better offensively (top 30 in offensive efficiency), and they have an obvious star in Will Barton (28 points and 16 rebounds on Saturday). That's why Memphis will get rolling once league play begins and string wins in January like John Calipari's teams used to do.

Which reminds me of the 2008-09 Memphis team.

You remember that team?

That team started 6-3 with losses to Xavier, Georgetown and Syracuse, and that team didn't look good through nine games, either. But then Tyreke Evans turned into a star and the Tigers started overwhelming overmatched opponents in Conference USA, and my guess is that this season will evolve into something similar to that season. Does that mean I'm predicting a 27-game winning streak? No. But I do believe the Tigers will win 13 or 14 C-USA games, take the league title, win the C-USA tournament at FedExForum, make the NCAA tournament and be a scary outfit on their side of the bracket in March. All the advanced statistics suggest that's likely because all the advanced statistics suggest this team is closer to the 2008-09 team that overachieved than it is to the 2010-11 team that underachieved.

Bottom line, Memphis will be fine.

I really believe that.

The 5-4 record looks bad right now, obviously.

But I bet it's still something like 26-8 on Selection Sunday.


Since: Apr 20, 2009
Posted on: December 19, 2011 2:16 pm

Memphis lost again (but will be fine)

I agree on Wesley. He's just doesn't fit with the group Coach has brought in and is the last player left from Cal's days
It must have been especially galling for Wesley when Cal left because Cal didn't want him. He took the other recruits and left him out. I do give W.W credit for not transfering and sticking with Memphis when we were left high and dry, but he wasn't Pastner's, he was Cal's except that Cal didn't want him any more. Tough break.

I do think that Wesley just needs to suck it up and perform to the high level he's capable of. He just doesn't seem very self motivated, but I don't know him and what he's thinking inside. He's not the leader a senior should be. Barton, on the other hand, gets it and now he needs to make sure the rest of the team gets it to.

I think a team meeting needs to be called, without any coaches, and let these guys work it out amongst themselves. Some guys need to be called out by their teammates. Pastner needs to step back and let them go at it. He can only do so much....ultimately it's the players that play the game. Team chemistry is up to them!

Go Tigers...screw Mikey...etc.Smile

Since: Dec 19, 2011
Posted on: December 19, 2011 11:56 am

Memphis lost again (but will be fine)

My comment was for TERES MINOR

Since: Dec 19, 2011
Posted on: December 19, 2011 11:55 am

Memphis lost again (but will be fine)

WOW, are you stupid lol. Memphis didn't have teams full of McDonald's All-Americans when Calipari was there. They have several blue chip players on their team now however. Cal developed players when he was there. He only had a couple of blue chip recruits while at Memphis.


Since: Jun 5, 2011
Posted on: December 19, 2011 10:33 am

Memphis lost again because they can't cheat now

Memphis is not the program it was under John Calipari.  They can't cheat to bring in elite recruits, and they are no longer fielding a Duke-style team full of McDonald's All-Americans.  Memphis is now finding their true watermark: that of a decent team but not an elite one.  They are good enough to compete for the CUSA title, but would probably be just another OK team in a conference like the Big East or the ACC.  
So, while Memphis can be proud that they aren't cheating anymore, they will have to settle for being "one of the boys" instead of one of the leaders.  This does raise an interesting question, though.  How does a school like Duke or UNC bring in so many elite players year after year after year?  What are they offering that makes a lot of players prefer to sit on the bench at their schools over starting at another school?  
Perhaps the biggest scandal in NCAA basketball is yet to come. 

Since: Jan 22, 2008
Posted on: December 19, 2011 9:51 am

Memphis lost again (but will be fine)

Good grief you  Mike you are obcessed with your hate for Memphis, but you are wrong again.  Mrmphis won that game.  If you must post your hate at least get your facts correct.

Since: Jan 22, 2008
Posted on: December 19, 2011 9:49 am

Memphis lost again (but will be fine)

We were not one and done last year.  We lost 2nd game (barely) to Arizona.   Get  your facts correct.

Since: Nov 29, 2007
Posted on: December 19, 2011 12:17 am

Memphis lost again (but will be fine)

I agree on Wesley. He's just doesn't fit with the group Coach has brought in and is the last player left from Cal's days. 

Since: Nov 2, 2006
Posted on: December 18, 2011 6:15 pm

Memphis lost again (but will be fine)

Memphis played a great game against a greater Louisville team... Im glad the rivalry is back between the two schools... I hope Memphis can somehow join the big east...

Since: Jan 13, 2011
Posted on: December 18, 2011 3:11 pm

Memphis lost again (but will be fine)

Well as far as the Tennessee game their coach wanted to win the game so he had the players pumped up and at that time Tennessee did not know how bad they are and they played hard also we have new big guys this year that have to learn in a hurry and in HawIi they had no clue where to be or what to do look at out rebounds. They looked much better in the Louisville game and will get better, also very few teams play this many ranked teams early we do because of the conference were in. Also like the guy said every year Callapari was here they always looked terrible early in the season and with better players also. And remember a good coach can not win many games with bad players and it's hard to recruit good players but Josh did that so give him some time and between him and the other coaches they will put the pcs in the right place and will get it going. Last but not least we have very good players but Cal had better big men most of the time just look at Kentuckys big men this year so hang in their and lower the bar just a hair for a while.

Since: Oct 20, 2008
Posted on: December 18, 2011 2:42 pm

Memphis lost again (but will be fine)

But I bet it's still something like 26-8 on Selection Sunday.
With zero quality wins.  They'll be one and done in the NCAA tourney, again.

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