Blog Entry

UTEP ends Memphis' C-USA winning streak

Posted on: January 21, 2010 12:43 am
Edited on: January 21, 2010 12:53 am
 

MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- UTEP beat Memphis here at FedExForum on Wednesday night.

Thus, the 64-game Conference USA winning streak is over.

Memphis had the ball in the final seconds with a chance to tie. But that chance resulted in a Willie Kemp turnover, and when Christian Polk sank a pair of free throws the Miners -- with three starters from Memphis -- exited the court with a 72-67 win. Afterward I talked to UTEP coach (and former Memphis assistant) Tony Barbee about it, and he was predictably pleased -- just like Randy Culpepper, the Memphis City Schools product who got a huge steal and layup in the final minute to create a cushion for the Miners. Then I packed my stuff, got in my car and drove out of downtown while listening to the Tigers postgame show, and the callers presented one reason after another for the streak ending at 64, many of which revolved around the pressure of the streak itself.

But that's not really true.

Want to know why Memphis lost for the first time in 65 C-USA games?

It's because Memphis was out-manned for the first time in 65 C-USA games.

Period.

End of streak.

"I think so, too," Barbee responded when I told him I thought he had better players than Memphis, and -- don't get it twisted -- he didn't mean it in a disrespectful way. Barbee went on to talk about the dominance of the Memphis program, everything it lost when John Calipari left for Kentucky, and the fact that Josh Pastner is recruiting at a level that'll have the Tigers nationally relevant again soon. "But this is a rebuilding year," Barbee said. "No coach ever wants to say it. But Josh knows this is a rebuilding year."

Credit Barbee for nailing it.

It would've been easy for him to stand there and act like he just beat a Memphis team like the Memphis teams led by Rodney Carney or Chris Douglas-Roberts or Derrick Rose or Tyreke Evans, but that's not the type of Memphis team he beat. Rather, he beat a Memphis team that lost its top four scorers from last season as well as a recruiting class that would've included John Wall, Xavier Henry, DeMarcus Cousins and Darnell Dodson, and it's not going to be too difficult for teams with two pros -- like UTEP has with Arnett Moultrie and Derrick Caracter -- to beat that kind of team, even if said team plays in jerseys with "Memphis" stitched across the front.

That said, it's still a big win for UTEP.

It's a win that put the Miners' talent on display on a larger-than-usual stage, a statement-win that suggests UTEP is good enough to win C-USA and make the NCAA tournament for the first time in Barbee's four seasons. Beyond that, it was special for the Memphis guys in the UTEP uniforms -- specifically Moultrie, Culpepper and Jeremy Williams, none of whom were seriously recruited by Memphis out of high school.

They combined for 34 points against the Tigers.

So the Memphis streak was basically broken by Memphis products.

"It's big for them because they grew up wanting to play for Memphis," Barbee said. Later, Culpepper echoed that thought, and added that he had actually been pulling for the Tigers to win their first three league games so that he could play a role in ending the C-USA winning streak.

"I wanted them to win all their games," Culpepper said. "I didn't want anybody to beat them until we got our chance."

That chance came Wednesday night.

"And we were ready," Culpepper said. "It's a great win for us."
Comments

Since: Jul 10, 2008
Posted on: January 21, 2010 4:12 pm
 

UTEP ends Memphis' C-USA winning streak

Now he writes about memphis.



Since: Jan 21, 2010
Posted on: January 21, 2010 1:53 pm
 

UTEP ends Memphis' C-USA winning streak

LET ME ROLL SOMETHING TO ALL YOU C-USA SCHOOLS THAT ARE AS HAPPY AS A SISSY IN A CC CAMP. LOVE IT THIS YEAR BECAUSE YOU WILL CRYING IN YOUR MILK NEXT YEAR AND MANY MORE TO COME. CONSIDERING THAT SITUATION THIS TEAM HAS DONE WELL. WHAT OTHER PROGRAM CFOULD REBOUND FROM HAVING THEIR PROGRAM COMPLETELY TAKEN AWAY TO KENTUCKY (INCLUDING,NO KIDDING,THE ICE MACHINE).YA'LL KNOW WE HAVE THE NO.1 CLASS FOR NEXT SEASON AND WILL ADD ON TO THAT NUMBER IN THE LATE PERIOD.NO ONLY THIS IS A WARNING TO C-USA FOR NEXT YEAR LET THE ENTIRE COUNTRY BEWARE.THE MEMPHIS TIGERS WILL RISE AGAIN!!!!



Since: Jun 13, 2009
Posted on: January 21, 2010 1:24 pm
 

UTEP ends Memphis' C-USA winning streak

Memphis still has the regular season streak record.  Yeah, this would have been nice, but I can live with the loss as long as it leads to accomplishing a better goal.  Memphis still is in the hunt for the CUSA title.  A berth in the NCAA tournament would be sweet after what the team had to endure in the off season.  It would also show that Pastner is more than a recruiter.  Looking at the game and the teams as Gary pointed out Memphis may have had less talent but they did some things better in this game than any other this season.  While they were out rebounded, it was a slim margin and UTEP had more experience on the inside.  I saw considerably more battling for the ball under the goal on Memphis part than any other game this season.  A couple of easy grabs got away but they did not just give the ball up because UTEP was closer to it.  Williams is using his right more and becoming more effective with it.  They had easy baskets by Niles and Coleman because of some good drives and dishes.  They have been doing this more and this game it seemed more proficient.  Kemp, other than the turnover at the end of the game, has shown more consistancy and better judgement each game out.  Witherspoon is looking more capable of handling all the stuff he is being asked to do.  This game may have been about a streak ending or a coming out party for UTEP according to the media and many fans may be dejected about not taking the record from UK, but that has never been the main goal for any NCAA team.  The goal was and remains to be to make it to the big dance.  Being a number 2 seed last year was not as great an accomplishment for Memphis than if this team makes the NCAA tournament.  Two roads exist to make it.  The most reliable is winning the CUSA tournament.  Winning the regular season could also do it, but then you leave it up the committee.  Tiger fans, look at the things this team needs to improve on and see if they are doing it.  Keep your head up. 
Go, Tigers, Go!



Since: Mar 16, 2009
Posted on: January 21, 2010 12:41 pm
 

UTEP ends Memphis' C-USA winning streak

The streak will start over next year.  Tongue out



Since: Oct 30, 2006
Posted on: January 21, 2010 12:26 pm
 

UTEP ends Memphis' C-USA winning streak

SIGH... can they at least get an * by that win? Why, because that cheating mofo Calipari left your program in "ruins"? So much that you almost knocked off Kansas this season and were undefeated in CUSA play? Because it was at Memphis ?


Nope. No asterisk. Ending a 64 game conference winning streak at your house doesn't deserve an *.





Since: Nov 18, 2009
Posted on: January 21, 2010 10:42 am
 

UTEP ends Memphis' C-USA winning streak

After years of frustration every team in this league is now gunning for the Tigers. Pastner better rally this team quick; can't be losing at home!!!They might be rebuilding but no reason to go down in flames..Wins against UAB and Marshall would be a good place to start.



Since: Feb 23, 2009
Posted on: January 21, 2010 10:41 am
 

UTEP ends Memphis' C-USA winning streak

 I'd look for 2-3 NCAA teams this year and 3 NIT teams for CUSA.

CUSA is much better this year, but I don't see them getting more than 2 teams in the NCAA.  I think UAB will make it, plus whoever wins the tourney (I don't think it'll be UAB for some reason).  One of the big issues with the conference is that some of the lower tier schools still do not seem to understand how to schedule out of conference towards getting a higher RPI (or maybe they do and they just refuse to do so.)  Instead of playing other schools that are usually in the 50-150 RPI range, they seem to play an inordinate amount of 150+ games.  Those 4 or so schools drag the whole conference down.  I think the conference needs some sort of RPI Czar. :)



Since: Mar 31, 2009
Posted on: January 21, 2010 9:52 am
 

UTEP ends Memphis' C-USA winning streak

This was the best thing for CUSA. Having a dominate team year after year, many people forget just how good CUSA basketball is b.c one team has dominated recently. The league is pretty deep this year as we saw just last night with Utep beating Memphis at Memphis, UCF beating Houston at Houston, and UAB only beating Southern Miss by 1 at home. Coupled that with Marshall having a chance to take the lead with 2min left against WVU last night, this league has 4-5 good teams this year.

Best thing for CUSA was for Memphis to lose early and end the streak, b/c next year with their class coming in, a new streak could begin. I'd look for 2-3 NCAA teams this year and 3 NIT teams for CUSA.



Since: Nov 28, 2006
Posted on: January 21, 2010 9:43 am
 

UTEP ends Memphis' C-USA winning streak

SIGH... can they at least get an * by that win?



Since: Mar 26, 2009
Posted on: January 21, 2010 9:43 am
 

UTEP ends Memphis' C-USA winning streak

Isn't it ironic that a group of kids from the city of Memphis end the U of M streak.  I'm sad its over (especially for the seniors who have never lost a conference game), but i guess in some weird way, glad it was Culpepper, Moultrie and Williams who beat us.  Williams had a monster game, Moultrie is a skilled big man and Culpepper just showed that competitiveness and toughness that a lot of players from Memphis have.  It's hard to imagine why the U of M wouldn't have recruited some of these kids, even if they were role players compared to Rose and Evans. 

Now we can finally close the book on the old regime.  Time to start a new streak and a new tradition.  We can still win C-USA this year and go to the NCAA, and next year we'll be back with a vengeance  Go Tigers!


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