Big Stage, Big Test for Memphis Tigers at Battle 4 Atlantis Tournament

Mark D. Smith-US PRESSWIRE

Men’s College basketball is in full swing kicking off with exhibition games, 24 hours straight of televised games, invitational tournaments and holiday tournaments. It is a special time of the year for college basketball fans.

The Battle 4 Atlantis may be the icing on the cake as far as early tournaments featuring Top 25 teams: Louisville Cardinals, Duke Blue Devils, Missouri Tigers, and Memphis Tigers.

The competition is about to get much stiffer for Memphis as they prepare to face Virginia Commonwealth Rams on Thursday in its championship-round opener in Paradise Island, Bahamas.

With the Tigers heading into a highly competitive atmosphere, coach Josh Pastner is not wasting time showing his veterans that it’s time to step up and play.

In the last game against Samford Bulldogs, junior forward Tarik Black was out played by a freshman scoring only four points and grabbing two rebounds.

It was reported by the Commercial Appeal that Black had to practice with the reserves on Monday.

Black is not the only player on this veteran squad that underperformed in the last game. The Tigers overall has opened the season playing very inconsistent.

Although the Rams are not ranked, they are a squad starting off the season hungry, with high energy and ready to battle against ranked teams. Testing the Tigers veterans is exactly what they want to do.

The Rams comes into the tournament with a 2-1 record winning the two games by an average of almost 30 points.  Their one lost came at the hands of an undefeated Wichita State Shockers by 2 points.

The Rams will test the Tigers early with a “Havoc” style defense averaging 14 steals and almost 20 turnovers a game.

There is a bright spot for the Tigers, which will be necessary for the team against the feisty Rams squad, point guard junior Joe Jackson. He only has two turnovers in two games.

Patosha Jeffery is the Memphis Tigers Featured Columnist at Rant Sports. Be sure to follow her on Twitter: @patoshajeffery and add her Google + to your circles for all of her latest articles and thoughts.

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