This Saturday No. 6 Louisville Cardinals will head to the FedExForum to play the Memphis Tigers. This could have been hyped up as the second round meeting between the schools this season if Memphis would have made it to the championship game of the Battle 4 Atlantis tournament.
No need to elaborate on Memphis’ Battle 4 Atlantis performance.
But consider this. Memphis before Battle 4 Atlantis is very different from Memphis after Battle 4 Atlantis.
Memphis before Battle 4 Atlantis had been very inconsistent as a team. They could not defend on the perimeter. They played without energy. They started without junior guard Geron Johnson.
Memphis after Battle 4 Atlantis is a very aggressive group. They are causing teams to turn the ball over. They are dominating games. Leaders are emerging for the team in Johnson and freshman forward Shaq Goodwin.
ESPN reports this game as the renewal of this rivalry that couldn’t come at a more crucial time for the Tigers. A lackluster showing in the Battle 4 Atlantis had Memphis locals loudly doubting coach Josh Pastner and Pastner rethinking his guard positions, moving Joe Jackson (a long-time point guard) to the 2. Memphis responded by drubbing a solid Ohio Bobcats team 84-58, but it will take more than that to convince the fan base this team is really hunting for a national title. What better way, then, but a win over Louisville?
If Memphis is ready to continue playing the way they have over the last three games, the FedExForum on Nov. 15 will be the “Place to Be This Week” to watch the Tigers battle against the No. 6 team in the nation, to watch the Tigers attempt to get Pastner’s first victory over a Top 25 team as a head coach and to the watch the Tigers attempt to win back the respect of the media and coaches as a squad worthy of at least some Top 25 votes.