What a long season it has been for the Memphis Tigers.
With that said the Tigers went to Knoxville (TN) to face a Tennessee Volunteer team that has never lost a home game in the Thompson-Boling Arena and put on a show. A Volunteer team that has not allowed opponents to score over 70 points. A Volunteer team that was bigger than the Tigers and probably stronger.
Memphis displayed several qualities to me in the game:
They can play together.
It’s great to see a team that enjoys playing together. Last season there were times Memphis went to selfish basketball. Yet during the Tennessee game, you witnessed the players constantly giving each other high fives and encouraging each other. Players were talking constantly on defense. There were even situations were a player clearly had an open shot and they made the extra pass.
They can overcome adversity.
The first half of the game clearly belonged to the Tigers. The Vols made their run in the second half after being down by as much as 21. It was interesting to see if the Tigers would respond. Would they go into selfish basketball?
The Tigers responded well after a couple of sloppy series and went back to playing aggressive defense and playing team ball.
Joe Jackson is the leader.
Jackson has become the most consistent scorer for the Tigers, and he is finally making composed decisions. He is the floor general and leader of the team.
The Tigers have grown. They have gained these qualities over time and now look ready to roll through the C-USA.