“Figure it out.”
That’s the message to the Memphis Tigers on Thursday afternoon when the square off against Saint Mary’s and star point guard Matthew Dellavedova. Trust one thing though Tigers fans, head coach Josh Pastner will have it figured out.
The season averages for Dellavedova state the obvious, this kid can play and once he gets going, the Gaels are tough to beat. If you watched Saint Mary’s on Tuesday night advance through the First Four Round with a 67-54 victory over Middle Tennessee State, you saw what Dellavedova is capable of doing. The 6-foot-4 guard scored 22 points on Tuesday night, showing his flare and ability to stuff the stat sheet by also grabbing six rebounds and dishing out four assists.
Pastner may not have point guard Joe Jackson on Dellavedova defensively, but the positional battle is certainly one to keep an eye on. Jackson has had a monster year in his own right, carrying that success and earning the Conference USA Player of the Year award.
Albeit Memphis matches up well with the Gaels, the Tigers must still find that way to defend Dellavedova. They cannot allow the Australian-native to beat them, he’s proven too dangerous too many times before. In fact, Dellavedova was a freshman contributor on that Saint Mary’s team back in 2010 that advanced all the way to the Sweet 16. Don’t think he doesn’t have that one his mind heading into the opening days of the NCAA Tournament.
Tip-off between No. 6 Memphis and No. 11 Saint Mary’s is scheduled for 2:45pm (EST) on Thursday.
Follow Paul Seaver on Twitter: @PaulSeaverRS