Memphis Tigers Basketball: Not Ready For Big Stage

By Daniel Karpuc
Josh Pastner
Justin Ford-USA TODAY Sports

The No. 11 Memphis Tigers were simply outmatched. While the score remained deadlocked for the first 10 minutes of the game, the No. 7 Oklahoma State Cowboys turned on a switch and dominated the rest of the game in every phase, eventually running up the score to 101-76.

Marcus Smart, who I rated as the fourth-best college player in terms of NBA potential, proved that he is one of the best players in the country tonight. While most of the college basketball world gets caught up in the tandem of Andrew Wiggins, Jabari Parker and Julius Randle, Smart proved tonight that he belongs right in the conversation with the younger freshman phenoms. Surprisingly staying at school for a second season, Smart knows he had aspects of his game he needed to work on. Those improvements were on display against Memphis in Stillwater, Okla. on Tuesday night.

Smart scored 39 points on 11-of-21 shooting, while also going 12-of-16 from the free throw line. He also added five rebounds, three assists and five steals to the mix.

I thought that Memphis’ No. 11 ranking was very generous to start the season. Senior point guard Joe Jackson, who came into this gave averaging seven assists per contest, laid a goose egg in the assist column. On the game, the Tigers only had 11 assists, to go with 13 turnovers. That’s usually an indicator of one or both of the following: there was not a lot of good ball movement, and/or the team couldn’t hit their shots. I would argue that it’s more of the latter.

With the exception of Nick King, who went 8-of-12 off the bench for 23 points, and Shaq Goodwin, who went for 13 points and seven rebounds, no one else scored in double figures. Shooting 40 percent from the field and 15.4 percent from three-point range just will not get it done.

Head coach Josh Pastner will look to get his team back on their feet when they square off against Nicholls State on Saturday, Nov. 23 at 5:00 p.m. CT.

Dan Karpuc is an American Athletic Conference writer for Follow him on Twitter @dan_karpuc, “Like” him on Facebook and add him to your network on Google.

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