Earlier in the week the Memphis Tigers were blown out and humiliated on national TV by Oklahoma State. A loss like the Tigers took on Tuesday night is the type of loss that could leave a team hungover, and affect how they play the following game. That was not the case for Memphis. The Tigers were able to block out their whooping by the hands of Oklahoma State, and put on a complete performance against Nicholls State. The Tigers won in every facet of the game in their 98-59 rout of the Colonels.
Memphis led from the jump, and then they jumped all over the Colonels. If you are familiar with the Tigers, you know that they sometimes let games like this be closer than the need to be. Memphis normally will have either a bad first half or bad second half, but that is not what the Tigers did today. Today the Tigers came out, punched Nicholls State in the mouth, and kept on punching.
Before the Tigers game against Oklahoma State, I wrote that Memphis needed to get their big men established if they wanted to win the game. Well, we all know that didn’t happen versus the Cowboys, but Memphis seemed to make a concerted effort to get Shaq Goodwin and Austin Nichols rolling against the Colonels. Goodwin was active on the boards, grabbing eight rebounds in the game, and Nichols was assertive on the offensive end putting up career-highs in points (20) and shot attempts (15).
Another missing factor in the Tigers loss to Oklahoma State was Joe Jackson. He was almost invisible versus the Cowboys — which it’s easy to be when Marcus Smart is on the court — but he attacked the rim all night long against Nicholls State. Jackson only missed two jumpers when he wasn’t fouled, and he got to the free throw line 15 times. Jackson is extremely quick, and Nicholls State didn’t have anyone who could stay in front of him. With the new hand-checking rules in NCAA basketball, it was nearly impossible for the Colonels to keep up, and Jackson took advantage.
I know what you are thinking: “this is what they were supposed to do against Nicholls State.” You are right, this is what they were supposed to do, but the fact that they came out and executed is a good thing. They could have came out with a lackadaisical approach, and put no effort into winning. Instead, the Tigers went to work. They put on a show. They showed the fans in attendance that the team they watched on Tuesday is not the team that they are; they are more like the team that performed well on Saturday evening. This confidence boost was needed, and it could not have come at a better time.
Follow Robbie on Twitter @rmarbury