Most college basketball teams that lost a conference opener at home to a much weaker team, would underperform away from home against the current National Champions. Most college basketball teams would go into Louisville and face legendary head coach Rick Pitino and his Louisville Cardinals with low expectations and only a small glimmer of hope – not the Memphis Tigers.
The No. 24 Tigers went onto No. 12 Louisville’s home-court and defeated the Cardinals 73 – 67. Memphis was able to survive a 19 point game from Russ Smith, coupled with a 29 point performance from the Cardinals’ bench, despite just six points from the Tigers’ own. All five of Josh Pastner’s starters scored in double-digits, and Geron Johnson finished the game with a double-double to lead Memphis to their biggest win of the season.
With Memphis’ loss to the Cincinnati Bearcats in the first game of American Athletic Conference play, it revealed that just maybe the Tigers were a little bit overrated. However, with the Tigers’ win over the Cardinals, it looks like the Bearcats were extremely underrated, Memphis played like not only a team that should be favored to win the AAC against Louisville, but a team that should be a dark horse for the National Championship.
When you look at Memphis’ non-conference schedule, they’ve beaten a few really good teams, but lost to the toughest opposition they played. The losses to the Florida Gators and Oklahoma State Cowboys may be a thing of the past, as a confident Memphis squad could have finally turned the corner necessary to make them a top team in college basketball.