The better teams in the country begin to peak around this time of the year. The best teams in the American Athletic Conference, the Louisville Cardinals and the Cincinnati Bearcats, are certainly playing their best basketball of the season right now. The Connecticut Huskies are not far behind. All three of these teams seem poised to make a run come March. Unfortunately for the Josh Pastner, his Memphis Tigers would not be considered part of this group.
Sitting firmly behind the upstart SMU Mustangs in fifth place in the AAC, the Tigers had a chance to improve against a Rutger‘s team whom they beat by 31 in Memphis just two weeks ago, and a team who lost to Louisville by 48 four days ago. Instead, the Tigers fumbled and bumbled their way to a five-point win against a Scarlet Knight’s team that’s already looking ahead to another Spring Break at the Jersey Shore (Shhh, Don’t tell Snookie).
The Tigers committed another 16 turnovers against the Scarlet Knights, who are the worst defensive team in the AAC and one of the worst defensive teams in the country. For a coach who preaches energy, energy, energy all the time, Pastner’s Tigers did not show any throughout the game tonight. Star guard, Joe Jackson finished the last few minutes of the game on the bench, while his fellow senior guards (who nicknamed themselves the “4Kingz” in the preseason) threw the basketball away like they were shooting T-shirts to the crowd at halftime.
A few days ago, I wrote an article on the five teams in the Top 25 who won’t make it out of the first round of the NCAA tournament. Memphis was on that list. After tonight’s game, if I had to narrow that list down to one, the Memphis Tigers would be the team on that list. With games remaining against SMU, Louisville and Cincinnati, it’s quite possible the Tigers could end the season with three more losses, putting their final regular season record at 22-9 (especially if they play like they did tonight). I believe this would make them a double digit seed, making a one-and-done scenario increasingly possible.
Jason Love is a writer for Rant Sports. You can follow him on Twitter @JloveWshs.