The Memphis Tigers are always looking for the spectacular, and luckily for the Tigers, that’s what they are best at. Unfortunately for the Tigers, there is much more than dunks and alley-oops that make up a good basketball team. Tonight, the Tigers took on a 7-18 (2-11) Temple Owl team in Memphis. Luckily for the Tigers, Temple only dressed seven players due to injuries, which is what led to the Tigers 82-79 victory in overtime against the Owls.
Often times, the Tigers simply just play a style of basketball based on athleticism and the anticipation of appearing on ESPN’s Top Ten plays of the night. Void of any offensive sets, the Tigers will rely on one-on-one basketball or ill-advised three point shots out of rhythm and place. The Tigers don’t do any of the little things well, and it’s the little things that carry you in March.
As you watch teams like the LouisvilleCardinals and Cincinnati Bearcats dominate the bottom five of the American Athletic Conference, you halfway expect the Tigers to follow suit, but reality is that Josh Pastner‘sTigers are simply not as good as their former Conference USA counterparts. Those teams and the SMU Mustangs simply have more experienced coaches, and at this point, better coaches who understand how to get a team ready for big games. They also understand how to get their teams ready to play their best against the bottom half team in the AAC. Cincinnati beat Central Florida by 20+ on the road the other night, and Louisville buried a Rutgers team by 48 on Tuesday. Memphis has a knack of playing up to the level of their competition, and it’s that knack, that lack of focus, that will ultimately be their downfall.
It’s simply disappointing to see a Preseason Top 15 team play that poorly night in and night out. A senior laden team should know better; they should put lesser teams like Temple away early at home. However, that’s hard to do when you are more interested in getting yourself in the highlight reel than you are putting a W in the win column.