This season’s Memphis Tigers squad is not as flashy as some in years past, but this is a team that will do whatever is asked to grind out a win down the stretch. The Tigers do not win pretty by any means as the team lacks style, but even with the team’s inadequacies, the Tigers do not lack substance. Memphis is often overlooked in an AAC that is allowing the Tigers to stay off the radar as many tend to focus on the teams that are sitting atop the standings, but the Tigers remain as deadly as their conference counterparts while not being enthralled in the hysteria.
Memphis aided its tournament case Saturday when the team mounted a charge in the second half to dispatch the SMU Mustangs at the FedEx Forum. The Tigers atoned for the mistakes made in the first half when the team dropped 41 points on the Mustangs in the second half en rout to a 67-58 win against a top 25 opponent. The Tigers were led by veteran guard Joe Jackson, who scored 18 points and had three assists in the win that moves the Tigers to fourth place in the AAC. Austin Nichols led the team in rebounding with nine while also scoring 14 points in the winning effort.
With the win in the season finale, the Tigers hope to take that momentum into the AAC tournament and build toward a run in the NCAA tournament. Memphis hopes to claim the inaugural American Athletic Conference crown, but it will not be easy for the Tigers who have a 2-4 record against the top three seeds in the tournament.
The Tigers return to the NCAA tournament once again in hopes of making another magical run at a championship, but the team faces an uphill climb as it is currently projected to have a relatively low seed in the bracket. Memphis will need to utilize its tempo and physicality in the tournament if the Tigers want to make a lasting run.
Greg Douglas is a College Basketball writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on twitter @thegpd93 or add him to your Google Network.