Tennessee beats Memphis in a great game that without a doubt lived up to all the hype leading up to tonight. Since I have no ties with either team I figured I’d leave some random thoughts I had while watching the game.
Both teams played out of character (to start) – Memphis started the game shooting out of their minds from behind the arc. No one, including John Calipari, could have predicted his team would shoot 7-11 early on in the first half playing at a feverish pace. Memphis did come back to earth shooting a dismal 1-16 the rest of the game. On the other side Tennessee flat out dominated the boards especially on the offensive end. 46-31 on the boards for the Vols and 17 offensive rebounds. That is what kept them in the game during the hot-shooting first half by Memphis.
- Calipari bad game managment – In the second half Memphis was down to only 1 time out with over 8 and a half minutes left in the game. He is normally very good at managing this aspect of the game but must have felt he needed to use them to keep the game under control while Memphis was down. Bigger issue was with 26-seconds left, Memphis with the ball down one Coach Cal chose not to use that last time-out. That possession led to a forced shot by Antonio Anderson. Not Rose or Douglas-Roberts. Big mistake. That was the situation for some great coaching.
- Derrick Rose – To take a line for Dicky V. “Mr. Rose was awesome, baby, with a capital A.” Rose had his standout game on the biggest stage of the season. He clearly showed why he is regarded as one of the 5 best freshman in the country and a sure lottery pick. In this game he displayed a strong mid-range game hitting numerous pull-up jumpers down the stretch in the second half.
- Chris Lofton – BOOOOOO, it’s one thing to have a bad game shooting the ball, it is a completely different problem when you can’t even get a shot and you’re supposed to be the best player on the team. Is it just me or did he look slow, uncomfortable and flat out not very good? He has no handle and is unable to create his own shot against quick defender who are taller than he is. His first field goal didn’t come until midway through the second half. He spent the entire game either jacking up terrible shots with guys right in his grill or standing around while guys like J.P. Prince and Wayne Chism stepped up.
- Did Joey Dorsey play? – Memphis was supposed to have the advantage inside led by Dorsey. He was a complete non-factor, a major reason Tennessee won the rebounding battle by an unexpectedly large margin. 6 rebounds, 4 fouls and 1 point simply isn’t good enough from your starting center to beat good teams. Dorsey will have to be much more consistent come tournament time for the Tigers to finally get past the Elite 8.
- It’s about damn time – A coach with a 3-point lead fouls on purpose to eliminate the chance of a desperation three going down. This is an especially great strategy against a team who has proven they are allergic to the charity strip.
- Achilles Heel – 8 of 16 from the line for Memphis (Rose’s intention miss doesn’t count). Bad free throw shooting finally caught up to the Tigers in a close game verse a good team. When I played ball the first thing my coach would say after a close loss was “We missed x number of free throws, that was the difference in the game.” With so much parity in college basketball, Memphis won’t come close to a Final Four if they continue to shoot like that from the line.