Tiger Blogs :: Matt Dillon, Men's Basketball Radio Analyst
Hello Tiger Nation from Little Rock! It is NCAA tournament time and hopefully the start of a championship for the Tigers. Yesterday the U of M was on display at Alltel Arena and entertained the crowd during their hour-long public practice. It was the second session of the day for the the Tigers, the serious practice having taken place earlier in the day at UALR. The team was greeted to a stirring round of applause and it made you feel proud as the public address announcer said, "welcome the #1 seed Memphis Tigers, Champions of C-USA". Coach Calipari was also greeted warmly and seemed to be enjoying another NCAA experience.
The practice was capped off by a tremendous dunk by Derrick Rose that brought a thundering round of applause from the fans. The Tigers seemed focused, happy to be in Little Rock and ready to toss it up.
Congratulations to Chris Douglas-Roberts for being named to several All-American teams. I believe that a key to winning championships is having that star player who can step up in clutch situations. CDR certainly is that type of athlete and has played as an All-American the entire season. The junior from Detroit with the "buckets" nickname and CDR moniker will be talked about by the Tiger faithful for years to come. Way to go CDR!
Kudos also go out to Antonio Anderson, MVP of the C-USA Tournament. After not being named all-conference, Antonio showed why he is the glue that holds this team together. Unfortunately I did not to vote this year for the all-conference teams, it rotates year-to-year, but you can bet I would have placed Mr. Anderson on my ballot. He is not one of the top 15 players in C-USA? I am still waiting for that explanation.
Here are some facts on tonight's opponent University of Texas at Arlington:
* Founded in 1895, became a senior college in 1959.
* Enrollment 24,832-not a small school. (Everything I guess is big in Texas).
* Member of Southland Conference. Have won only one regular-season conference championship, shared with Southeastern Louisiana in 2004, and captured their first Southland Conference Tournament title this year to qualify for the NCAA.
* Postseason record is 0-1 all-time. This is only the second postseason appearance in school history and first NCAA. Only other postseason appearance was a first round loss to South Alabama in the 1981 NIT.
* Season Record 21-11, 7-9 in Southland Conference-tied or 3rd place in Western Division.
* Set single-season school record for victories this year (21). Only 3rd time for 20 victories in a season.
* Series record versus the U of M, 0-1. Tigers defeated the Mavericks 81-49 at the Mid-South Coliseum in Memphis on December 4, 1968. Tiger alumnus Dave Loos, now head coach at Austin Peay, played in that game. Coach Loos has his team here in Little Rock today to take on the Texas Longhorns.
* Home Arena called Texas Hall. Seats 3,600 and floor is built over a stage. Unique home-court advantage when opposing players fall off stage going out of bounds.
* Most Notable Alumni are Actor Lou Diamond Phillips and General Tommy Franks, retired General, United States Army.
March 11, 2008
Conference USA is handing out its player awards this week and the Tigers as expected garnered a host of honors. Congratulations are in order for:
Chris Douglas Roberts-1st team
Derrick Rose 1st team-All-Freshman team-Freshman of the Year
Joey Dorsey 2nd team-Defensive Player of the Year
Robert Dozier 3rd team
Chris Douglas-Roberts' first team selection puts the junior in a select group. He joins Kelly Wise in 2001, 2002 as the only Tigers to be selected first team All C-USA two times during their career. Chris Douglas-Roberts should also add Player of the Year honors as well.
My question is why no Antonio Anderson? Tone finished 11th in league in assists, 1st in Assist to Turnover Ratio, averaged the most minutes on the floor for the Tigers (28.3) and is the best on ball defender in C-USA. He is the ultimate team player and has sacrificed his scoring for others on a 30-1 team. There ARE NOT 15 better players in this league than Anderson. Ask any opposing coach if they would not want the junior as the glue that could hold their team together!
Tigers also getting some love out in Big 12 country. I was contacted by Ryan Wood of the Lawrence-Journal World in Lawrence, Kansas for a story about teams with a chance to win it all. He said the Tigers were selected by his publication as one of those teams and wanted my input on the U of M. I gave him my thoughts and he did change a few of his earlier conceptions of the Tigers. Article is coming out this week and it is nice to see some respect in the KU country.
Do you think tournament time is not exciting? Gonzaga going down in the West Coast Conference final to San Diego and VCU stumbling in the Colonial Athletic makes this weeks C-USA tournament very interesting. UAB and Houston, bubble teams from C-USA, saw two places in the big dance disappear and narrow the number of remaining at large bids. With the Tigers a lock for the NCAA, it makes every other club step up their intensity and desire to play well.
March 10, 2008
Is it March already and time for hoops madness? Memphis held their annual basketball banquet at the Peabody last night and an overflow crowd not only enjoyed a great meal, but was given the opportunity to salute the 2007-2008 Tigers. The upbeat theme of the festivities was "It's been great so far, but there is a lot more to come." Players and fans alike sensed this is a special team and you could feel the pride of Tiger Nation in that ballroom. Shouts of "one more year" for Derrick Rose and Chris Douglas-Roberts filled the air as those two young men accepted their awards on stage. Coach Calipari assembled the team up front, letting each class thank the fans for their support all year. Senior Joey Dorsey was the last to address the crowd and let everyone know what four years at Memphis have meant to him. Thanks to everyone involved with putting on the banquet and congratulations to all the Tigers that won awards.
Conference USA Tournament action begins this week at FedExForum with four days of great basketball. Memphis, the #1 seed, will not play their first game until 6 P.M. on Thursday night. Their opponent will be the winner of the Marshall-Tulane, the 8-9 seeds, and will be played Wednesday night at 6 P.M. The Tigers faced each of those teams once during the regular season and were winners in both match-ups. Memphis beat Marshall back on January 12th in Huntington 68-45 and bested Tulane February 20th in New Orleans 97-71. Memphis defeated both clubs last season in the C-USA tournament at FedExForum. The Thundering Herd fell in the quarterfinals 92-71 and the Green Wave was defeated in the semi-finals 71-49. Marshall is playing its best basketball of the season, winning five of its last eight, while the Green Wave posted losses in eight of the final nine. The C-USA tournament is another goal for this team and is important in seeding for the NCAA. So everybody put on your blue and help the Tigers cut down those nets on Saturday!
Here are some C-USA Tiger facts:
1. Opening tournament game record (1st & 2nd Rounds) - 8 wins, 4 losses. Have won three straight - with their last loss Saint Louis 72-61 in 2004 (2nd Round)
2. First Round record - 2 wins, 1 loss. The Tigers have captured 10 first round byes-last 1st game in 2005 beat Saint Louis, 79-59
3. Quarter-finals record - 6 wins, 5 losses. Have won 3 straight-last loss Saint Louis 72-61 in 2004
4. Semi-finals record - 3 wins, 3 losses. Have won 3 straight-last loss Louisville 78-75 in 2003
5. Finals record - 2 wins, 1 loss-lone lost to Louisville 75-74 in 2005
6. Tournament Seeds:
#1 2006, 2007, 2008
#2 1996, 2003, 2004
#3 1998, 2002
#4 1997, 2001
7. Tournament Titles 2
8. Most Points 92-vs. DePaul 1996 and vs. Marshall 2007
9 Fewest Points 45-vs. Marquette 1997
10. 26 Cedric Henderson vs. DePaul 1996