Monday, April 7, 2008
Memphis Final Preview
At the beginning of the NCAA Tournament, Memphis was supposed to be the first number 1 seed to be eliminated. In fact, the haters have been chirping all year that the Tigers are overrated. The only time they were the 1 seed was after they were the only undefeated team left in the country, and they promptly lost to Tennessee to lose the top spot. Still they finished the year with just one loss and all the momentum in the world. People said they couldn't make a long run in the Tourney because they weren't battle tested in a weak Conference USA. It only seems fitting that the team that no one believed in is now in the title game. John Calipari's band of merry men haven't really been truly threatened by any squad in March Madness so far. They plastered MSU and Texas by 19 points each before eliminating the Knuckler's predicted champ UCLA by 15 on Saturday. Tonight, they face a stacked Kansas roster ready for a battle, and you can bet Memphis is prepared to give them one. Let's take a gander at the Tigers five keys for victory.
1.) Circulating the game through Derrick Rose. The best player on the floor needs to be the center of attention this game. As long as he can control the flow of the game, the Tigers will be in great position to cut down the nets. Like Furry said, "Desert Rose" has straight dominated this Tourney. Not only has he stepped up his game, but the rest of the team realizes that in order to be successful, the Freshman phenom needs to touch the ball every possession. Whether he's tossing up a monster alley-up for Joey Dorsey, or creating an open mid-range jay off a screen, he's probably going to take over as long as the rock is in his hands.
2.) Chris Douglas-Roberts must penetrate the lane more than Peter North. When CDR gets a full head of steam, he's very difficult to stop. He doesn't have the all-around talent that Lebron possesses, but he can drive almost as well as the King. The Monster of the Motor city is one of the most explosive guards in all of college basketball and makes up the best backcourt tandem in all the land.
3.) Chalkin' it up from the Charity Stripe. The Tigers biggest crux heading into the tourney was their inability to cash in on the Free Throw line. That's why many so-called experts predicted an early demise in the tourney. Memphis has seen quite a reversal in fortune during Smarch Madness though, converting on nearly 80% of their Free Throw attempts. A big part of the success has hinged on the afformentioned CDR. Whenever he drives, there's a very strong chance that he'll either score or get fouled. In the NCAA tournament he has made 45 of his 54 FT opportunities. Including 9/11 against the Bruins. If he can put up a similar ratio in this contest, it could really make the difference down the stretch.
4.) Force the Jayhawks to become sloppy papi's. Not many teams in basketball turn the ball over as much as KU. Even with a convincing win over UNC, they still had 19 TO's. If Memphis can keep the aggressive defense at on high octane, the 'Hawk's are going to have more Turnover's than Marwan at the breakfast buffet. Kansas had better hope it's not 19 though, because a repeat of that stat could be a death blow to their title hopes. Look for the Tigers to pounce on the Jayhawks early and often tonight.
5.) Dominate the Paint. Joey "Deez Nuts" Dorsey has been putting his balls to the wall over the past couple of weeks on his way to shutting down the inside game of every opponent. K Love wasn't his usual self thanks to Dorsey dropping an epic deuce on his face. Joey is going to need to be even better against Kansas on both ends of the floor. Considering the 'Hawks height, Dorsey's average of 10 boards per game is no gimme. Sasha Kahn (artist) ate up the Heel's on Saturday and the battle will be on inside in this game to see who can get the upper hand.