Conference USA (33-1, 16-0)
Big Wins: 11/15 vs Oklahoma (63-53), 11/16 vs Connecticut (81-70), 12/22 Georgetown (85-71)
Bad Losses: 2/23 Tennessee (62-66)
Last NCAA Appearance: 2007, Elite Eight loss to Ohio State
Coach: John Calipari (18-9 in 9 NCAA appearances)
Derrick Rose, Freshman, Guard, 13.9 ppg, 4.5 apg, 4.2 rpg
Chris Douglas-Roberts, Junior, Guard, 17.2 ppg, 4.1 rpg
Antonio Anderson, Junior, Guard, 8.3 ppg, 3.4 apg, 3.6 rpg
Joey Dorsey, Senior, Forward, 6.9 ppg, 9.6 rpg, 1.9 bpg
Robert Dozier, Senior, Forward, 9.4 ppg, 6.8 rpg, 1.8 bpg
Doneal Mack, Sophomore, Guard, 7.7 ppg, 1.9 rpg
Andre Allen, Senior, Guard, 3.5 ppg, 2.1 apg
Willie Kemp, Sophomore, Guard, 5.2 ppg, 1.7 apg
Shawn Taggart, Sophomore, Forward, 6.1 ppg, 4.1 rpg
Why They Can Surprise:
This is an extremely athletic team that can hurt you from anywhere on the floor. Chris Douglas-Roberts has developed into the leading scorer and the slasher is nearly impossible to defend. With the super talented freshman Derrick Rose and the versatile Antonio Anderson by his side, the backcourt is one of the best in the nation. Rose has a few problems that typically plague freshmen, like committing too many turnovers and taking too many bad shots, but he is still a great scorer around the basket. With sharpshooters Doneal Mack and Willie Kemp and another smart floor leader in Andre Allen, the depth will never be lacking on the perimeter.
Something that is often overlooked due to the explosive offense is the team’s stellar defense. Six players tally at least one steal per game and Joey Dorsey and Robert Dozier are shot blocking machines. Memphis never makes it easy for the opposition to even get the ball in the paint and when they do, Dorsey and Dozier are a couple of intimidating guys that will be waiting.
Why They Can Disappoint:
There are not many negative things to say about Memphis, but the Tigers have more trouble shooting the ball than their 46.4 percent field-goal percentage would indicate. The team as a whole takes too many three-pointers considering they only hit about one-third of their attempts. It gets even worse at the charity stripe where they shoot under 60 percent. Nobody on the team shoots over 70 percent from the line. It has not caused a problem for the Tigers yet, but that poor free-throw shooting can lose them a game if somebody can keep it close. The other concern is Memphis’ conference. Coach John Calipari’s squad has pretty much been on cruise control since December. When the going gets tough can these guys play from behind?
Who To Watch:
Dozier and Dorsey may be solid defenders and rebounders, but the team needs to get some offense from them as well. Dozier is the better scorer of the two and has enough range to stretch out the opposition to the arc. Dorsey’s offensive output is pretty much limited to easy put backs. When the competition starts getting tough, it will be important for the Tigers to find a scoring threat under the basket or the opponents can simply defend Douglas-Roberts and Rose slashing to the basket.
By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 80.1 (17, 1)
Scoring Defense: 61.2 (23, 1)
Field-Goal Percentage: 46.4 (60, 1)
Field-Goal Defense: 38.4 (10, 1)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 7.9 (64, 2)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 34.8 (176, 6)
Free-Throw Percentage: 59.2 (327, 12)
Rebound Margin: 6.9 (12, 1)
Assists Per Game: 16.0 (32, 1)
Turnovers Per Game: 12.4 (34, 2)
Joel’s Bracket Says: Elite Eight loss to Stanford
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