Monday, November 24, 2008

Would you like to guard Joey Dorsey?

Studios are testing the technology to broadcast sporting events in 3-D. Now that HD is becoming such a wide-spread feature, manufacturers are looking for the next step to make some money. If it comes in the form of sports in 3-D, I'm ok with that. Imagine if we could've seen a patented Joey Dorsey windmill dunk in 3-D?


Now imagine all your friends laughing at you because you're the only one who'll wear the 3-D glasses for a ballgame. But who needs friends when you have the Tomb of Doom, anyway...

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Kidnap Terrell Holloway!

Fifty percent free throw shooting is not a good way to stay competitive in a close ballgame. The Tigers learned this (again) tonight as they watched Xavier steal a game that they were a half-court bank-shot away from missing altogether. Xavier made 68% of their 37 free throws, pushing the Mouseketeers to a 63-58 win over the Tigers.

In the ugliest ballgame of this early season, the Tigers looked disjointed, confused, out-manned and out-dueled in every aspect of the game (except for technical fouls from assistant coaches, which is one of the few categories led by the Tigers).

Xavier's leading scorer, Derrick Brown, fouled out having only scored 2 points on 0-6 shooting. Don't worry about Brown, though. The rest of his team picked up the slack.

Four players reached double figures, with B.J. Raymond playing an outstanding game in which he totaled 11 points, 8 boards, while seeming to be in all the right places on the court for X tonight.

Let's not forget Terrell Holloway, who, as a freshman, went 10 for 10 at the free throw line. He sank the free throw that put X up by three with 27 seconds left. This apparently triggered a siren in Tyreke Evans' thick skull that, even though he had only made one jump shot and was 4 for 15 at that point, he should set the team upon his noble shoulders and take the next three that he could.

Disregard the fact that common basketball knowledge dictates that you take the ball to the hole with that much time left, score an easy basket, thus forcing the opponent to make high pressure free throws (especially considering X was 2 for 4 at the free throw line to finish the game). Yes, disregard your only clearly discernible talent to this point, which is actually getting to the goal, and take another jump shot, please.

Even if you buck conventional basketball knowledge, coaching and common sense and want to tie the game with 27 seconds left, get the ball to Mack, who's been hitting threes all tournament long, or even to Dozier, who was 2 for 4 from three point land tonight.


To be fair, all the starters looked bad tonight. As a group, they shot 30% from the field, committed 8 of the team's 11 turnovers and shot 46% from the free throw line (12% less than last year's terrible free-throw shooting team). Granted, these percentages are a little biased because the starters played 75% of the minutes in tonight's game. This was the most important stat of the night.

Against Seton Hall, definitely a better game than tonight's, the Tiger starters (Anderson, Mack, Taggart, Dozier, Evans) played 55% of the minutes. The starters shot 46% from the field, committed only 5 of the team's 11 turnovers and shot 78% from the stripe!

These aren't surprising numbers. Every coach would like to have enough decent players to sub so that the starters can get 20-25 minutes a game and stay fresh. Most teams don't have that kind of depth, though, and Memphis has been spoiled for a couple years by having some good talent to come off the bench every game. My argument tonight and for the rest of the season is that the talent was sitting on the bench in the form of Jeff Robinson and Roburt Sallie. Spoon came in and played some big minutes and will continue to do so, but the other players need some time, as well. Kemp, Niles, Sallie and Robinson are all talented guys. Of those four, Sallie and Robinson were playing out of their minds for the brief time they were in tonight.

Robinson took only one shot (missed it), but he went 4 for 4 from the stripe (enough reason to put him in at the end of the game, in my opinion) and he played tenaciously, with a huge block, a thunderous dunk, and good intensity.

Sallie is a fuse for this team. Light him up! He brings it on every defensive possession and he's getting more comfortable with his shot, tying the game tonight with a huge three pointer, after which he was promptly yanked from the game. Why, Cal?

The coaching staff needs to remember that there is young talent on the bench who can contribute in big ways. The limited minutes played by Sallie and Robinson were a breath of fresh air as Tyreke threw up awkward slingshots from all over the court. He looks like a freaking catapult.


While the coaches are at it browsing this crazy blog for advice (yuk), slap Tyreke across the head like his momma used to. Shooting 4 for 16 is a rough night, which happens to everyone, but most of those 12 misses were either long jumpshots (only one of which he made), circus shots as he spun through the lane or ill-advised shots in which he ran down court, teleported back to high school, forgot all about his teammates and took an ugly shot way too early in the shot clock.

Altogether, the tournament could've been better. We saw some good things from Mack and Anderson, flashes from Dozier and Taggart, and some minutes from Sallie and Robinson that should keep the coaches busy when reviewing this game.

Hey Tiger fans... It could be worse. At least we're not USC.

Smurfs on Speed

Tune in to ESPN2 tonight, Sunday Nov. 23rd to see our Memphis Tigers take on the Xavier Mouseketeers.Those are Mouseketeers, by the way. I don't understand it either, but I want you to associate this picture with Xavier from now on. Done and done.

Speaking of brightly colored, goofy looking midgets, Dana O'Neil at ESPN referred to the Tigers as "Smurfs on speed". I'm all for equal opportunity in the workplace, but that's the kind of stunt that sets women back 10 years in the world of sports journalism and makes guys clamor for fewer female sports journalists and more scantily clad ring girls.Ok, my last statement may have been a little harsh, but I just needed a reason to post this picture.

Here a few more links to tide you over until tonight's game against the Mouseketeers.Good, you're catching on.
__________
The tidal wave of excitement over the signing of Xavier Henry is still riding high. Check out this ESPN/Scouts Inc. article on why Henry is a perfect fit at Memphis... beyond the fact that the Tigers are awesome and Xavier is awesome, so they naturally gravitate toward each other.
__________
Dan Wolken got his computer smashed into a bazillion pieces in Puerto Rico. Robinson has been the only Tiger in Puerto Rico to throw down a rim-shaking dunk, so why not blast a computer? Hulk smash!
__________
Beyond the Arc posted an early "Player of the Year" article talking a little bit about Stephen Curry. In the article, props are given to Curry, but the argument is quickly turned on its head, saying he can't win "Player of the Year" if his team doesn't win big games.

I tend to disagree. Of course, a Player of the Year should elevate his team to win a lot of games, but if a team totally sucks, an exceptional player shouldn't be penalized for that.

While the MLB isn't a stalwart of logical rules and procedures (WS home field advantage), they are fair in the assessment of the MVP. Oftentimes the MVP comes from a playoff team, but not always. Pujols won it this year and the Cardinals missed the playoffs by 4 games, minimum. GayRod won it in 2003 with the last place Rangers. The state of the surrounding team should not diminish the obvious talent of a potential MVP.

Furthermore, Curry's mom looks like Thandie Newton, which should make up for the lack of wins over Duke, Georgetown, etc.Enjoy the game.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Puerto Rico Tip Off Tourney...

Memphis plays UT Chat Thursday the 20th at 3:30 CT! Don't miss it! Take a half day!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

National Championship 200?

ESPN reported that Memphis has a blank banner that reads “National Championship 200?” in expectation of one this decade. - ZAGSBLOG

X.



I wasn't thrilled to be driving to a meeting downtown just a few hours after I'd returned from the Memphis/UMass game... until I got a random text at 7:44 am.

"X is signing with Memphis in 1 minute!"

The morning just got a whole lot nicer. I tuned in to 560 just in time to hear this happen...



Henry is the #1 rated shooting guard in every ranking I've seen. He will join Will Coleman, Darnell Dodson and Nolan Dennis as the new Tigers of 2009. Fingers crossed and a shot of Hail Mary that we land no less than John Wall to continue the latest dynasty to make waves in the NCAA. I particularly liked what X had to say about his brother CJ...

“Now it will be a lot funner playing on the same team with him instead of against him,” Xavier said. “We both know how to play and we play great, so we should take over Memphis.”

Funner, indeed.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Yes, Please!

University of Memphis Athletics & GoTigersGo.com Announce Launch of Photo Store!

Check out the new Photo Store for the Tigers. There are some awesome shots and if you give them an email address, you get a $35 credit to use at the store! Awesome deal for some incredible merch.

If nothing else, click the links to see Erin Andrews holding a shot of Dorsey throwing down.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Memphis v. Fairfield (11/15/08)... A fair fight?


After the first major weekend of college basketball, Tigers fans can say one thing...

Our team did what they were supposed to do.

The once heralded Kentucky Wildcats lost to a powder puff Virginia Military Institute, 111-103. 111 points to VMI, yielding some quality headlines, such as...

Speed Kills Kentucky, Which Loves Embarrassing Losses

Season Begins and Kentucky Wants a Do Over


And possibly, the most insulting... Kentucky Fans: Don't Worry, Be Happy

Not to mention, Duke's Near Miss Against Rhode Island, which they won by, gulp, free throws at the end of the game, 82-79.

And let's never forget UCLA, who barely edged out a mediocre Miami-Ohio team, 64-59. Does that make UCLA slightly more than mediocre? I like to think so.

So, what does think mean for Memphis? Should they fear a sharp-shooting Fairfield team? Will they overlook the Stags, while looking forward to Puerto Rico and everything it has to offer?
... such as Miss Puerto Rico?

Breath in, breath out, Tiger fans. Our boys did what they were supposed to do... Show up against a weaker opponent, work out some of their early season kinks and win easily, with a final score of 90-63.

As expected, the game started out a bit slower than a lot of folks at the FedEx Forum had hoped. The Tigers were down by as many as 9 points mid-way through the first half. They looked disjointed, awkward and in search of some playmakers. Enter: Tyreke Evans and Shawn Taggart.

After Anderson tied the game at 23 with eight minutes left in the first half, Tyreke and Tag scored 18 of the next 23 points to end the half. Here's a little Tiger goodness that just 'rekes of what's to come...The Tigers closed the first half on a 25-7 run, taking a 15 point lead into the locker room, 45-30.

The second half was a much more balanced effort from the Tigers. Ten different players scored to push the score to 90-63. The Tigers shot 52% from the field, while "holding" Fairfield to 50%. This is a far cry from the 12th-best 39% defensive field-goal percentage the Tigers boasted last season. The lackluster defense was one of the more glaring deficits of the Tiger's game, as compared to last season. There was a lack of defensive intensity, missed assignments and new players learning the defense, so a drop-off is expected. Let's just get it out of our system early (cough... Dozier... cough... Spoon).

The Tigers won the rebounding battle, 30-20, about 10 boards fewer than our 40 rpg last season. This number will increase as Niles gets more comfortable and we get some of our new bigs out there... if the NCAA ever gets off their #$%^@ and grants them eligibility.

It was an interesting game to watch, as the Tigers appeared to play better in the second part of each half (11-20 and 31-40 minutes). The first half surge can be attributed to Tyreke and Tag. The second half was a product of the Tigers excellent conditioning. With about 10 minutes left to play, the Stags were visibly tired. It seemed their only players who had any wind left were big man Edney (24 pts on 8-12 shooting) and point guard Mr. Han...
Oops... This is Mr. Han.A few high points, low points and game awards:

High Points:

Tyreke. If you didn't see the game on Saturday, go Monday night. That's a direct order. Go to watch Tyreke. Dude is playing with a bum leg, but he finds a way to get it done. He gets to the basket with the efficiency of CDR, but the fluidity of OJ Mayo. His game is a sight to behold, so get a hold of it Monday night... Tickets are still available. I know it's at 11pm. Grow a pair.

Tag. Of our big men, Tag was by far the best prepared. He hustled, he scored, he rebounded, he flashed gang signs. It was beautiful. With the spirit of last year's Dozier floating around in the locker room, Tag stepped up in a big way with 14 points and 12 boards in 26 minutes. At it's core, Taggart hustled and played smart, whereas Dozier seemed to be running around like Memphis was supposed to win the game. The poor showing from Dozier made Tag's game almost reach "Break-Out" level. We'll need Taggart to step up this year with Dorsey gone.

Low Points:

Defense. As noted earlier, opponent field-goal percentage was up, while rebounding and blocks were down... against Fairfield. Granted, Fairfield came out and played well. They had some sharp-shooters. Especially in the first half, it seemed that whenever the Tigers got anything going, Mr. Han would hit a three or find someone who would. Edney was all over the court, too. If he plays at that level, he should rise to the top of the Metro Atlantic.

Nonetheless, there were plenty of mental lapses. Anderson did his best to direct the new guys on defense, but he can only do so much. Fairfield got too many wide open looks from outside and too many easy garbage points down low. This is one area that I believe time will help with the guys we have playing. Unfortunately, we have several important players injured or out and their defense will be lagging upon their return. Hopefully they are paying close attention while they're out.

Lack of a Point Guard: Memphis fans got spoiled last season. It is so rare to have a point guard who can not only manage a team, but make his own play when he needs to. That's why Derrick Rose will be an All-Star within three seasons... and that's conservative prediction.

Anderson got most of the PG duties against Fairfield. He did fine getting the ball upcourt and starting the dribble-drive, but he couldn't make anything happen on his own. If Fairfield had any sense, they would've thrown a press on our point guards and scored a few easy turnovers.

Kemp and Spoon handled the rest of the PG duties. Both were underwhelming. Spoon is a freshmen. He's getting accustomed to the speed of the game and he's not strong enough to physically compete with a lot of college players, so his development will be a true test for Calipari this season.

Willie. Oh, Willie. We're all pulling for you, buddy. We need you this year, big time. Good grief. Talk about a let down. He just seems to be inside his head too much. He needs to let his instincts take over and just play ball. He looked nervous. He was robotic. He didn't make the plays to take the job, which is why Anderson was used so much at PG (which diminishes his value to the Tigers, as well). This position is the most important question for the Tigers this season.

Game Awards:

Newcomer of the Year: Tyreke Evans. He just flat out makes plays. He's an asteroid screaming toward the earth of NCAA basketball.
(Owen Wilson was in this movie? Stick to crashing weddings, buddy)

Tyreke makes people miss, he gets to the hole and he's not afraid to take the team on his shoulders when they struggle. All-American potential.

Double-D of the Week: Shawn Taggart.
In 26 minutes, Tag had 14 points and 12 boards. He was a defensive force (and will continue to get better). He provided a big man presence when Dozier was asleep.

Dunk of the Night: Tie.

After a steal around mid-court, Tyreke came away with the ball. Dozier woke up just in time to realize the fast break. Tyreke crossed the three point line and lobbed the ball toward the rim and Dozier plucked it out of the air and two-handed it home.

On another break-away, Kemp passed the ball upcourt to Sallie, who hit a trailing PIERRE HENDERSON-NILES for a thunderous windmill dunk! All the folks at the FEF went absolutely crazy. It's not only good to see the windmill back, but to see Niles throwing it down makes it sweet like a rack of Rendezvous ribs.

Celebrity Spotting of the Night: This sighting wasn't necessarily a celebrity, but watching Fairfield's coach, Ed Cooley, from six rows back, I couldn't help but think of the atrocious "House of Payne" commercials that make black people look like loud cartoon characters who stomp around the house and randomly clutch at their chests, a la Fred Sanford (This is the big one, Elizabeth!)Proud to be a Tiger Play of the Night: Having been chided in the papers during the preseason, Roburt Sallie came out of made some great plays. He brought greater defensive intensity than anyone else on the floor. That intensity paid off after he sunk his first basket as a Tiger, a three pointer with 9 minutes left to put the Tigers up by 19. Sallie then stole the ball on the next Fairfield possession, moved the ball upcourt where he took a pass from Anderson, and hit his second three in a row. The place went nuts and it was good to see a new guy rewarded for his effort.

It was great to see the crowd respond the way they did on these plays, considering John Wall and Dominic Cheek were in attendance to watch the game.

A-Hole of the Game: Lyndon Jordan, #22 of Fairfield. As Lyndon drove to the basket late in the game, Anderson was manning him up, running with him to cut off the lane to the basket. A reach-in foul was called on Anderson as he tripped over Jordan's foot. Anderson tweaked his ankle on the play and tried to brace himself on Jordan's arm. When Jordan saw Antonio falling, he did a little Steven Seagal wrist snap and let Anderson fall to the ground.

I took the martial art Aikido at the great University of Memphis. My instructor was a popular local martial arts instructor who had trained with Steven Seagal in the past (as Seagal has a house in Germantown). The instructor was showing us a wrist lock that, when applied correctly, basically made one's body crumble into a heap of throbbing mush. He told us that when he taught Seagal this move, it made Seagal pee on himself.To make a long story short, I hope Anderson peed on Jordan.

Scrub of the Game: Preston Laird. The FEF went crazy when this guy came in at the end of the game. He's the new Root. I wonder what it would take for him to bleach his hair...

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

The People Have Spoken...


And given the choice between four top-notch opponents to battle with the Tigers, 54% of pollsters want the Tigers to butt heads with Loserville, while UNC follows with 44%.

Honestly, I'm a little surprised that more people didn't select Kansas as their desired opponent. I feel that those numbers suggest that no one sees Kansas as a true rival. However, common sense would dictate that a team who finished #2 would always like another go at #1.

Could it be that no one wants to play the Gayhawks again? That Memphis is scared of another loss? I think not. We stand behind Cal when he says the Tigers will play "anyone, anywhere." Therefore, I feel that the lack of enthusiasm for a Memphis-Kansas matchup is because... Tiger fans don't feel that Kansas is a worthy-enough opponent.

In talking to most Tiger fans, reading countless articles and listening to as many interviews as I could, the great majority of Tiger fans don't feel that Kansas really won The Game of Which We Will Not Speak. While the score of the game may run contrary to that statement, these fans all agree that the Tigers did almost everything they could to lose it in the last few seconds. That is why most Tiger fans feel the end of last season was so rough. That is why talking about Kansas evokes few feelings of contempt. The indifference that Memphis fans feel toward Kansas is not a sign of defeat, but one of indifference, and it stems from knowing that on that day, we were a superior team that just came up a little bit short.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

VooDoo, Recruits and The Chinese...

You ain't never gonna get nowhere smokin' a pipe! Get away from the drugs! Get away from the in-crowd! Apparently, Cal thinks his players need a chance to get their minds right, as well.

On Monday, Cal invited sports psychologist Bob Rotella to speak to the players and coaches as a team and on an individual basis. Rotella made an appearance last year to sprinkle his magic on the team early in the season and that turned out pretty well. Cal says, "He just gets you to do things different."

What're the odds we see the team storm out in tribal paint and jerseys made of animal hides and feathers?__________

CJ Henry is progressing faster than expected. He is expected to start more rigorous training next week, such as running, jumping and begging his brother to come to Memphis.
__________

Meanwhile, Nolan Dennis is expected to sign his letter of intent tomorrow. Tiger fans should be excited to get this guy not only for his skills, but his attitude. In a recent interview, he spoke of his desire to "build a dynasty" at Memphis. He's doing his part by recruiting John Wall to join him at Memphis next year.

John Wall(l) will be visiting Memphis this weekend, along with NJ shooting guard recruit Dominic Cheek(r).



If you see these guys at the game on Saturday, holla at ya boys and let them know how much we want them here! Actually, bring a good looking lady to the game with you and have her holla at Wall and Cheek.


__________

We're being invaded! The Chinese are taking over Memphis! Actually, Cal is taking part in an exchange program with the Chinese Basketball Association in which two Chinese coaches observe and assist with the Tiger basketball program. Welcome to Zheng Wu and Hu Wei Dong. May you reap great benefits from this experience, sow the seeds of your appreciation in China and send the next Yao Ming to Memphis.
_________

Lastly, just a slight ranting deviation from the norm. Has anyone been watching the Grizz this season? They look so much better than anyone imagined. Their defense (bolstered by, wait for it... Marc Gasol) has been much better, Rudy Gay is playing at an All-Star status and it's safe to say OJ Mayo is the second best rookie in the league after DRose (Mayo actually has better numbers and may actually be the best rookie at this point, but DRose is playing the toughest position a rookie can play and he's a Tiger).

My issue here is with the coach, Marc Iavaroni. The Grizzlies took the Suns down to the wire last night. Down by 1 with about 25 seconds to go, Grizz have the ball coming out of a time-out. At this point,
Gay has 20 and Mayo has been lighting it up with 33 points so far. Who does Iavaroni sun a play for? Quinten Ross! Sure, he had 11 and he's a veteran and blah, blah, blah, but you have Mayo and Gay! What're you thinking?

Ross drives to the basket and loses the ball out of bounds. To his credit, he was clotheslined by that fool Amare Stoudamire, but of course it's a no call cuz Ross is a nobody. Foul or not, why do you run a play for Ross when Mayo has been taking it to the hole all night? And did you not remember Rudy burying Orlando with a last second shot a few games ago?

I blame that loss on coaching.
__________

Last but not least... I hate Kevin Garnett. He is the most annoying athlete on the planet. Calderon should've lunged up and bit his Mutumbo-Wannabe finger right off.


Sunday, November 9, 2008

Aaaand... We're Back.

After a weekend in which Memphis evened their football record at 5-5, Tennessee lost to 28-point underdog Wyoming to tie their worst season loss number in history (7; as a Memphis fan, I'm slightly peeved that 7 games is the most they've ever lost in one season), and roughly 1.2 million ladies began having second-thoughts about conceiving an Obama-baby a few nights ago, the Tomb of Doom is back.

Collegehoops.net ranks the Tigers at #8 to start the season. I was with these guys until they suggested the Pierre Henderson-Niles would give the team another option on the perimeter. Maybe I misread that... or maybe the team has been hiding Niles' progress and he's gone from Batman to The Machinist.
Gross.
__________

Rush the Court has the Tigers at #8, as well. They also give a sweet run down of the CUSA, some nice stats and big games to watch. Thanks to Randy McClure for the heads up on this one.

__________

Congrats to Dozier for being named to the 2008-09 John R. Wooden Award preseason top-50 list. He's following former Tigers CDR, DWash, Carney and Sean Banks in this preseason honor. Those are big steps to follow. We know Dozier can make it happen!

And if not, he can follow in another teammates footsteps and make it rain at Plush.
__________

Speaking of Dozier, I hope he can keep his mind on his game instead of his legacy. He has a lot looming in front of him.

Dozier is 97 points away from joining Memphis' 1,000-point club. On top of that, if Dozier can secure 66 more rebounds, he'll join the ranks of Keith Lee, Forest Arnold, Kelly Wise, Ronnie Robinson, David Vaughn and Don Holcomb as the only Tiger players to reach 1,000 points and 750 rebounds.

I'm guessing 8 games for Dozier to reach this status. The rebounds will be what lags. There are some powder puff games early on, so he should have a good shot sooner than later.

Dozier is also joined by Anderson in a quest to become the winningest NCAA men's basketball players of all time. Since Dozier and Anderson have joined the Tigers, the team has won 104 games. The current record is 133, held by Shane Battier and the Dukies starting back in 2000. When the Tigers win their 30th game this year, Anderson and Dozier will have sole possession of that place in history. The Tigers will need their veteran leadership this year. Go Tigers!
__________

SI.com is pitting the winner of the Memphis/USC semifinal in Puerto Rico against Xavier in the final. Why is Memphis even playing USC in the semis, rather than setting them up for the final? Most likely, it's to save USC the embarrassment of being crushed by Memphis in a tournament final on national television... You know, since everyone loves USC...
__________

Don't be fooled by his nickname. Foxsports writer "Hoops" Weiss wrote a decent article about Memphis being the next UNLV (a good thing) and reflected with Coach Cal vaguely about The Game of Which We Will Not Speak. Other than a weird Wesley Person reference, the article is decent.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Local Flava...

This is a video put together by a local Tiger fan. Show him some love.

I'll be back to posting soon. I'm still sobering up from Tuesday night.

Monday, November 3, 2008

After Six...

If LeBron James doesn't win the NBA MVP this season, he deserves the MVP of sports marketing at the very least. The LeBrons commercials were always hilarious and this new video is outstanding.



(snap.)

Please Eats Tons of Animals...

Over the past few days, the media has been abuzz over Chris Massie 2.0 and his contract with Coach Cal that requires him to lose 75 pounds if he wants to play for the Tigers. News stations have been revealing Niles in his various states of exercise, diet and struggle. Cal calls this contract more of an "intervention" than a simple deal to play ball. While I agree that reaching your mid-20s below the 300 pound mark is an admirable goal, I can't help but have visions of Jesse Jackson storming to Memphis, shooting turkey legs from the half-time t-shirt cannons. I digress.

If I were in Niles' (giant, overwhelmed) shoes, I would feel pretty raw that the most local news I've had in my career was over the story of me trying to lose weight. Niles' feeding frenzy has even reached a national status, with PETA stepping in to allow their glorious voices of reason to be heard.

Legend has it that PETA saw the Full Court Press video series that Rivals.com and Yahoo produced and took "concerned" notice of Niles' predicament. They took it upon themselves to contact Niles with their suggestions.

PETA's rampant futility is highlighted in the following line: While lots of grease might be required to tame Coach Calipari’s hair, choking down greasy chicken and ribs just makes people fat and causes heart disease. Let's be honest here. If I'm picking teams, Cal's hair is coming with me and PETA is going down. His hair alone is responsible for 2-3 conference wins per season.

Furthermore, let me dissect the previous statement from PETA to prove how mind-numbingly useless that organization is. This is a company who is seeking to made a national headline for themselves by profiteering off a young man who is struggling with his weight. Beyond the lame joke about Cal's hair, PETA warns Niles about the inherent dangers of greasy chicken and ribs. In that vein, I can think of a few other issues that might warrant greater attention from the PETA people.

Exhibit A:
Our own coach serves more steaks in one night than Niles eats in... a month? 6 months? Regardless, let's weigh the options... Niles' diet? or.... CAL'S STEAKHOUSE.

Exhibit B:
We know you're all big fans of the Full Court Press videos. So, why would you prefer to harass Niles about his weight than rescue what was a forest full of helpless minks?

Exhibit C-E:

PETA, you do realize you're talking to someone from Memphis, correct? Let me give you a quick run down of the spots Niles passes on his way to the gym.

You really expect Niles to give up meat? Just give it up? The final tally here is 280 KFCs, 575 hot wing stops and a meager 1015 BBQ joints here in the greater Memphis area. This is beyond a kid in a candy shop. This is a frat guy in a sorority house. This is a Republican in ANWAR. This is a Democrat in an unemployment office. Brotha's gonna eat meat at some point or another. If you really wanna help, send brotha some Tums and go back to taking pictures of young, mindless activists.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

El Capitan...



I hope no one was confused by the endless amount of compliments given to Cal by his players. Friends first, teammates second... Cal, the father figure and the genius... Cal, the bail bondsman... While part of Cal may be sugary sweet, there's another side to Cal that pries into the minds of his players, shines a light on their every weakness and forces them to plow through that weakness.

This is the father figure Cal. This is the practice coach Cal. This is National Championship Coach Cal.

Part II to appear next week.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Hittin the Links (10/31/08)...

SI.com has a little follow up to The Game of Which We Will Not Speak. Bitter taste, indeed, Dozier.

SportingNews.com conducted a Q&A with Coach Cal. Cal talks about reloading, the importance of our defense and the talent in NCAA basketball this year. Cal believes that everyone (except UNC) is a little bit worse this year. That statement will come back to bite him. He's referring to team's on a national level and I agree with him on that. However, the CUSA has made strides recently and the Tigers should keep an eye on the other CUSAers.

Gary Parrish is showing some love to the cream of the non-BCS crop. Adding more fuel to the February 7th fire, he placed the Zags 1st in the non-BCS pool, followed by the Tigers. Must be the excessive hair product seeping into his brain. Nonetheless, it's a good list, especially considering three CUSA teams made the cut. I like that call.

Mike Miller from msnbc.com gives some nice insight into the 3-point line change. Considering the Tigers have shot about 35% in recent years, expect that number to dip a bit. This will force the team to create some shots, get to the hoop and rely more on the big men. Cal could care less where the line is. Nonetheless, it's a good article with a few good links.

Goodman at FOX lists his Top 20 Freshmen here. He has Tyreke at #4. While Tyreke obviously will be #1, he'll be followed closely by Holliday, DeRozan and Shumpert. All the kids on this list are skilled, but these four guys are in the best situation to make the most of their time.

Old Man Roberts... Everyone at Memphis loves CDR, not because he was flashy like Rose, physically dominant like Dorsey, or slick like Cal. No, we loved CDR for his old-man game.
Lastly, I leave with the greatest sports headline that I've read this year. It needs no introduction, but it needs a lot of explanation... "Singletary dropped pants at halftime to make point to 49ers." I don't want to hear about anyone making any kind of point with his pants down.

Tigers #12 in the ESPN/USA Today Poll...

Staying pretty consistent with the other preseason polls, the ESPN/USA Today poll has Memphis ranked #12. We fared a little better than the Gayhawks, as they come in at #23.

With these opening rankings, the Tigers streak of remaining in the Top 25 has run to 61 consecutive weeks, matching UCLA for the longest active streaks.

1. North Carolina (31) 0-0 775
2. Connecticut 0-0 707
3. Louisville 0-0 694
4. UCLA 0-0 650
5. Duke 0-0 578
6. Pittsburgh 0-0 576
7. Michigan State 0-0 572
8. Texas 0-0 538
9. Notre Dame 0-0 525
10. Purdue 0-0 465
11. Gonzaga 0-0 437
12. Memphis 0-0 425
13. Tennessee 0-0 408
14. Oklahoma 0-0 387
15. Arizona State 0-0 304
16. Miami (FL) 0-0 233
17. Marquette 0-0 219
18. Georgetown 0-0 175
19. Florida 0-0 161
20. Davidson 0-0 158
21. USC 0-0 153
21. Wisconsin 0-0 153
23. Kansas 0-0 130
24. Wake Forest 0-0 129
25. Villanova 0-0 122
Others Receiving Votes
UNLV 60, Saint Mary's 59, Ohio State 54, Baylor 47, Xavier 27, Syracuse 23, Texas A&M 19, LSU 19, Arizona 18, Virginia Tech 15, Brigham Young 13, West Virginia 10, Washington 8, Siena 8, Kentucky 7, Vanderbilt 7, Oklahoma State 4, Clemson 2, Washington State 1.

Memphis is, of course, the only CUSA team present in the preseason rankings. Sadly, our old foes Loserville and Marquette have made a preseason appearance. I hate the CUSA.

Memphis and the Incredible Calipari Nonconference Extravanganza!

Brace yourselves. If you haven't been to the bathroom in a while, go now and return asap. We don't want any accidents. Are you ready for this, Tiger fans?

In an interview on AM 560 in Memphis this morning, John Calipari singlehandedly caused Memphis basketball fans everywhere to start dancing in the streets and speaking in tongues. On the radio with Dave Woloshin, Cal dropped a BOMB on Memphis fans.

Memphis has reached (what Cal calls) verbal agreements to play a home-and-home series with both North Carolina and Duke.


Is this for real? It appears so. Duke fessed up to talking with Cal. The Blue Devils even want a third game in the series at a neutral Chicago site. If there's a way, Cal will play.

North Carolina's AD played hard to get, that little rascal, saying he hasn't talked to anyone from Memphis, but that Roy Williams may have. Roy has friends in the area, so it wouldn't surprise me if he's been around a bit and, in the meantime, got together with Cal. I imagine the meeting was pleasant, but ended with Roy and Cal discussing whose was bigger... egos, that is. And what do you get when your cross two members of modern basketball royalty? A precious basketball lovechild that takes the form of a home-and-home between Memphis and North Carolina.

(We may not see Psycho T or Paulus, but commit their jerseys and facial expressions to your memory.)

When, might you ask, will these blessed series commence? Cal said they could happen as early as the 2009-2010 season! Kudos to Cal for striking while Memphis' iron is blazing hot and making an effort to get these incredible series. These agreements are why Cal makes the big bucks. Cal added that the 2009-2010 nonconference schedule may end up being Duke, North Carolina, Syracuse, Tennessee, Gonzaga, Massachusetts and neutral-site games with Kansas (likely in St. Louis, a 4.5 hour trip) and Loserville (likely in Nashville, a 3 hour trip)! In case you didn't catch that last line, I'm going to write it again.

Cal added that the 2009-2010 nonconference schedule may end up being Duke, North Carolina, Syracuse, Tennessee, Gonzaga, Massachusetts and neutral-site games with Kansas and Loserville.

Granted, the deals are not in writing, but Cal says everyone has verbally agreed to the matchups. The North Carolina and Kansas series would be incredible. At this point, Duke might be lucky to get a game with us (ha). You can listen to Cal's Glorious Proclamation here. Give it a listen, because at the end of the call, Cal gives his own little State of the Union address and it's cool to hear him so pumped about the Tigers.

You can read a little more about this story at Rivals.com, here. Notice at the end of the article that Pearl talks some smack about Cal. If the Memphis-Tennessee series ever falls through, I hope they replace it with a no-holds-barred cage match between Cal and Pearl. Cal with his mafia connections, Pearl with his big orange man-breasts. It would be quite a show.

Wanna Spoon?

The people have spoken, and by "spoken", I mean the people have picketed outside my house to inform me that Wesley Witherspoon will be known by no other name than "Spoon" or I will be tarred and feathered. With 85% of the votes, after a couple days, it was obvious the direction Tiger fans needed to go with Wesley's calltag. Although, don't be surprised if I sneak a little "Warhammer" somethin somethin into a post every now and then.

The poll actually had 5 days left, but due to the overwhelming response and the sheer awesomeness of the next poll, I decided to call it early. Spoooooooooooooooooooooon!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Danger Zone...

There have been murmurs among the Memphis fans and coaches about the possibility of the Tigers incorporating a zone defense into their repertoire this season. The past few years, these rumors have flown about here and there, but everyone, including Coach Cal, have laughed them off.

Our teams in the past have been built for man-to-man defense. They may have looked like Tigers on the outside, but, make no mistake, these players were all horses. They ran... and ran... and especially when the other team began to wear down, these guys ran some more. The full court pressure of other teams resembled a fire extinguisher, while the Tigers' press often registered as a Category 5 hurricane.

Last season, the Tigers boasted the 12th ranked defense in regard to opponent's field goal percentage (39.1%). The Tigers ranked 8th in the nation for blocks per game, at 6.1. Running man defense and ranking that high in the nation in blocks is an impressive feat. Defense that efficient is a result of quick-stepping guards who can keep the opponents from establishing a good offensive rhythm, backed by some beasts who can protect the goal if the guards get beat. Cal has said plenty of times that blocks are not the result of one man's defense, but of the second and third man helping. You can attribute the Tigers efficient defense to the athleticism of the big men, which freed up our guards to commit to playing such staunch defense.

Dorsey was an animal. Exhibit A:You can't replace 10 boards/2 third-row souvenirs/25-minutes of paint-prowling instantly. As much as we all love Dorsey, however, let's not forget his cohorts...

Robert Dozier, per game: 26 min, 7 boards, just under 2 stand-candies.
Shawn Taggart, per game: 17 min, 4 boards, 1 stand-candy.

Dozier has been hitting the gym and Tag's knee is in its best shape in three years. Can they own The Dorsey Zone this year? I think so, in limited minutes. These guys will be thrust to the forefront, as they are no longer filling time from the bench, but now must divide Dorsey's time between themselves and the new bench players. Speaking of those guys...

In the frontcourt, 6-11 Angel Garcia will (eventually... hopefully...) be hitting the hard wood, early reports are that Simpkins has a nose for rebounds, and Chris Massie 2.0 has been eating his greens, dressing on the side. Provided that CM2.0 is legitimate this year, the latter part of the season will offer two more talented big men than we had last year.

In regard to the man vs. zone argument, the zone is just not practical with the talent and speed we have in the backcourt. Provided Kemp and Mack can guard anyone this year, they will bolster the disruptive defense of Anderson, Evans, and possibly Spoon.

Garcia is currently hurt, Simpkins needs to get his academics in order, so that leaves the majority of the big man minutes to Dozier, Tag, and CM2.0 early in the season. If that's the case, the Tigers will continue to run, run, run with the speedy guards. Dan Wolken said in his Commercial Appeal spot that the Tigers have not even been running the zone in practice, so there's no reason at all to think they're going to bust it out anytime soon.

However, as our new big men get healthy and get their bookwork straight, they will be given minutes, because they're both very good. I see the young forwards contributing bench minutes and learning a lot this year. The rest of the team is too quick and too athletic to abandon the defense that has made the Tigers so successful in the past. If the zone is ever used, it will be sparingly, because the personnel that would be best for zone is not the best personnel for the dribble-drive offense we know and love. We should never sacrifice Spurtability for the Danger Zone.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Memphis Tigers: #13 according to FOX Sports' Jeff Goodman

Goodman is moving up the polls, starting from #25, and releasing his take on one team per day. He provides a brief summary of everything we already know about the Tigers. He didn't include Witherspoon in his article and it seems he has little faith in Willie Kemp.

Considering who we lost, #13 is a fair spot for a returning national finalist. Most importantly, Tennessee is #14 on the list.


Should we be worried about #13? I think not. Memphis has a habit of enjoying the underdog role.

Tomb of Doom



The people have spoken and, with little surprise, Tiger fans are most excited to see Tyreke Evans as he leads us to a national championship victory!

The DRose Era Begins Tonight in Chicago...


Tune in to WGN to see the beginning of a beautiful thing when DRose takes the court in his official NBA debut as a Chicago Bull. The game starts at 7:30p CT.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Tiger News Throughout the Weekend...

Money, money, money, mo-nay... Dan Wolken wants to reassure all Tiger fans that Cal is the coach of the Tigers... at least until the 2011-2012 season.

Rumors have been swirling that Cal might be interested in the recently vacated Arizona spot. However, Wolken makes it abundantly clear that Cal loves money, I mean, the Tigers. He stands to make around $3.4 million per year coaching the Tigers and this number does not include the perks from the new Nike deal that Cal just orchestrated. Considering our next likely president will be bumping Cal's income tax up another 5% or so, I'd probably keep the money, too.

Wolken also touches on the issue that Cal is in the midst of a strong run with this Tiger's team. Good recent recruiting classes , success in the NCAA Tournament and even Seth Davis is starting to see blue and gray... Three to four years ago, 'Zona would have been a much more attractive spot for Cal, but he's riding a high tidal wave of momentum in M-town, and he refuses to lose.
______________________________
For those who haven't heard, Derrick Favors skipped his trip to Memphis this week. He is supposedly coming to town next weekend, so we'll need another vigil at the Forum for prayer and chanting.
______________________________
Witherspoon has been spending time running the point in practice. Cal seems to be impressed with his play and flirted with the idea of an Anderson, Witherspoon, Evans full court press, which would be nothing short of a deliciously dominant defense. That sounds a lot gayer now that I've typed it. The team practiced Saturday and Sunday, with the first organized scrimmage occurring on Sunday.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Now Holding Open Tryouts...

This is truly the American Dream. Matt Williams, a transfer from D-II Tarleton State, finds himself as the new placekicker (of PATs) for the #8 Texas Tech Red Raiders. How did this do-little make his way from the bowels of D-II (as a walk-on, mind you) to the PAT duties for the Red Raiders? By winning a ridiculous half-time contest, of course!

Why spend years getting picked on in junior high and high school for being a kicker when you can score your spot on a Top-10, D-I nationally known football team by simply winning the absurd, hi-mom, Dr. Pepper Half-Time Field Goal Contest! The Raiders kicking game was in shambles, having missed PATs and field goals. Rather than hold try-outs and scrape for walk-ons, look no further than last week's field goal contest winner. At this point, Williams is 5 for 5 on PATs as the Raiders pound Kansas. This is truly a story of hope, struggle and the American spirit... or something.


In light of Williams' success, I find myself wondering about a similar situation for our Memphis Tigers. For a team that is so successful offensively, we have been plagued by poor free throw shooting. Flashbacks of DWash and CDR take me to razor's edge, but it doesn't have to be this way.


I'm reminded of a basketball clinic I went to years ago. A 60-something year old fellow came in for a little presentation. He was supposedly the free throw record holder at the time. We were all pumped to learn the secret of free throw shooting. The old fella rolled over a rack of basketballs, lined up, and began to teach us how to shoot a free throw. The man was not Rick Barry. In fact, I don't remember the guy's name, but he could make some free throws. Needless to say, a bunch of 12-year olds were less than impressed.

Since that time, I began following the Tigers. I now understand the importance of consistent free throw shooting. That's why I'm proposing that the Tigers hold a contest of their own! Find the greatest free throw shooters in the city, have them walk on the team, and run isolation plays for them at the end of close games. Set some screens, throw some bows, whatever it takes. Even if it takes someone finding that old cronie from my basketball past so he could sink a few free throws, it needs to be done. Maybe Pepsi could sponsor it?

Episode 2...

Rivals released the second portion of their Tiger webisodes... Thank God. The Memphis scene has been slow for the past couple days.

The basketball team signed on with Nike for their jerseys and gear this year, but no pictures have been released. This is a good move, because Adidas never gave the Tigers the love they deserved. If they'd had their minds right, Adidas could've sold thousands of jerseys during the Tiger's run in March.

I'm a little surprised the Nike move didn't come sooner. Nike has somewhat of a presence in Memphis with a small plant in the Hacks Cross area, so you'd think they would've tried pressing the Tigers a bit more. My understanding is that the coach's have final word on that, so Cal could've had something cooking with Adidas for a while. Either way, Nike is releasing home and away jerseys, plus a couple alternates that (finally!) incorporate some gray.

In other news, Roburt Sallie is a slow mofo, but he's just getting his feet wet. Nothing to fret about.

On to the webisodes... This video showed a bit of the dunk contest and it seems Robinson (who is a freak athletically) and Mack have the best ups. There are some funny moments, especially when Garcia gives it a shot. I thought angels were supposed to fly? Hey, at least he tried.



Rivals also gives a little Memphis Madness/New Season hybrid shout out. CDR makes a video appearance and Cal encourages us to let our hair down. Whatever. I will say, in this video and the other instances that I've seen him, Witherspoon is a trip. I know some Greeks that roll with him and say he's hilarious. The camera doesn't seem to faze him. I think he could be the voice for the team that we lost when Dorsey moved up.



Lastly, X was in a car crash and suffered a minor concussion. Favors will be in town tomorrow for his official visit. Say a prayer for both, throw some Hail Marys (Maries?) up, go lay hands on the Forum or something!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Full Court Press...

Rivals and Yahoo have joined forces to bring a series of webisodes talking about the Tigers. Pretty cool series. I'm embedding the first, but follow the link to get what has been released of the whole series.



Also, check out the video on Niles. It's good to see the big man finally take some initiative, but I couldn't help but get pissed off when he mentioned that he hadn't worked out the past two summers, then the camera panned to see him taking up two seats on the bench in The Game of Which We Will Not Speak. Oh, well. Onward and upward.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Cal, we need a Favors...

Sorry. That title was lame. It was either that or, "Cal, do us a Favors...". I made the right choice.

Derrick Favors, Scout's #1 ranked prospect is coming to Memphis on Saturday for his official visit. Give him a look.



If you see him in the street, throw some love, money, bling his way. He has family, probably some cousins, in Memphis, so hopefully he'll feel right at home. There are a few details in the AJC this week and lots of Tech fans (and even a delusional Gayhawk fan) talking smack on there, so make sure you leave a message for those fools.

Call a Doctor! Call the National Guard! Call The Game of Which We Will Not Speak!!!

Because Derrick Rose just sank two free throws with a minute and 41 seconds left.

Derrick Rose just sank two free throws... at the end of the game... to keep his team in contention...

In an NBA preseason game.
Nonetheless, Rose's line was really impressive tonight. He finished with 30 points on 13-18 shooting, with 7 assists. His Bulls trailed the Mavericks by 23 points in the fourth quarter, but Rose led his team back to within one point on his late-game free throws. With 41 seconds left, Rose sank a baseline jumper to put the Bulls ahead 103-101 and they carried the lead until the buzzer rang.

Granted, Dirk wasn't in the game in the fourth quarter, so the win might be a little tainted (or maybe not, since Dirk is like a church girl who never seals the deal at the end of a game). However, it's still an impressive night from Rose. He completely took over the game in the fourth quarter and I couldn't help but shed a tear, thinking of the days when he used to take over Tiger games.

Here's some clips. The teardrops, the jumpers, the thunderdunk... Rose did everything last night.



Meanwhile, Shawne Williams went 1-1 in the game, finishing with 2 points in 2 minutes.
Mayn, shoot.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Required Reading...

Angel Garcia sprained his knee in practice Sunday night, affording him plenty of time to hit the books.

10/22 UPDATE: It's just been announced that Garcia will be out 6-8 weeks with a sprained MCL in his left knee. I don't believe he would be receiving extensive playing time, so hopefully he will use this time to learn the offense and get his academics right.

Mack Attack...

Rumors have been flying concerning the where-abouts of Doneal Mack during the Opening Events of Memphis Madness. Reader DGrizzle passed along this incriminating evidence...


It was nuthin, mayn. Mack was just gettin his hair did.

Pierre Niles Represent!

According to a variety of sources, Pierre Niles has teamed up with Coach Cal and Mike Golic to iron out a plan for him to "Get in the Game." Losing 50 pounds? Alley-oops? Salad with light dressing on the side? These are phrases that may soon be associated with our beloved Frenchman. I'm hoping for Chris Massie 2.0.

Take a liston to Chris Vernon on the new and improved Niles here.

Hittin the Links...

Catch the repeat of the CUSA Men's Basketball Media Day on CSTV on the following dates... Saturday, October 25th at 11am CT; Monday, October 27th at 1:30pm; and Wednesday, October 29th at 1pm and 7pm. Keep up with all things C-USA on CSTV. You can find their TV schedule here.

Calipari claims Dozier can be a Top 10 NBA Draft Pick next season in a nice article by Seth Davis, who apparently can't handle Memphis' spicy BBQ sauce... lightweight.

Update on recruiting-bait C. J. Henry, Tiger free-throw drills, and study buddies Simpkins and Garcia in the latest from the CA.

Project Pat, er, Andre Allen, has signed to play with local NAIA program Crichton College. I hope Crichton has a good foreign language department, as AA prepares for a lifetime of basketball in Europe.

The C-USA is expected to be the most improved league by several writers at Rivals.com.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Raisin' that banner...



I appreciate them using the smokescreen to cover up the word "Finalist" on that banner... Nonetheless, word has it that Memphis Madness was a hit. I wasn't able to attend, as a buddy was getting married yesterday evening, but everything I've read and seen shows it was a real winner. The crowd was going buckwild during the player intros, as you can see...



No sign of Mack in the intros. Where's the love? Could be that he was cut out of the video as punishment for letting SHAWN TAGGART beat him at the 3-point contest. I knew Tag was gonna be a leader this season. I did not expect that to be in the 3-point shooting department.

If you made it to the Madness, leave a comment and let us know what you thought!

Until next time, here's a little something to lift your spirits...


(Images linked from The Commercial Appeal)

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Coming to America...

Fresh on the heels of my rant on the decline of the CUSA, the coaches show up on CUSA Media Day to raise the roof of the conference. Granted, pumping up all things CUSA related is essential on media day. It sits high on the Coach's Media Day Checklist:
  1. Pump up your team. Talk about returning starters, the new blood and having the best fans in the world.
  2. Pump up the Conference USA. Take it from a Top 5 Shmoozer of all time. You know him, you love him, Coach John Calipari...

    "Larry's team (Southern Miss), on the other hand, has five starters back," he said. "What's great with our league now … the Tulsa guys won their tournament. Barbee's team, he's walking with a foot between his feet and the floor so that tells you how good he believes his team is going to be. Mike Davis' team (at UAB), everybody is talking about. And all of you people are falling asleep on Marshall. They'll be outstanding.

    "Every team in our league has gotten better. There's a number of NBA-caliber players. I'm excited about the league and a little worried about my team. We've got good players, we just have to figure out who's going to be where and figure out how we're going to play."

  3. Scope for a hot interview to get your team in the media. Sports Illustrated? Rivals.com? Those would be hot interviews, but I was thinking more along the lines of...

That's right, son! I'm takin' it back to puberty!

...It's Summer Sanders.

(On a horrible and hilarious sidenote, Summer Sanders left sportscasting to care for and spend an extensive amount of time naming her children, Skye Bella and Robert Charles Spider Schlopy. Come on, Summer. The boy is already gonna have to cope with Schlopy Seconds. Was it the Olympian in you? You just had to go for the gold and name the kid "Spider"?)

While Media Day is a chance for the conference coaches to smoke a peace pipe and stoke the fan's fires, it sounds like the coaches all feel that the Conference USA is on the verge of making a comeback. UAB, Tulsa and, possibly, UTEP have a chance to pick up some of the slack left Marquette, Cincy and Loserville. With Memphis getting as much national attention as it has the past couple years, there are plenty of opportunities for these teams to share in some of that spotlight (and I'm sure they have been in their recruiting). So, who is going to seize the reins and become part of the royal family of this league? Who will remain the court jester? Time will tell.