Friday, March 16

March Madness - Memphis Tigers

Gonzo Tiger Blogging – North Texas Game

My stream of consciousness about Memphis Basketball. I grew up on Tiger games in The Coliseum, and now I'm one of many blogging about the Tigers in the Tournament at The Commercial Appeal's sports blog,

1) Another busy day at the office. The TV, which I think was intended for inclement weather updates, is prematurely tuned to CBS and Bob Barker’s thrilling Showcase Showdown. I can’t wait to get this early morning Tiger tip-off underway.

2) Does this game scare me? No, not really. I don’t know enough about “The Mean Green” to be worried. I just know the committee thought so much of them that they are a 15 seed.

3) The pregame storylines: We are to believe that Dorsey is a reformed hothead, and Memphis players are now obsessed with skull art. Great. Let’s hope the Tigers took a little time away from the barber shop to practice this week.

4) Memphis seems to have a pretty strong contingent of fans in the lower bowl. I wonder how many of them were hugging the toilet bowl early this morning after hard fought night in the Casino and out on Bourbon street. Let’s hope they get loud.

5) Tip-off. Here we go. Wait…What’s this? No 14-0 lead for Memphis?!? North Texas scores first? It’s not really what I had in mind, but whatever. Dorsey got smacked in the nose going for an early rebound. He seems pretty steamed, but he hasn’t ripped anybody in half yet. So we got that going for us…which is nice.

6) Memphis seems like the more nervous of the two, and North Texas can’t miss! Memphis is probably shooting 60%, but that won’t cut it at this point. I look up the stats on the game tracker and after several minutes, Memphis is shooting 62% and UNT is at 77% (or 7-9) from the field! Holy Shnikies! Are those regulation rims, or what? This is high octane basketball.

7) One of the announcers just said that Memphis is 324th in Division I at the foul line. I didn’t even know there were 324 teams in Division I! Not cool.

8) You’d think a close game between a 15 and a 2 seed would indicate poor play from Memphis but that’s just not the case. Not yet anyway. You know that Coach Cal is saying to himself, “They can’t shoot 75% all day, can they?”

9) Things are looking up. Now that Memphis is starting to pull away in the first half, it’s almost like North Texas Coach Johnny Jones told his players to just go out on the court and fall down. They are flopping more than a French soccer team, but for the most part, the refs ain’t buyin’ it.

10) As the first half comes to a close, Memphis is in the midst of one of their patented adrenaline induced runs. As usual, The Tigers’ superior athletes and fresh legs start to take over, like the house odds at Harrah’s. Memphis up 37 to 28 at the break.

11) Stat of the Half: North Texas started 7 of 9 then went cold (understatement): 3 of 18 or 17%! And I thought The Tigers were icy hot.

12) The second half started off much like the first; The Mean Green come out strong and narrow the already too-close-for-comfort gap. This is not quite the statement game I was hoping for.

13) You’d think Coach Cal would pull Andre Allen aside and inform him that someone has replaced his basketball shorts with Capri pants. There is far too little shin on display. What am I saying? The guy has an “M” and a tiger carved in his hair. He’s above the law.

14) As soon as I write that, Allen starts to single handedly take over the game in a flash of steals, fast breaks and all around clutch point guard play. He’s just in a higher gear than everyone else. What a great asset to this team. I think he should shave “Clutch” on the other side of his head. He’s the anti-Sampson. Somebody fly his barber down to Nawlins, stat!

15) Memphis is up double digits for the first time. I start to wonder if Memphis will come anywhere near “the line.” (can’t find out – work blocks those naughty gambling type sites)

16) I guess CBS seems to think that Memphis has this game in hand, because they cut to the Georgia Tech vs. UNLV game. Thanks guys! I can’t even watch the game online because “This game is available on your local CBS affiliate.” Now, I’m no rocket scientist, but this sure doesn’t look like Memphis. Just another example of The Man keepin’ us down.

17) Well, CBS was right. Memphis wins the game in semi-convincing fashion: 73-58.

18) Thoughts and Concerns:

- 24-59 shooting from the floor (40%) - Boo.
- 19-27 from the free throw line (70%) - I like.
- CDR’s fouls were a concern because he was the only player that shot above 50% today and he spent way too much time on the bench.

19) Overall – Memphis played like a 7 seed today.

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