America loves an underdog--will they take to the Memphis Tigers? Memphians surely have. This is the biggest thing to hit since Elvis left the building.
For non-natives such as myself it's not nearly as sweet but the atmosphere is fun. Blue and gray shirts are everywhere and neighborhoods are full of Tiger parties. The team is truly bringing people together.
Technically speaking it was evident early in the tournament the Memphis guards were vastly underrated and were overpowering most teams they faced. The whole team gets credit, but the backcourt was really instrumental in achieving the record-setting 38 win season.
Matter of fact it was farcical watching the evolution of Jim Nance and Billy Packer on CBS-TV as they went from disparaging or ignoring in earlier games to cheerleading after the Tigers won this one. They weren't alone--most experts figured Memphis was the most vulnerable number one seed and Calipari milked that very effectively all the way.
To some degree Kansas was also helped by the hype put on North Carolina and Ty Hansbrough as player of the year. He certainly didn't play like it. But neither Kansas nor Memphis can entirely claim the underdog mantle on Monday, so it could be a close game.
No predictions, only hearty congrats to the long-suffering and devoted fans (unlike myself) who've waited so long for this moment. Who knows, maybe that little pat Chris Douglas-Roberts gives his tat before each free throw really helped.