Sunday, April 06, 2008

Final two

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.

2 comments:

LASunsett said...

As you know from postings, I have been impressed with the Tigers' athletic ability. They can run, jump, shoot, and play defense as well as anyone. My only reservations were, once they got deep in the tournament, could they maintain that intensity?

I wasn't sure until they throttled Texas, which is a very good team and one I picked on my bracket to be playing Kansas tomorrow night. At least, I was half right.

After Memphis was able to shred that stingy pressure defense of UCLA, I think it becomes apparent they are the team to beat. But, I would caution all Tiger fans to not celebrate prematurely.

Whose jaws did not drop when the score was KS 40 - NC 12? KS is a damned good team. (I have heard through the grapevine that during that time, it was so quiet in the state of NC, several new species of crickets may have been discovered. Scientists are now working to confirm that.)

A.C. McCloud said...

Good call on KS. I have to admit I didn't know much about them and figured NC could stay with anyone. But when they came out for the pre-game intros they looked more like a "team" than NC.

Even still, Carolina almost made one of the greatest comebacks in history. It was amazing. Still, the J-hawks got their revenge over the old coach and it should be a good final.