Hey folks, just thought I’d keep a little running diary during the most hyped college hoops game this year, Bill Simmons style.
Will the game live up to the hype? My guess is yes. Both of these teams have ridiculous individual talent and their fast-paced styles of play will surely make for an exciting and entertaining evening.
To be honest, I strongly believe that a loss could be a good thing for Memphis. Nothing could leave the Tigers more vulnerable in the tournament than an undefeated season. Why? Losses make you angry. They motivate you to work harder in practice, and make you hungrier for wins. For more information on this theory, ask Bill Belichek…. Anyway, it’s time for the tip!!!
9:00pm – Peyton Manning’s the only person in the FedEx Forum wearing orange. ESPN busts out Dick Vitale for the game… why not? He’s the franchise. Memphis’ intro song? You guessed it: Eye of the Tiger.
9:04pm – Three Smith’s in the Volunteer starting lineup!? That’s better than the Atlanta Hawks’ Johnson, Williams, Smith lineup.
9:06pm – Tennessee makes a three and Calipari calls timeout… no wonder Memphis is perfect on the season, their coach is a Hermione Grangeresque perfectionist.
9:11pm – Hahaha… Dickie-V says the Tigers are probably the best basketball team in the city… anyone disagree?
9:16pm – Close game through about 7 min (20-16, Tigers). Nine threes made thus far… Jajuan Smith and Antonio Anderson are stroking it like Anthony Parker and Jason Kapono (shameless plug). But seriously, are college players even challenged by the distance of the college three? Sure doesn’t look like it…
9:22pm – How good is Memphis? Their back-up point guard’s in the game for future-lottery pick Derrick Rose. He (Antonio Allen) was a two-time Mr. Basketball in Tennessee at Booker T. Washington high school. The Tigers’ third-string point guard, Willie Kemp, who’s currently sitting on the bench, was also Mr. Basketball in Tennessee his senior year in high school! I wonder if Kemp wishes he’d gone elsewhere for his college career… say, Knoxville?
9:30pm – Memphis by 5, 29-24. About 9 minutes to go in the half and Memphis continues to drop trifectas like they’re…. umm… I don’t know, the number one team in the nation?
9:33pm – Chris Douglas-Roberts is NBA caliber. Book it, he’ll average at least 17 per game during his prime in the pros.
9:36pm – How old is Elvis’ former wife Priscilla Presley? Wow…
9:38pm – What’s Chris Lofton up to? 0 – 1 on the night. The guy dropped 34 on Memphis when the teams played last year.
9:46pm – Memphis is the 4th-worst foul shooting team in D1 basketball. How can they still be undefeated shooting 58% from the line on the year!? Wow… good ol’ Conference-USA basketball…
9:47pm – Lofton drops free throw with 2:41 left in the half to pop his cherry on the night. Hopefully that will get him going because he can be damn fun to watch when his shot’s on.
9:51pm – Memphis leads by one at the half… we’re in for a dandy folks! Erin Andrews pulls Bruce Pearl aside for an interview as he heads to the dressing room, and he’s straight-up working her. First he puts his hands all over her (apparently demonstrating how closely the Tigers are guarding Lofton, but I’m not buying it), then he switches things around and plays reporter: “What a start to the game, huh Erin?”. Haha, Pearl’s a P.I.M.P. in case you didn’t know (http://loserwithsocks.files.wordpress.com/2007/09/bp1.jpg).
10:08pm – Wow, Pearl’s 3P (Passion, Poise, and Purpose) halftime speech was pretty weak. Kind of reminds me of Spenny’s weak 4F strategy in the “Who Do Old People Like More?” episode of Kenny vs. Spenny. Tell me gave his boys a better pep talk when the cameras were gone.
10:11pm – Vols take their first lead in a WHILE, thanks to Iowa transfer Tyler Smith’s little hook shot. If you want to see a neat feature on Smith, hit this up: http://sports.espn.go.com/broadband/video/videopage?videoId=3260527
10:18pm – Tennessee big man, Wayne Chism goes down after twisting his ankle, due to Chris Douglas-Roberts unintentionally imitating Bruce Bowen. Looks like Chism is alright and will be back in the game soon.
10:25pm – The Vols take a six point lead thanks to some sloppy play by Memphis. At times it looks like Derrick Rose has TJ Ford syndrome (where he’s too fast for his own good). It’s not too bad of a problem to have, but it may definitely be the cause of some crucial Tiger turnovers in the near future.
10:32pm – Tennessee leads, 50-43. The big boy Chism comes back in the game and drops a three! Again, the college three is too close, these guys are just abusing it! Lofton continues to be guarded ridiculously well by the Memphis guards. He’s 31 points shy of his total for last year’s game.
10:41pm – 9 minutes left and the Vols lead by six… upset? Imagine beating the #1 team when your best scorer scores only 3 points… that’s the definition of depth.
10:44pm – Dick Vitale must have some kind of RSS feed to this diary because he just elaborated on how this Volunteer performance is a testament to their team depth as Lofton struggles.
10:50pm – Lofton shows up with 7 minutes left. Makes a crazy lay-up. Antonio Anderson responds with a lay-up of his own and I am pumped for this finish!!!
10:52pm – Add Derrick Rose to Memphis’ future NBA player line-up. But you already knew that.
10:55pm – Tennessee leads by one with 4 minutes to play. One thing’s for sure: if Memphis wants to win a national championship this year, they’re going to have to improve from the line. These guys are making Shaq and Ben Wallace look like Steve Nash and JJ Redick. Just think about that… Shaq and Ben Wallace looking like Steve Nash and JJ Redick. Sorry for the nightmares.
11:02pm – CD-R is a champ! He makes a clutch fast break lay-up, rolls his ankle, and then limps his ass off down the floor to get back on defense. That’s heart. And when you combine that kind of heart with his talent…
11:05pm – Wow, crazy turnover for the Tigers… Dorsey and Dozier battle each other for an offensive rebound and travel in the process…
11:06pm – Tyler Smith makes a clutch jumper to put Tennessee up by one. Antonio Anderson misses a floater, and the Tigers are forced to foul… 9 seconds left.
11:09pm – Tigers down three and Tennessee intentionally fouls Derrick Rose. What do you know, it comes down to Memphis at the free throw line… makes the first, intentionally misses the second, and Chris Lofton grabs the rebound. That’s that folks, the Vols win the battle of Tennessee for the second straight year, and the Tigers’ perfect season ends tonight. But as I said a couple hours ago, the loss will do them well in the long-run.