The Memphis Tigers decimated the UConn Huskies to the tune of 25 points at home in the FedEx Forum, solidifying a four game winning streak. The CHIEF is here to brief y’all.
— American MBB (@American_MBB) January 17, 2018
Give Me More Pete Gillen, Baby:
“It feels like bodies are flying in from everywhere.” — The Non-Pete Gillen announcer as the Tigers took a 62-35 lead with 8 minutes left in the second half of a home AAC game on a cold (like really f’n cold) Memphis evening. Speaking of Pete Gillen, I knew Memphis had all but sealed the win when I heard ole Petey G. on the call. He’s a notable #TigersAnnouncer, always giving Memphis irrational amounts of love when he’s on the mic in the Forum. I mean, how lovable is this guy:
The Memphis Tigers Are Starting to Growl — A Metaphor For Playing Well:
Tubby has turned Jeremiah Martin into Elliot Perry and Mike Parks Jr. into Chris Massie these last four games. Impressive.
— L. Jason Smith (@JasonSmith929) January 17, 2018
The game’s tone was set with the starting guard matchup of UConn’s Jalen Adams and Memphis’ Jeremiah Martin. Which all-conference guard would come out on top? Well, when the smoke cleared, Jeremiah Martin emerged with 21 points and 11 rebounds, not to mention his defense of Adams (resulting a couple of blocks and three steals using his Inspector Gadget-esque arms). Adams finished with a quiet 11 points and never seemed to find his rhythm while being hounded by Martin.
Mike Parks, Jr. looked like Shaq on the low block. He also finished with 21 points and 11 boards, and he’s been manhandling everyone in the post since he’s started to see extended minutes. His grown man body lends itself to his bruising style of play, so let’s hope he keeps butt-bumping defenders back and hitting turn-around five-footers for the rest of the season. To share the load, Kareem Brewton added 10 off the bench — from which he’s turned into a solid 6th-Man-Bucket-Getter.
The Tigers have been playing great basketball, sharing the ball, and ratcheting up their defense. Of course, I ain’t mad that Jeremiah Martin has been playing like an All American, averaging 18-5-4 over the past four games. Moving to 13-6, the Tigers look to control their destiny and potentially hear “One Shining Moment” for the first time in three years. (Footnote: absurdly early, I know, but just let me enjoy these wins).
With #12 Cincinnati and #7 Wichita State both rolling into the Forum in the next three weeks, Tubby Smith has a chance to string together a couple of really good wins that could prove invaluable to the Tigers’ resume come Selection Sunday. This team, as unheralded as the players may be, is playing with the confidence of a Top 25 program. And that, my friends, is the first step to becoming one.
What Gives with UCONN, Bro?
Shit, I’m wondering that too, man. Though UConn was without its second leading scorer, Terry Larrier, Kevin Ollie’s UConn squad — sitting at 130 on KenPom before this loss — falls to 10-8 after this veritable beatdown. Last year was UConn’s first losing season in the modern college basketball era. Regarding this storied program that’s won four championships in the past twenty years, the Tigers’ beat writer had this accurate tweet nugget:
This is not your daddy's UConn.
— Mark Giannotto (@mgiannotto) January 17, 2018
I couldn’t help but capitalize on this opportunity to post a picture of Kevin Ollie doing the “Kevin Ollie face” — as I’ve so coined it:
Next Man Up:
Tigers look to make it five straight wins against Frank Haith’s Golden Hurricanes @ Tulsa on Saturday (1/20) at 7pm.
Follow me on Twitter: @TheBarnChief
[banner image from GoTigersGo.com]