Thursday, February 21, 2008

Memphis and Tennessee Playing For Critics Respect On Saturday

In what could be the best game of this season to date, there is more on the line than just in state bragging rights for the Tigers and Vols. Memphis and Tennessee are the top two teams in both polls this week, but they are still looking for the respect that comes with being that high in the polls. Many people I have talked to see Memphis as the default #1 team because they are undefeated but others think they are overrated because they play in a "mid major" conference. As for Tennessee no on is complaining about the Vols at all. In fact, no one is talking about the Vols. Maybe its better to not to be talked about I really don't know but this team deserves some love and I don't feel they are getting any. I do know is this, the teams are a combine 50-2 this season, and tickets for this game are almost as popular, if not more popular, the Super Bowl tickets. Do you need any other reason to watch? Now lets see how both of these teams got to this point in the season.

The Tigers come into the game 26-0, the last undefeated team in the Division I basketball. While they do play one of the weaker conferences in college basketball, they also have played one of the toughest non conference schedules in the land. They have non conference wins over Oklahoma, UConn, USC, Arizona, Georgetown, and Gonzaga. One of the reasons why Memphis has had so much success this season is because of their depth. Memphis has eight players that are averaging 5 points or more this season. If Memphis are to get passed Tennessee this weekend, there is a very good chance the Tigers can go undefeated before the NCAA Tournament starts in mid March. Something also to note is that Memphis has made it to the Elite Eight the past two years.

Man has Bruce Pearl done a great job at the University of Tennessee. The Vols have played just as hard of a non conference schedule as Memphis has, picking up wins against Temple, West Virgina, Xavier, Ohio State, and Gonzaga. Add that with a 11-1 SEC record and you can see why Tennessee is ranked as high as they are. With a handful of Smiths and Chris Lofton running things for the Vols as they are ready to take down the Tigers. Things don't get easier for the Vols after Saturday as they have a trip to Vanderbuilt looming just three days after the battle with Memphis.

Who Wins?
I am gonna go with the home team in this game because I think Memphis is ready to scilence some critcs about being a default #1 in the polls and show everyone they deserve that #1 spot. It is going to be a great matchup and I am excited for Saturday night.


Sportsattitude said...

I watched Tennessee luck out against LSU and barely beat Georgia in the last two weeks, both road games. Two teams they should have waxed. Playing Memphis at Memphis is a whole other animal. Not saying Memphis is the better team...but I would have to agree they should prevail Saturday night based on the Vols' recent road struggles.

Sportsattitude said...

What a fun game to watch. It was worth being wrong about UT to see two teams play transition basketball all night long. I am eager to see how Tennessee comes out against Vandy in a couple of days. If they can pull that one off you have to consider them back on their game and those stumbles at LSU and Georgia were likely going through the motions in anticipation of the Memphis showdown.

Marc said...

Great analysis, Gonner.