Yesterday on the show we goofed on the idea of Memphis fans singing Rocky Top in San Antonio. John Calipari said that Memphis fans should root for UT, and vice versa. He said that it is a "state thing." Cal has spent 7 years jabbing at SEC fans and SEC fans have spent 7 years hating Cal, so now lets have everyone get in a circle, hold hands, and sing Kumbaya. Ha! Beyond the idea of how hard it would be for a Tiger fan to root for UT, there is a better reason not to root for Tennessee if you are a Memphis fan.... You want to go to the Final Four.
I know what happens when Tennessee matches up with Memphis. Memphis loses. I saw how that story plays out. Before you say it, let me go through a few things about that game. I know Cooper and Mack were not contributors, I know Dorsey got a tech, I know that Lofton went crazy (he does that a lot if you have not noticed), and I know that the game was in Knoxville. There, have we gotten all of the excuses out of the way?
The fact of the matter is that Tennessee is a bad match-up for Memphis. It would be easier to be objective as a fan if UT was in a different jersey, and I understand that. Now, lets get to the analysis.
Tennessee is a bad match-up because of their tireless press. Remember how UAB was always the toughest match up for Memphis under Mike Anderson? Think UAB, only with much more talent. They do not get tired and fatigued like the normal team. UT can expose a few of the Tiger weaknesses (probably the only Tiger weaknesses). Those weaknesses include having a lack of really good ball-handlers, making good decisions in a transition game, and the ability to stop the dribble-drive.
Memphis likes to play fast. Tennessee likes to play fast. Tennessee is better at it.
Ohio State will walk the ball up the court and the game turns into a battle. Memphis can play like that. Memphis will have an advantage when the tempo speeds up against Ohio State, they will not against Tennessee. Memphis can drive the ball into Oden 500 times and get him in foul trouble. The advantage for Memphis many times is there style of play and their ability to tire their opposition out. That helps them against a team like Ohio St., it does not against UT.
Its all about how you match-up. The Tigers match-up better against Ohio State.
If Memphis fans want the Tigers to go to the Final Four, they better root for Ohio State. The Tigers could beat Ohio State, but they cannot beat Tennessee.