Thursday, March 29, 2007
Someone once wrote, “There is no easy path to glory, and there is no rosy road to fame.” And that is what coach John Calipari and the Memphis Tigers have been saying all along. At times over the past two seasons, there has been a perception of a lack of respect in their particular arena. Well, unilaterally, I think those perceptions can be laid to rest.
In their back-to-back travels to the Elite Eight, they have waylaid some of the best there is. This season they waded through the best the Sunbelt had to offer in North Texas, next the Big 12 South entry, Texas A&M, whose name “Aggies” itself seems to portend some fearful agnomen. And let us not forget the second round game against Nevada when the Tigers effectively shed the “pretender to the throne” mantle and showed their true mettle.
The talk all over the bi-county area last week was glowing admiration for the Tigers and suggestions of just how far they would actually go. No secret, they did not go as far as they would have liked, but they again made it to the Elite Eight. And they gave the Big Ten entry all it could handle. The score gap was a little wide at the end but it did not really depict the entire game. The Tigers lost two premier contributors to fouls and they had a morale shredder in an intentional foul call. After that, the Buckeyes lived at the charity stripe and hit 19 straight before missing.
In this mix, there was a lot of talk that Calipari was on the edge of bolting to the team with most storied history in collegiate ball – Kentucky. On Sunday, Coach was very emphatic about his not leaving the Tiger program. Really, you have to believe him since he is losing only one starter.
And speaking of Kaintuck, remember two weeks ago, the AD at the Wildcats had given Tubby Smith the highest vote of confidence. Then Tubby dropped the bomb that he was moving to Minnesota. Think Coach Tubby can’t read the handwriting on the backboard?
As much as there was talk about the Tigers last week, there was as much talk about the Lady Vols and Lady Rebels. Both have made it to the fourth round and will meet in the Elite Eight. There was much concern about the Lady Rebels and their contest against number 3 Oklahoma. Number 7 Ole Miss hammered the Lady Sooners into submission.
As much as I look forward to the Lady Rebels’ match-up with Tennessee, there is this feeling of dread. Need I say more?
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