Louisville 53 Memphis 44
First of all, let me reiterate how great the scene looked at FedExForum. I wish I could have been there--but the atmosphere came across on television as incredibly intense. Great job, Memphis fans.
The game itself--it was intense, too. Wow, was it intense. You can't fault the Tigers for effort, but you certainly can fault them for execution. Some of the numbers from the Tigers' end are inconceivably bad. How in the world does this team shoot less than 20 percent from the field? I don't think I've ever seen that before at any level. To say Louisville's zone caused problems would be the understatement of the century. The Tigers made just ONE three-pointer all night. One. Out of 23 attempts. One three. It defies explanation. What also defies explanation is how the Tigers imploded in the last 5 minutes or so--Louisville closed the game on a 25-5 run.
Fortunately for the Tigers, Louisville's offense was only slightly better--thanks in large part to a masterful Tiger defense that kept Louisville quiet for almost the entire game. Great effort, great hustle on defense, and a great job of getting Louisville into foul trouble.
Rodney Carney, where were you? You're the most exciting offensive spark on the team and you somehow manage to go scoreless in the biggest game of the year? Inexcusable. You could see he really started forcing things out of frustration. It was remarkable that the Tigers stayed in control for so long in this game while getting nothing at all from Carney.
Darius Washington had a double-double. 14 points and 10 rebounds for the talented freshman. He was once again the best player on the court, but even he couldn't handle the zone at all. The Tigers can probably expect to see a lot more of the zone as the season comes to a close.
For those who criticize John Calipari for not being able to make proper in-game adjustments, this game will give them more ammunition to work with. The zone was not accounted for at all. Nothing was done late in the game to stem the Louisville tide. John Calipari and his players simply folded in the biggest game of the season.
This definitely means the Tigers have to win the C-USA tourney to get into the NCAA tournament now. Remember, Sports 56 has full play-by-play of every C-USA tourney game not involving the Tigers.