Memphis Tigers making noise in NCAA

Feb 17, 2009 5:05 PM
On The Mark by Mark Mayer |
last week

The Memphis Tigers just keep growling.

Last year’s national runnerup to Kansas in a memorable overtime thriller has quietly run off 16 straight victories.

You hear the experts talk about North Carolina and the ACC, UConn, Pitt and the Big East, but not much said about Coach John Calipari’s Tigers. Fact is Memphis is 16-0 since starting freshman point guard Tyreke Evans.

Evans was the dominant player in a recent blowout of Gonzaga, which at one stage of the first half turned the ball over nine consecutive times. Memphis lost Derrick Rose, Chris Douglas Roberts and Joey Dorsey off last year’s almost NCAA title team and went 106-9 from 2006-08.

What hurts the Tigers is nobody being capable of pushing them in C-USA. But as a generous 40-1 at the Las Vegas Hilton, Memphis is certainly worth a look for at least another Final Four appearance.

Meanwhile, we’re just trying to break even in the win column.

Tuesday, Feb. 17

Seton Hall at Marquette: Here’s what’s remaining on the Marquette schedule: Georgetown, UConn, Louisville, Pittsburgh, Syracuse. The Pirates are 12-7 ATS, including four straight covers. Marquette has failed to cover its last 3. The Hall could be getting at least 12 points. SETON HALL.

Michigan St at Purdue: In four of the last five Purdue games, at least one team has been in the 40’s. Lots at stake here for the Boilers so expect another physical battle with long possessions against Michigan State. UNDER.

Wednesday, Feb. 18

SMU at Memphis: Memphis is 9-1 ATS in the last 10, but the one slip was SMU. The Mustangs, though 7-16, are 3-1 ATS in the last 4 and may get a big 30 here. SMU.

Iowa St at KU: The Jayhawks won the first matchup by 15 as a 7-point road favorite. It’s not who will win, but by how many. Kansas is 9-1 ATS in the last 10, while the Cyclones are 1-7 in last 8. I-State could get 15 here. KANSAS.

Thursday, Feb. 19

Loyola at Gonzaga: The Zags won by 33 as a 28½-point road favorite in the first meeting. The Bulldogs are just 10-12 ATS and could be giving 30-something at home. Marymount may be 2-24, but is a respectable 9-11 ATS including two straight covers. LOYOLA.

Friday, Feb. 20

Cornell at Yale: The visiting Big Red at 17-7 have been the dominant team in the Ivy League and beat Yale by 28 earlier. But Yale ended Princeton’s seven-game win streak, which included a 20-point win over Cornell. A live dog at 6+. YALE.

Saturday, Feb. 21

Oklahoma at Texas: Depending on what happens in the Pitt-UConn game, the Sooners could be playing for the No. 1 ranking. OU has won 13 straight and Blake Griffin has an incredible 22 double-doubles. The Horns lost the first meeting by 15 in Norman and are just 1-4 ATS in last 5. OKLAHOMA.

Marquette at Georgetown: The Hoyas need to run the table and do well in the Big East Tourney or it’s hello NIT. A win over Marquette is a good way to start. G’TOWN.

Sunday, Feb. 22

Villanova at Syracuse: Orange on national TV in the Carrier Dome could score 100 like West Virginia did on Nova. Of course, the Cats can do the same. OVER.