Positive Paul, Negative Nellie & Realistic Ralph (1/1/15)

Tiger fans are well aware that Josh Pastner prefers Positive Pauls and does not like Negative Nellies.  We at bballjones.com respect both. At the end of the day however, we strive to be more like Realistic Ralph.

Here’s a little something about the Tigers current season (8-4 after beating Houston on Wednesday) from all 3 viewpoints:

Positive Paul

  • 5 in a row, baby!  And a good chance to get to 6 on Saturday vs. Tulane.  The light has finally come on for the Tigers.
  • Avery Woodson looks like the best pure shooter the Tigers have had in a long, long time – maybe since Jeremy Hunt.
  • You had to know this team was gonna start slow with so many new pieces, but now they’re learning how to play together and they’re about to go on a huge run.
  • This team appears to actually have guys that know their role.  Woodson is the 3pt specialist.  Cunningham and Powell (combined 10 assists, 6 turnovers) are improving as PG distributors. Nichols is a shot blocking machine.  Goodwin and Godfrey are energy guys down low.  Burrell is a scoring threat and high motor 3.
  • When the TIgers roll through the American, their RPI will improve enough to merit an NCAA bid, and Pastner will be vindicated as they finally make that deep tournament run fans have been longing for.

 

Negative Nellie

  • Houston sucks.  Kelvin Sampson has to be really kicking himself for taking that job.
  • This is really no different than any other year under Pastner – beat the crappy teams and then choke when the real opportunities come up.  No reason to be optimistic.
  • There’s still no consistent starting line-up. When Memphis fell behind 8-0 to start the game, Pastner started subbing like a mad man, which reeked of desperation.
  • Kuran Iverson does not appear to be having a good time playing limited minutes.  Could there be chemistry issues behind the scenes for this team?
  • What’s the deal with Kedren Johnson?  Guy was supposed to be a real contributor and he can’t even get off the bench.  Very strange.

 

 

Realistic Ralph

  • The Tigers are playing better – but doing so against weak competition.  Houston’s RPI is 229. Not very good. The best team Memphis has played during their current winning streak, based on RPI, is NC Central (84).
  • Pastner’s squad will have opportunities to prove their turnaround is based on more than just weak competition over the next few weeks.  After Tulane (128) comes to FEF on Saturday, the Tigers take to the road to play SMU (55) followed by a re-match at Houston. Memphis then comes home to face rival Cincinnati (54) on a Thursday night.
  • Memphis will have to start beating teams like SMU and Cincinnati (and Temple (29), Gonzaga(6)) to get back in the conversation for an NCAA bid.
  • Austin Nichols appears to be turning into the counter-argument to those who say star players don’t get better under Pastner (a valid criticism to date). Nichols numbers are better across the board compared to his Freshman year – and he’s turned into a genuine shot blocking presence.  Opposing offenses will have to adjust to him.
  • Regardless of how you may feel about Pastner, it’s nice to see (and important to note) that this team does not appear to have quit on him at all.  They appear to be playing hard, playing together, and improving.