Tigers Avoid Tulane Two-fer

This is going to be quick because I’m traveling – but I wanted to get some quick thoughts up on what I saw:

So rather than Realistic Ralph or Negative Nellie – let’s just hear from ‘Better than losing to Tulane twice Tony.’

Actually, before that, take a look at this amazing video of Austin Nichols’ game winning shot and post game celebration – which includes a clip of Josh Pastner doing something that approximates dancing:

 

Better than losing to Tulane twice Tony:

  • I’m not going to say that this blog entry and this email correspondence with Josh Pastner was responsible for him finally trimming the rotation  – but only 9 players played significant minutes vs. Tulane tonight. Memphis had been playing 11.
  • Regardless of what the impetus was for the trimmed rotation – it was a welcome sight.
  • The odd men out were Pookie Powell (3 minutes) and Nick King (DNP – CD). Hard to argue with those decisions.
  • We’ll see if Pastner sticks with the shortened rotation – in the past he’s had a hard time doing so.
  • My theory is that he’s just too uncomfortable to keep guys buried on the bench – even if it’s best for the team.
  • In what is considered either a down or transitional year for Memphis – depending on your perspective, it’s refreshing to see Austin Nichols step up and become a high level player. He had 17 pts, 9 rebounds and, of course, the game winner.
  • It’s an important development for Pastner, who can now rebut criticism that players don’t develop in his system. The truth is that Will Barton had arguably ‘developed’ in his system – but several guys (Adonis Thomas, Tarik Black, Joe Jackson) clearly failed to progress or live up to expectations.
  • I say ‘arguably’ because although Barton had a nice 2-year career at Memphis prior to becoming a NBA draft pick – he was picked lower than originally projected.
  • Markel Crawford (15 points, 5 steals) turned in another nice game. He’s been up and down, as you might expect from a Freshman. Hopefully for Memphis he can start to exhibit some more consistency.
  • Grabbing a win at Tulane makes up (sort of) for dropping the home game vs. the Green Wave.
  • Was nice to see Tyreke Evans at the game. Evans actually played for the Tigers during the one year Pastner was an assistant for John Calipari.
  • It reminded me of the few days that some folks actually thought Evans might return for his sophomore year to play for Pastner based on some quote someone gave around the time Calipari left. Obviously that never happened.
  • The Tigers return home on Wednesday to play East Carolina before traveling to Spokane for a game against #3 ranked Gonzaga next Saturday.