As the Tigers fell hopelessly behind ECU in the final 3 minutes of tonight’s game, Twitter and Facebook messages started popping up with fan resignations. There were the typical “I’m done with the Tigers, Go Grizz!” messages – as if it’s one or the other.
And stuff like this, from 35-year fan Scott Hirsch:
Memphis Basketball-no thank you. hard pass.
— scott hirsch (@scott_m_hirsch) February 11, 2015
First of all, I had to look up “hard pass.” I mean, I sort of got it intuitively – but I wanted to fully understand.
Urban dictionary helped me out:
straight up rejectionJames: meet me at the mall let’s hang.
Erica: naw, hard pass.
And that’s really where we are with this version of the Tigers. The emotion, the disappointment, the anger…all that really should be burned off by now. If you’re still upset that the Tigers are bad enough to lose to ECU without Austin Nichols – then you obviously haven’t been watching all year. Losing at ECU is where this program is at the moment, like it or not.
So Hirsch is right, it’s time to just take a hard pass if watching this kind of basketball isn’t your thing.
I actually don’t mind it – I sort of enjoy watching mediocre basketball. First of all, it’s still basketball. Secondly, it adds to the overall, long term narrative / experience of being a fan. In other words, if I hadn’t suffered through the Tic Price era – then the Calipari era wouldn’t be worth as much. One day dropping the names Trahson Burrell, Calvin Godfrey and Avery Woodson will be like dropping the names Harry Allen, Keldrick Bradford or Dinno Daniels.
The memory of this season will be a fan’s badge of honor.
See what I mean? Just roll with it.
- Tiger fans had to feel a bit odd flipping over to ESPN and seeing John Calipari and Johnny Jones going to head to head in the Kentucky – LSU matchup.
- In case you don’t remember, Calipari (9 seasons) and Jones (1 season as interim coach) were the 2 Tiger coaches immediately prior to Josh Pastner.
- Memphis was actually very close to hiring Johnny Jones instead of John Calipari. As I recall, if Jones’ Tiger team had made the NIT (they fell 1 victory shy of qualifying), the job was likely his – even though Calipari and then AD RC Johnson had reached an agreement in principle.
- On the one hand, Memphis’ kids seem to play reasonably hard. I emphasize seem – because when offensive players for ECU are blowing by Tiger defenders, as they were for the entire 2nd half tonight, it’s hard to know if the cause is (a) lack of effort, (b) foul trouble, (c) positioning, (d) or lack of athleticism / speed.
- I don’t attribute it to a complete lack of effort – I think Memphis’ kids played hard tonight.
- The Tigers next travel to Tampa to take on former Assistant Orlando Antigua, which should remind fans that Memphis could be enduring the Tony Barbee era right now. When Calipari left for Lexington, he was rumored to be pushing his former assistant (and then UTEP head man) for the job. Barbee eventually left El Paso for Auburn, where he was dumped after an unsuccessful tenure there.
- I have been singing Trahson Burrell’s praises all season long, but for whatever reason he has struggled in the last few games. With Nichols out, I thought it would be an opportunity for Burrell to flourish – but it hasn’t happened.
- We knew Memphis would struggle badly without Austin Nichols – and they did. Offensively, the Tigers swung the ball around the perimeter nicely and found some gaps in ECU’s zone – but they turned the ball over a lot (19 turnovers) and struggled to finish at the rim.
- Defensively, the Tigers clearly missed Nichols presence at the rim. Having the big fella down there covers up a lot of defensive issues on the perimeter.