Memphis Tigers Preview 2010-2011

After a brief NIT stint, the Memphis Tigers appear to be back on the national scene in college basketball. One of the nation’s top recruiting classes landed on campus in August, and, despite some academic eligibility concerns (and now an indefinite suspension for one top-rated freshman, Jelan Kendrick), the new Tigers seem ready to resurrect themselves as C-USA champions once again.

They may not have the experience and chemistry of Memphis teams of the past 4 or 5 seasons, but they arguably have as much talent. And with that rawness, Tiger fans can reasonably expect some rough patches early in the season, but by conference season, the team should be coming into its own. Let’s take a deeper look at the team.

Returning Contributors

Will Coleman C, Wesley Witherspoon F/G, Angel Garcia F, D.J. Stephens G/F, and Drew Barham G

Incoming Class

Joe Jackson G, Will Barton G, Antonio Barton G, Jelan Kendrick G, Charles Carmouche G, Chris Crawford G, Tarik Black C, and Hippolyte Tsafack F.

Games of Interest

Nov. 15 vs Miami (FL) – part of ESPN’s 24 hours of college basketball
Dec. 4 vs Western Kentucky
Dec. 7 vs Kansas – Jimmy V Classic at Madison Square Garden
Dec. 23 vs Georgetown
Jan. 5 at Tennessee
Feb. 5 at Gonzaga

Season Outlook

As stated above, a heavy freshman influence could lead to some early struggles for the Tigers. It’s natural. It takes some time for them to adjust to the high intensity, high energy level of play needed for D-1 college basketball.

Memphis does have experience to rely on during the learning process, though. Wesley Witherspoon is a lanky wing player who has shown flashes of take-over-the-game ability. He really stepped up as a one-two combo with Elliot Williams near the end of last season.

Center Will Coleman evolved into a good big man near the end of last season as well. Memphis’ guard-heavy lineup will require a guy like Coleman to do the “dirty work,” but he does have a nice touch around the rim. Plus, the guy’s a physical freak.

Perhaps the most intriguing returning player is forward Angel Garcia. The Puerto Rican native stands at 6’11″ and has range beyond many shooting guards. He returned from ACL surgery at the end of last season (notice a trend? Memphis played some of its best basketball at the end of last season) and really showed flashes of solid play. The former 5 star recruit will look to have his best season (and healthiest) since committing to Memphis out of high school.

Memphis second year coach Josh Pastner

The players that will put this team over the top are hometown hero Joe Jackson, the scoring machine Will Barton, and Jelan Kendrick. All three posses next level talent. Will the pressure get to them? That remains to be seen, but if Will Barton’s proclamation of winning a national championship is any indication, then they’re as confident as they are talented.

Prediction

Memphis’ non-conference schedule is not as good as it could be, but there are “resume” games for seeding purposes in Kansas, Georgetown, Tennessee, and Gonzaga. Plus, I think, C-USA is improving ever so slightly. Teams like UTEP and Southern Miss will not back down from Memphis despite the talent gap.

Memphis should enter Selection Sunday nearing the 30 win mark. As improved as C-USA may be, the bottom of the league is still filled with 200+ RPI teams giving Memphis some padded wins. And by the NCAA tournament, the Tigers should be playing relatively well.

I predict a Sweet Sixteen finish to the season. They have the talent for a deeper run and with the right seeding, upsets, etc., a deep run is possible. But at this point, it’s just too early to predict anything more. A Sweet Sixteen run would set the team up nicely for the following season with the newly announced decision of the uber-athletic Adonis Thomas set to join the hometown Tigers for 2011.

Luke Warm Linkage

It’s Video Friday, peeps. Keep your treat-bags handy.

A realistic Super Hero funeral:

The best car dealer commercial of all time also has the worst NSFW language of all time:

And finally, a little something to get you in the Halloween spirit:

Luke Warm Linkage

These people are allowed to appear happy on television? Disgusting.

Luke Warm Linkage

If I could teach my penis to park a car, I might never leave the house.

In Memoriam

Paul the Octopus has died.

I’ll let that sink in for a moment.

Paul the Octopus…is no longer with us.  The world has lost a great sports fan and ambassador.  Words can’t truly express the void his passing will leave in our hearts.

Paul became an international superstar this past summer when he famously and correctly predicted  winners in all 8 matches he was presented with.

Prior to that, Paul lived a mostly quiet life in his Oberhausen, Germany aquarium.   That is, until his gift was discovered.  He honed his prediction skills during the 2008 Euro cup and became a sensation with his perfect World Cup in 2010.

But, with rising fame, the cautionary tale often warns, comes the crushing fall.  And, like so many bright, young stars before him, Paul burned out in glorious fashion at the tender age of 2 1/2.

Paul the Octopus.

He loved soccer.

He loved life.

He loved sucking the heads of Copepods.

And he will be missed.

Luke Warm Linkage

I always figured Hitler for a Tennessee fan.

Luke Warm Linkage

Winner winner chicken dinner.

EJSIC 2010-11 Pre-Season College Basketball Top 25

With the yearly Midnight Madness rituals out of the way, the time has come to get down to the nitty gritty task of determining a pecking order for the upcoming season. That means it’s Poll Time once again on the EJSIC and, as far as meaningless polls go, ours is more meaningless than most. That’s something to hang your hat on, if you ask me.

In addition to our traditional method of tallying the votes of our writers, we will now include a combined ballot from our readers. This “readers poll” will be a combination of all the polls we receive from non-writer’s either via e-mail or on one of those garbage message boards we frequent. If you’d like to have your poll included, send it via e-mail to elitistjerksports@gmail.com. We may even e-mail you back to ridicule your biased, terrible opinions.

So… Without further ado… Here’s our poll.

1. Duke 0-0 (498 – 18)

2. Michigan St. 0-0 (477 – 2)

3. Kansas St. 0-0 (445)

4. Ohio St. 0-0 (394)

5. Pittsburgh 0-0 (368)

6. Kansas 0-0 (329)

7. Kentucky 0-0 (319)

8. Syracuse 0-0 (306)

9. Villanova 0-0 (272)

10. Florida 0-0 (268)

11. Illinois 0-0 (262)

12. North Carolina 0-0 (260)

13. Gonzaga 0-0 (241)

14. Purdue 0-0 (231)

15. Memphis 0-0 (225)

16. Washington 0-0 (212)

17. Butler 0-0 (206)

18. Missouri 0-0 (189)

19. Baylor 0-0 (154)

20. Tennessee 0-0 (127)

21. BYU 0-0 (106)

22. Georgetown 0-0 (105)

23. Temple 0-0 (78)

24. Wisconsin 0-0 (64)

25. Virginia Tech 0-0 (52)

Others receiving votes: Texas (48), San Diego St. (26), Oregon (23), Georgia (21), Oklahoma St. (19), NC State (17), Marquette (16), Minnesota (13), Dayton (12), Arizona (10), Alabama (9), Colorado (8), Wichita St. (8), Richmond (8), Utah (7), Xavier (6), Oklahoma (4), South Carolina (2), Georgia Tech (2), UNLV (2), Creighton (1), St. John’s (1).