Followers of University of Memphis football this season have become accustomed to close games. Unfortunately, most of those have been punctuated with a collapse by the Tigers and an eventual loss.
This past weekend, Memphis (2-6) was poised to win its first conference game, traveling to Tampa to take on the University of South Florida Bulls. After beating UT-Martin the previous week, the Tigers were looking to string together wins for the first time this year.
The storyline headed into the game was that both teams would be starting a freshman quarterback. So the question was not which QB would win the game for his team, but which one would make fewer mistakes.
As the Grizzlies work to find a 2013-14 team identity that will yield consistent wins and fan satisfaction, reminders that things can change in a heartbeat in the NBA rolled into town recently.
Last Saturday (Nov. 9th) former Grizz reserve big man Marreese Speights stepped in to the FedExFourm with his new team, the Golden State Warriors. On Wednesday, longtime Memphis star forward Rudy Gay returned with the Toronto Raptors.
Frustration has set in with the Memphis Grizzlies and eight games into the season fans are growing increasingly nervous.
The frustration was evident on Wednesday as the Grizzlies welcomed former teammate Rudy Gay back to the FedExForum along with his new team, the Toronto Raptors. The result was another disappointing Grizzlies lost, 103-87.
The Grizzlies (3-5) ended the first quarter down by six points, with Toronto's Demar DeRozan leading all scorers with 13 points. By halftime, Memphis was down by 11 (55-44).
Fans in True Blue Nation were clamoring after the story surfaced that their University of Memphis Tigers had been beaten, quite handily, by the Baylor Bears at a secret scrimmage last week. Memphis is ranked No. 13 in the nation preseason and this private game had many questioning what to expect this season.
So when Memphis took the floor for an exhibition game last Friday (Nov. 8) against Christian Brothers University, Memphis fans packed the house to get a look at the Tigers for themselves.
And what did they see?
Memphis head coach Josh Pastner deployed a very heavy rotation – with 11 players getting quality minutes. No one player put in more than 22 minutes during the 40-minute exhibition. Pastner would often substitute all five players on the floor, much like a hockey line switch.
This season the question has been: Who is beating the Tigers – their opponents or themselves?
Memphis (1-6) has had a chance to come away with a win in most off its losses, but costly mistakes have proved too much for the Tigers to overcome. So many would say the Tigers are, in fact, beating themselves.
With all that being said, Memphis still has a good opportunity to string together some wins late in the year and making this season somewhat respectable.
The Memphis Grizzlies were five games into the season and experiencing a major identity crisis until Saturday night at the FedExForum when the team Grizz fans know and appreciate showed up.
The Grizzlies got back to defense and pounding the ball inside the paint, beating the Golden State Warriors 108-90. The contest marked the Grizzlies' 10th win in a row against the Warriors.
The hard-working, grind-it-out team found its way back. The Grizzlies dominated play in the paint 54-18, outrebounding Golden State 44-33.