The inaugural American Athletic Conference Tournament is being played out in Memphis, with University of Memphis fans hopeful that their fifth-seeded Tigers can claim the tourney championship.
With Cincinnatti, Louisville, SMU and UConn seeded ahead of them, the Tigers are especially happy to have what amounts to home court. Whether it proves to be an advantage will start to show on Thursday when Memphis takes on UConn in a game set to be shown on ESPNU at 8 p.m.
Memphis fans will need no prodding to get up for UConn. The Huskies took both games from the Tigers, with Memphis falling short in an overtime challenge at the FedExForum.
One game at a time. That's how the Memphis Grizzlies are taking it. And it's showing up in the Grind House, aka FedExForum.
Notching their seventh-straight home win with seven more home games left in the regular season, the Grizzlies defeated the Portland Trailblazers on Tuesday (109-99).
The Grizzlies are back to playing tough defense and they've developed a fierce second unit that's garnering more and more playing time.
University of Memphis' Shaq Goodwin and Joe Jackson earned All-American Athletic Conference second team honors, the league office released Tuesday. Memphis was one of four teams to have two players receive all-conference distinction.
Freshman Austin Nichols was the lone unanimous selection to the American Athletic Conference All-Rookie Team.
It is the third-straight season that the Tigers placed two or more players on the all-conference squads. Nichols' honor gave Memphis an all-rookie/freshman team selection for the 11th time in the last 14 seasons.
On Senior Day, the University of Memphis reaped huge dividends from its departing class as the Tigers beat back the SMU Mustangs 67-58 at the FedExForum on Saturday.
"In the second half, the senior guards would not let us be denied," said head coach Josh Pastner. "This win will keep us in the top 25 for the entire season. This is a great feat in itself. Not too many programs stay in the top 25 the whole season."
The nationally televised game was punctuated by ear-ringing energy, with Tigers finding a way to overcome a 30-26 deficit at the half.
The NFL Competition Committee has been engaged in talks since last Friday, discussing a variety of issues important to the league. One such matter is the proposed 15-yard penalty on players using the "N-word" on the field. Seattle Seahawks player Richard Sherman is against banning the word, calling the potential rule "almost racist" in an interview.
According to Sports Illustrated's MMBQ, there remains a chance that the N-word ban may not go into effect, but there could be a higher focus on language during games by officials. As it stands, the committee will weigh the option of referees giving players a warning before issuing any deeper penalties.
Sherman, the outspoken defensive player and All-Pro, feels such a ban is unnecessary. The Stanford graduate and Compton native shared his thoughts with MMBQ in his typical brash fashion.
Two teams came together on Saturday (March 1) after coming off back-to-back games. The Memphis Grizzlies had just lost to the Oklahoma City Thunder 113-107 on the road. The Cleveland Cavaliers had rolled over the Utah Jazz.
So, with Memphis looking to avoid two consecutive losses and Cleveland playing well as of late, something had to give. For a while, it seemed as if it would be the Grizzlies, who had a seriously cold first half before rallying for a 110-96 victory, with forward Zach Randolph leading the way.
"I thought it was more that he (Zach Randolph) decided to establish himself," said Cavaliers head coach Mike Brown. "In the first half we were the ones who were more physical. We were the ones that were hitting first.
It's just not something you normally associate with winning a basketball game, but then it wasn't just a basketball game. It was Louisville, as in rival, as in defending national champions, as in national television, as in the team the University of Memphis needed to beat after laying an egg against Houston in the previous game on the road.
"Completing the regular season sweep over Louisville is huge for this team and the city," said head coach Josh Pastner after the Tigers (22-7, 11-5) upset the No. 7 Cardinals 72-66 at the FedExForum on Saturday (March 1).
"Sweeping Louisville is huge for us, and means a lot for the city," said guard Chris Crawford, whose sharp shooting included a dagger-like three-pointer with the game in the balance in the waning moments.