Sigh. Well, it was a fun game, anyway. I love this series even if Calipari doesn't. Maybe partly because he doesn't.
Something just struck me. This loss is kind of disappointing, but you almost have to feel a little better about the team, don't you? It really feels like it's coming together. The defense is shaping up. Chism is playing consistently well. J.P. Prince is rediscovering himself. Tyler continues to be a force. The balloon is stablizing and becoming more like clay so that when Pearl gives some area attention, the rest of the project holds its form.
At half time, the Vols were winning most of the important stat categories, but each only by a slim margin:
Tennessee really came out cold and complacent to begin the second half. Not sure why, but it just didn't look or feel like they were very focused on the game. It allowed Memphis to get on top and then maintain their lead for the entire second half. In the end, the Vols just couldn't get back on top despite some solid play from Chism, Prince, and Smith, who were all in double figures in points. Smith also had ten rebounds and two assists.
One of the main problems was that the rest of the team scored 14 points combined. The bench, usually a strength of this team, scored only nine points. Also, the team made only two of ten three point attempts and hit only 61% of its free throws while Memphis made five of 15 threes and 78.6% of its free throws. And, as wvvol points out, Memphis' McDonald's All-American had 17 points while ours had one.
If this Tennessee team ever discovers a perimeter shooter, we'll be very, very good. Until then, though, we'll have to settle for merely good.