July 18, 2024

Memphis Wins Opener in Nashville. Who Is Next?

Memphis and their head basketball coach, Penny Hardaway, have impacted their conference and nationally as a team to be on the lookout for. What Hardaway has done on the recruiting trail this season differs from what we have seen. In 2022, he went to the transfer portal and brought in seven new members. Out of the seven, six are from division one programs.  At times in their 76-67 win over Vanderbilt, it was evident just how talented this season’s team is. We will look at the game against Vandy and who stood out, who is next on the schedule, and the impact of Hardaway thus far in his tenure.

Tigers Win in Nashville

On Monday, Memphis would make the trek to Nashville to play Vanderbilt. Some may remember our article about a Nashville fiasco involving Volunteers last season. The Tigers would play in Memorial Gymnasium for the first time in 25 years. Memphis {1-0} was led by seniors Deandre Williams and Kendric Davis, who had 17 and 16 points and had nine of the fourteen assists on the night. The Tigers would finish the night shooting 50.9 % {27/53} from the field and win the tussle down low for rebounds 35-28. Memphis would stretch their lead to 17 points in the first half and never trail as they would close out the Commodores in Nashville.

 The Commodores were led by Tylin Lawrence, who had 14 points on the night. Memphis has now won three straight games against the Commodores. Memphis would finish the game 88.9 % from the free throw line {17-19}, with Davis and Alex Lomax hitting all of their attempts. Hardaway went with the starting lineup of Alex Lomax, Kendric Davis, DeAndre Williams, Malcolm Dandridge, and Keonte Kennedy against the Commodores.

This win is the Tigers’ first true road victory since November 25th, 1988, against Chaminade 88-44.

What Is the State of The Program?

When it comes to names that resonate with all Memphis fans, Anfernee “Penny” Hardaway will be one of the first names you hear. The nation took notice when the Tigers brought him in to be their head basketball coach. Since hiring, Hardaway has led the Tigers to postseason play in all years. Many may ask what the program’s state is, and the answer is simple. The program is in incredible hands, and the Tigers are trending upward.

After winning the NIT in 2021, the Tigers would make the NCAA tournament for the first time under Hardaway. This was a relief to some fans who we starting to become frustrated that their hometown Tigers hadn’t made the dance. Memphis would defeat Boise State in the first round before falling to Gonzaga in a classic in the second round. This was the Tiger’s 27th appearance in the tournament, and they now have a record of 35-27. The Tigers have won at least one game in their last three NCAA appearances in 2013, 2014, and 2022.

If last season indicated what is to come for this program, it lines up historically.  In the tournament’s last ten trips, the Tigers averaged 27 wins the following season. This trend would indicate that Memphis will be back this season. From 2006-2009, Memphis went 137-14 with four Sweet 16, three Elite Eights, and one national championship appearance in that stretch.

Penny has assembled a roster of players and staff to make the NCAA a yearly occasion and deep runs while the Tigers are dancing. The state of the program is in a legend’s hands.

Who is Next?

Memphis will hit the road again and make a trip to St. Louis to take on the Billikens on Tuesday, November 15th, at 8 pm.  The game will be broadcasted on CBS Sports Network. Memphis leads the overall series with the Billikens 33-26 and won the most recent contest 90-74 on November 16th last season at FedEx Forum. The Billikens are 2-0 on the season with wins over Murray State 91-68 and Evansville by a score of 83-65.

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