|Everything bigger and better in Texas: especially Memphis|
|Written by Admin|
|Sunday, 30 March 2008 12:10|
Memphis' size, speed and length overwhelmed the Longhorns 85-67 on Sunday as the Tigers rolled into the Final Four, just two day after Texas looked so good in dominating Stanford with speed and a bulky backup center in the South Regional semifinal.
The rim-shaking dunks. The steals. The high-flying leaps to the basket for layups and rebounds.
Memphis was no Stanford - not even close - and Texas, which won a share of the Big 12 regular season title and set a school record with 31 wins, just couldn't keep up.
And that ``home'' crowd at Reliant Stadium? Well, Memphis never really let it get revved up. By the time the orangebloods, who outnumbered the Memphis blue in the crowd by about 10-1, finally started making some noise, it was too late.
Memphis outscored Texas 40-22 in the paint and held the Longhorns to 36 percent shooting. Texas never led or managed to at least pull even. When the Longhorns got the Memphis lead down to five early in the second, a thunderous baseline dunk by Derrick Rose quieted the crowd.
As good as point guard D.J. Augustin was this season, Memphis' Rose looked ready for the NBA. Rose appeared to be stronger and a step faster, frustrating Augustin into four first-half turnovers. Augustin's first 3-point attempt was an airball.
When Augustin was able to drive the lane, the Tigers' big bodies in the middle pushed him out just far enough his trademark fall-away kept coming up an inch or two short.
A.J. Abrams, Texas' 3-point shooting ace this season, had a tough day as well. Memphis' size and speed on the perimeter kept the 5-foot-11, 155-pound Abrams from slashing and weaving for an opening for his quick-release 3-pointer.
After scoring 26 points in each of the Longhorns' first two tournament games, Abrams finished with 17 points but started 1-of-5 against the Tigers. He didn't hit his first basket until a long jumper cut the Memphis lead to 15 points with 2 minutes left in the first; he didn't hit a 3-pointer until Texas trailed by 19 midway through the second half.
Memphis seemed to have an answer for everything Texas tried to do. When Longhorns coach Rick Barnes sent 299-pound center Dexter Pittman into the game, Memphis' John Calipari counter-punched with 310-pound Pierre Niles.
Niles played only one minute of the half and didn't contribute a point or a rebound, but the underlying message was clear: anything Texas could do, Memphis could do and do it bigger - and in the Longhorns' backyard no less.