Digital Headbutt

A sports blog about stuff…stuff that involves things.

SMU vs. #12 Memphis: Matt Doherty Lives!…Or, Maybe Not

Posted by Mike on February 3, 2007

I decided to cover this game because this is Matt Doherty’s first game as a coach on national TV since he was dismissed by my beloved Tar heels. I am still sore about how it happened, and I want to see him do well. However, I doubt they can win today. They’re playing against Memphis today, and they have won 25 straight games at home. The only way SMU can win is by shutting down the Tigers defensively.

12:03 pm: Holy Crap! I almost didn’t recognize Doherty. He has the same hairdo, but his face looks different. Memphis draws first blood.

12:04 pm: Bamba Fall of SMU picks up two quick fouls. This is not good. The Mustangs are trying to slow the game down, whereas Memphis is trying to speed the game up. Which team dictates the pace of this game will determine whether SMU can keep it close.

12:06 pm: SMU gets their first basket of the game to tie the game, 2-2. Like clockwork, Doherty already has take =n off his jacket. Ah, now I recognize him.

12:07 pm: 6-2, Memphis. Neither team is shooting the ball well, but the Tigers are getting all the rebounds.

12:08 pm: 8-2, Memphis. Dorsey gets a huge dunk. They cannot allow him to take over this game. SMU gets a layup to make it 8-4.

12:09 pm: 10-7, Memphis. SMU hits the first trifecta of the game. the get a rebound on defense, follow it up with another inside shot, and suddenly it’s a game.

12:10 pm: 12-9, Memphis. Right now, SMU is keeping the pace slow. The clock is going extremely fast. Six and a half minutes have elapsed in 9 minutes of real time. Amazing.

12:12 pm: This Lithuanian guy is filling in nicely for Bamba Fall of SMU. Memphis hits an NBA three to make it 15-9, Memphis.

12:13 pm: Ofoegbu makes a great pump fake and hits a mid range jumper to make it 15-11, Memphis. He hasn’t missed a shot yet (4-4). Doherty must be really pleased. The pace of the game has gone so much his way that he manage to rob ESPN of an official TV timeout, and for that we are all grateful. SMU has the best defense in C-USA. If he gets in the tourney, watch out.

12:16 pm: I stand corrected: ESPN did two TV timeouts in 27 seconds. There is nothing, NOTHING that will stop them from the commercials. The WWL must be held at gunpoint by the corporations.

12:19 pm: This is a heartbreaker. SMU fights about 10 seconds for the ball, them Memphis gets it back and hits a wide open three to make it 18-12, Memphis. Ugh.

12:22 pm: 18-14, Memphis. The Lithuanian guy picks up his first foul. He better not get in foul trouble, or else SMU is in big trouble.

12:23 pm: 22-14, Memphis. Ofoegbu accounts for all but 3 of SMU’s points. that means all 14 points have been scored by 2 players. someone needs to step up.

12:24 pm: Just like that, SMU hits another three. 23-17, Memphis. And then Memphis travels, a call almost never made anymore.

12:26 pm: The Tigers are hoping that the Mustangs crack versus their full court press. SMU seems to be taking advantage. Fall makes a huge dunk to make it 23-19, Memphis.

12:28 pm: Bizarre ad alert: A Super Bowl ad preview.

12:29 pm: Hunt hits another three for Memphis to take a 26-19 lead, and then SMU commits a backcourt violation.

12:31 pm: Again SMU gets a big fast break, and again they miss from point blank range. and then, Memphis hits another three on the other end. Memphis is pulling away, 29-19.

12:33 pm: Oh no…Memphis gets a huge dunk to make it 31-21, Memphis. The Mustangs can’t afford to let this get away, because they don’t have the offense to recover from a huge lead.

12:35 pm: The pressure is really getting to SMU. The Tigers are not allowing anything easy. 36-21, Memphis. This is a far cry from when the score was 23-19.

12:38 pm: Here it is: The Rolling Rock ad in question.

12:41 pm: 38-23, Memphis. The mustangs finally take advantage of a fast break opportunity, but is it too little, too late? My guess would be yes.

12:44 pm: 44-25, Memphis. SMU allowed a wide open three at the top of the key. They have completely collapsed in the last 7 minutes or so.

12:46 pm: Memphis gets a 20 point halftime lead, 46-26. SMU is collapsing before my eyes. I was really hoping that they could hang in there, but Memphis is just too deep a team; they’re running these guys ragged.

12:58 pm: I just saw an ad for an upcoming soccer match between team USA and team Mexico. That’s a pretty competitive game these days. It should be fun to watch. There’s just one problem: It’s going to be played at 9 pm on Wednesday. Do they really expect American fans to watch that game instead of Duke-UNC? The organizers really didn’t think this one through.

1:03 pm: The second half starts where the first half left off: with Memphis forcing an SMU turnover.

1:04 pm: I think Matt Doherty has gained some weight since i last saw him. It happens to most of us, but I remember Matt as such a skinny guy; I really didn’t expect that. He still looks better without the blazer, though.

1:08 pm: I’m trying to figure out exactly what caused the defensive breakdown for the Mustangs in the latter part of the first half that basically put this game away. I still haven’t quite understood. Offensively, they were simply anemic, and maybe that’s why it got so out of hand. Offensively, SMU is just not that good. You have to give credit to the Tigers’ full court press, but this has been a problem for SMU all season. They have stayed in games because of their defensive prowess, the best in Conference USA. Perhaps Memphis used enough of their bench to tire SMU enough that they reached a breaking point, and from then on Memphis was always a step ahead of them. The Tigers are extremely athletic. Maybe SMU would fare better against a team that didn’t run a fast-paced offense, which allows SMU to get into defensive sets, which in turn leads to the insanely low 36% shooting for their opponents before today. The Mustangs simply ran into a superior team, and when the Tigers bench really got involved, the Mustangs had no chance.

1:14 pm: By the way, Memphis has extended their lead to 63-34.

1:17 pm: There’s that dumb Nike Second Coming ad again. If I have to see that 2,000 times this spring, I may have to come to Juelz Santana’s house, take all of his bandannas and set them on fire. 67-34, Memphis.

1:20 pm: Matt Doherty looks frustrated. Boy, have I seen that face before.

1:24 pm: The following scene is all too familiar: Matt Doherty squatting on the sidelines, rid of his jacket long ago, continuing to coach his team while being pasted against a superior in-conference opponent wearing dark blue, and a legendary coach on the opposite sidelines. I feel like I’m the twilight zone. the Tigers get another dunk on the fast break to make it 71-37, Memphis.

1:31 pm: 77-41, Memphis. Okay, time to face facts: there isn’t anyone in this conference who can beat Memphis. Their play reminds, ironically reminds me of UNC’s transition game. They have both the speed and the depth to pull it off against big-time team. The problem with them, come march, is this no one will have challenged them in three months. This could signal an early exit. Still, they certainly have the athletic ability to hang with anyone.

Want to know the worst part of this game? UNC destroyed its last three opponents just like this.

1:38 pm: 80-43, Memphis. All hope may be lost in this game, but the Mustangs are still playing hard; you have to give them credit for that. I was just kind of hoping this game a lot closer.

1:40 pm: Memphis has played simply insane in the perimeter. I think the hit 14 threes today.

1:45 pm: Matt Doherty is a good coach. Don’t get me wrong, I like our current situation with Roy, but in his six years as a head coach he only had 1 losing season, and he has yet to post a losing record during any of his tenures.

1:47 pm: The game ends, with Memphis winning 88-52. SMU fought well early, but Doherty and company were just overmatched. I with him all the best, and I hope he makes some new disciples in Dallas.


One Response to “SMU vs. #12 Memphis: Matt Doherty Lives!…Or, Maybe Not”

  1. I have always been kind of bummed that Doherty didn’t come and take over a CAA school like JMU. I think he’s a good coach who just wasn’t emotionally ready for the stress of his meteoric rise.

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