This game has been hyped up all week, especially after Duke’s losses. As of this point in the the season, the Tigers and Vols have proven themselves to be the two best teams in the country. Tonight is the start of what could be a great in-state rivalry. Both teams are led by coaches with huge egos. Everyone has called this the game of the year.
By definition, this game stands a 70-80% chance of being a disappointing blowout. I like those odds. Let’s watch.
9:05 pm: Tennessee has so many Smiths on the roster, Dan Schulman can’t tell them apart.
9:06 pm: 4-0, UT. JaJuan Smith hits the open three in the corner after the Vols outhustled Memphis on at least three loose balls. Calipari sees their flat play and calls a timeout 35 seconds into the game.
9:08 pm: 7-6, UT. Unless something changes soon, this game could become a shooting contest. JaJuan and Derrick Rose have hit two each.
9:09 pm: 9-9. Antonio Anderson with another 3! This game has been insanely fast for the first two minutes.
9:10 pm: 11-9, UT. Ramar Smith is getting some easy shots inside.
9:12 pm: For the first two minutes, the Tigers couldn’t miss. Right now, they’ve missed their last 4 or 5 shots.
9:14 pm: 14-11, Memphis. Chris Douglas-Roberts gets his first shot of the game, and he hits a three.
17-11, Memphis. Antonio Anderson hits another one!
9:15 pm: 17-14, Memphis. And then JaJuan Smith hits another one!
9:16 pm: 20-14, Memphis. Is anyone going to hit a two point shot tonight?
9:17 pm: 20-17, Memphis. Duke Crews gets the basket and the foul.
9:20 pm: In terms of fashion disasters, I think we’ll settle for Bruce Pearl’s bright orange suspenders.
9:21 pm: 21-17, Memphis. Unbelievable. The threes won’t stop falling, yet neither of these teams can buy a layup right now. They’re like the Tar Heels of the evil parallel universe.
9:25 pm: 23-17, Memphis. Jeff Robinson hits a floater in the lane.
9:27 pm: 23-21, Memphis. Too many Smiths! My brain can’t take it! It’s like I’m watching the black Matrix, and the Vols are the agents. Bright orange, horrifically dressed, headbanded agents.
9:29 pm: 29-24, Memphis. And it continues to rain threes for the Tigers. Eight three pointers and one two pointer so far.
9:37 pm: Speaking of Tennessee fashion disasters: Peyton Manning’s orange plaid shirt….(shivers)
9:39 pm: 31-24, Memphis. Derrick Rose drives inside for a layup after Memphis gets a few big offensive rebounds.
9:40 pm: 31-26, Memphis. Chris Lofton has yet to score a point in this game, and we’re near halftime.
9:46 pm: 33-26, Memphis. The following demonstrates the the shooting of both teams so far in this game…
The first ten minutes:
And the second ten minutes:
9:50 pm: 35-32, Memphis. Tennessee gets back within a possession thanks in part to their free throw shooting.
9:52 pm: And we hit halftime. Memphis leads, 35-34 in a slightly sloppy but otherwise exciting game. To win, the Tigers need to either get the threes falling again or start driving at the Vols’ small interior defense. The Vols, meanwhile, must get Chris Lofton involved in their offense and cut down on turnovers.
10:11 pm: 36-35, UT. Tennessee takes the lead, as Memphis’ threes have gone completely cold.
10:12 pm: 37-36, Memphis. Dozier finally gets a chance inside, and it pays off.
10:13 pm: 39-37, UT. Wayne Chism hits a three to give the lead back to the Vols.
10:17 pm: Track meet, or Yackety Sax? You decide.
10:18 pm: A huge injury for the Vols as one of UT’s few big men, Wayne Chism, lands awkwardly on his ankle.
10:20 pm: 39-39. It seems that Memphis only player scoring in the paint is their point guard, Derrick Rose. He drives in for a tough layup over two outstreched defenders’ arms.
10:25 pm: 45-39, UT. J.P. Prince, the only Vol without a headband right now, in almost single-handedly taking over this game.
10:27 pm: 45-41, UT. Douglas-Roberts gets a huge momentum-stopping basket. Like Lofton, we haven’t heard as much from CDR as Memphis needs.
10:28 pm: 45-43, UT. …until now. Roberts with another huge basket, and it’s a one-possession game again.
47-43, UT. Chris Lofton finally gets his first basket of the night.
10:32 pm: 50-43, UT. It;s a bit jarring when your opponent’s center starts draining threes.
The Vols seem to be playing smarter basketball in the second half when J.P. Prince is on the floor.
10:37 pm: 50-47, UT. Now that Chism is hobbling a bit and the threes aren’t falling, Memphis is attacking the paint with a bit more impetus. Right now, that’s what’s keeping them in the game.
10:40 pm: Joey Dorsey picks up his fourth foul. Worse for him, he is simultaneously balding and trying to get away with cornrows.
10:42 pm: 53-47, UT. Prince with another key basket in transition. Memphis is forced to take another timeout, and they now have only one left for the remainder of the game.
10:45 pm: 53-49, UT. Under 8 minutes left in the second half. On ESPN2: guys impaling the faces of fish. Juuuuuuuust thought you should know.
10:49 pm: In 12 minutes, the Tigers have scored 14 points. They have yet to hit a three in the second half.
54-51, UT, 7:23 left. If Memphis wins this game, it will be on the shoulders of Derrick Rose.
10:50 pm: 56-53, 6:38 left. Suddenly these two teams are exchanging drives inside. It’s the exact opposite of the first half.
10:51 pm: 58-55, 5:38 left. Just as Dozier brings Memphis to within one, J.P. Prince makes another huge play in transition.
10:52 pm: 58-57, 4:59 left. Derick Rose is exhausted, but he simply will not let his team lose.
10:54 pm: 4:12 left. Andre Allen goes to the line with a chance to tie.
…Naturally, he misses them both. Such is the dilemma with Memphis.
10:58 pm: 59-58, Memphis, 3:20 left. Memphis takes the lead thanks to a baseline shot by, who else, Derrick Rose. He now has 22.
11:00 pm: 2:55 left. The charity stripe continues to fail the Tigers.
11:02 pm: 61-58, 2:19 left. Derrick Rose with the perfectly run fast break, and CDR with the finish…but he gets hurt on the play. Not good for the Tigers.
11;03 pm: 61-60, 1:57 left. Agent Tyler with the basket inside, and Tennessee makes it a one point game again.
1:10 left. What a play by Rose to keep the ball in Memphis’s hands with one minute to go.
:41.5 left. Great passing, but Memphis can;t convert, as they miss an easy look. Tennessee ball.
26.5 left. Tennessee with the basket to take the lead back! It’s agent Tyler with another huge basket.
:8.8 left. Memphis can’t get a good shot, and are forced to foul J.P. Prince.
What a game this has been. Certainly a game that lived up to its in-state #1 vs. #2 hype.
:2.9 left, 64-61, UT. Tennessee makes the smart play and fouls Rose before he can make a shot. He makes the first and intentionally makes the second, but Memphis can’t get the offensive rebound, and are forced to foul Chris Lofton.
11:13 pm: Lofton hits his free throws, and the game is over. Tennessee wins, 66-62, and will be #1 in the country for the first time in school history. Memphis played as hard a game as they could, and Derrick Rose had a performance for the ages. But three aspect of the game faile3d the Tigers tonight. The Vols got more offensive rebounds, Memphis couldn’t hit a three pointer in the second half, and they were 8-17 from the free throw line.
Overall, it was an unbelievably exciting game that lives up to the hype.