Championship Game: Memphis Breakdown

April 7th, 2008

Part of Jeff Borzello's epic National Championship Game Preview

Memphis Team Breakdown

Memphis was ranked as the preseason No. 1 in several polls, including mine, and the Tigers did not disappoint those that pegged them as the top team in the country. They jumped out to a 26-0 record before falling at home to Tennessee late in the game – a loss that might have spurred on their run to the title game. The Tigers love to get out and push the pace all game, creating offense with their defense and pressuring teams into turnovers. They limit second-chances, which propels their fast-break, enabling them to get transition points and momentum.

Memphis has one of the best perimeter duos in the country in freshman point guard Derrick Rose and junior wing Chris Douglas-Roberts. Rose is a premier point guard although he tends to make freshmen mistakes at times. He came into college as an extremely highly-rated lead guard and has been one of the best playmakers in the country. He is nearly impossible to keep out of the lane when he wants to penetrate because of his size, strength and quickness. Rose can shoot the ball from the perimeter, but is much more efficient when driving to the basket and creating for himself and his teammates. Douglas-Roberts became one of the better scorers in the nation with his ability to finish in a variety of ways. The Tigers had lacked a go-to scorer at the start of the year, but CDR clearly stepped into that role. He was arguably the best pure scorer at the Final Four due to his offensive versatility. He can shoot the ball from deep, knock down a mid-range jumper or take his defender to the basket. He can finish with both hands and has an arsenal of acrobatic finishes. Antonio Anderson contributes in different ways, whether it is distributing and handling the ball, or knocking down three-pointers. He can also defend on the perimeter and gets transition baskets regularly. Doneal Mack is a very good three-point shooter who can get hot in a hurry from behind the arc. Willie Kemp started at point guard last season and sees minutes off the bench at both guard spots. Andre Allen was suspended for the semifinals for violating team rules and will likely miss the title game as well.

Up front, Memphis isn’t as deep but it still has plenty of talent and options. Robert Dozier has shown flashes of his potential but has not been consistent throughout the season. He can score in a variety of ways, by posting-up defenders or driving to the basket from the top of the key. Dozier is somewhat inconsistent offensively but he is clearly talented enough to have a big game at any given time. Joey Dorsey might be the best interior defender-rebounder combination player in the country. He is an outstanding shot-blocker who can change games with his ability to defend. He also averages almost 10 rebounds per game, but has had trouble with fouls for much of his career. Offensively, he shoots over 65 percent from the field but isn’t a consistent option. For example, he had 15 rebounds in the semifinals but also finished with zero points. If he stays on the floor, his size and strength make him tough to tangle with down low. Shawn Taggart is a very solid scorer and rebounder who has shown flashes of his skill. He has come on very strong in the NCAA Tournament, demonstrating an ability to finish around the rim as well as stepping out and attempting a couple of jumpers. He is athletic and long, and can make plays inside.

The Complete Championship Game Preview includes our prediction, player analysis, and more