Since Penny Hardaway became head coach at Memphis, he’s definitely courted his share of controversy. Namely, two of his top recruits—James Wiseman and Emoni Bates—ended up not panning out at the school for various reasons. In general, the Tigers have leaned on young talent to power them since Penny came to town.
Until this season.
This year’s Tigers are almost confusingly experienced. The top eight scorers are all seniors. And this team does score—a lot. Memphis is averaging more than 80 points per game, led by SMU 6-foot transfer guard Kendric Davis who scored nearly 22 points per game. Davis forms one of the better guard-forward combos in the NCAA with fellow senior DeAndre Williams.
What makes this team very compelling is that it’s full of experienced transfers that are starting to gel at the right time. While they do have six losses on the season, which might make some recoil, all of those games were close. They’re a difficult team to kill. From a talent perspective, they can match up well with anyone. There’s a lot of size, experience and depth. Their biggest challenge in a tournament setting might be the defense.
Either way, this weekend should be a very informative game for the Tigers, who are heading on the road to play the No. 2 Houston Cougars. These are traditional rivals, and Memphis usually plays Houston tough. While the Cougars should be heavily favored don’t be surprised if Memphis keeps this one close and even pulls an upset.
Although this is Penny Hardaway’s least publicized team since he’s been at Memphis, it might also be his best. Let's see where the season takes this potential Cinderella team, as they seek their 27th bid to the Men's NCAA Tournament.