The 17-9 Memphis Tigers are knocking on the door of a March Madness berth after winning their last two games in a row. While they didn’t beat any great teams, wins over Temple and Wichita State still count and have them on the verge of earning their invitation to the dance. According to ESPN’s Bracketology guy, Joe Lunardi, Memphis is being listed among the “last four in” teams along with the San Diego State Aztecs, Indiana Hoosiers, and Rutgers Scalet Knights.
Can Memphis Make the NCAA Tournament?
The Tigers have just two games left in the season. One on the road against the very beatable South Florida Bulls and one against a very scary No. 14 Houston Cougars team. The Cougars present a big problem for Memphis to win out and lead the AAC with a 13-2 record in conference play. But, playing good teams down the stretch isn’t always a bad thing just as long as the Tigers don’t get embarrassed. In this specific situation, the Tigers have the luxury of already haven beaten the Cougars 69-59 on Feb. 12 when they were ranked No. 5. It was a massive step forward for Penny Hardaway’s team that started the year 9-8 and looked out of the running for a bid months ago. The Tigers are now 8-1 in their last nine games with the lone loss coming against SMU in the second game of a series sweep.
Let’s make the assumption that the Tigers don’t get upset on the road by the Bulls and make it to their final game with an 18-9 record. They face off against a Houston team they have already beaten. But this time at home. If they manage to pull off a season upset of the best team in the conference, I think there is no way they don’t get into the tournament. What is more likely is that the Tigers lose a close game and still squeak into March Madness with an at-large bid.