You gotta forgive me for playing hooky on the Tigers tonight. Just got back from The Racquet Club, where I saw the best match I've seen in years. Andy Roddick over James Blake: 6-3, 4-6, 7-6. Won't be a better match here all week. A shame the two best American players since Sampras and Agassi have to face each other in the first round. The unseeded Blake played with a wrapped right knee, but was still mobile enough to take the 7th-ranked (and top-seeded) Roddick to a third-set tiebreaker.
The Tigers held serve, though, in beating Tulane, 77-64, for their third straight win. A credit to Josh Pastner in his first season at the helm: his team wins the games it should. The only loss this season where the Tigers played down to their opponent was at SMU on January 30th. And they'll get a chance to right that wrong Saturday at FedExForum.
Great to see Roburt Sallie finally break out: four of seven from three-point country and 17 points. It simply hasn't been the season Sallie — or Tiger fans — expected from the junior who starred in last year's NCAA tournament. A long-distance marksman can erase deficiencies at either end of the floor for a basketball team, and Memphis has not had that consistent threat.
Wesley Witherspoon was again a factor, after getting in foul trouble during the big win over Tulsa last Saturday. Sixteen points and nine rebounds in 34 minutes is about the line the Tigers need from Witherspoon if they're to do damage in the C-USA tournament next month. Will Coleman's 13 points and seven rebounds earn him a passing grade tonight, as well. Nice to win a game on the road by 13 when your top scorer (Elliot Williams) is held to a dozen points.
Had to satisfy my tennis Jones tonight, but I'll be courtside — at FedExForum — Saturday night for the rematch with the Mustangs. And back here with a postgame report, whether or not the Tigers earn their 20th victory of the season.