Geron Johnson

Geron Johnson, Shaq Goodwin lead Memphis to big win

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This is the kind of performance we expected to see from Memphis all season long.

With the Ohio Bobcats — who took North Carolina to overtime in the Sweet 16 last season and returned, literally, everyone — coming to town, most expected a battle on Wednesday night. Instead, the Tigers beat OU 84-58.

It wasn’t just the final score, either. It was how they did it.

Memphis scored 48 points in the paint. They outrebounded Ohio by 11 (for those statistically inclined, the Tigers posted 35.4% OR and 79.5% DR). They forced 17 turnovers and scored 23 points off of them. In other words, they attacked the basket, they took advantage of their size in the paint, and they played the kind of defense you would expect from a team with that much athleticism.

More importantly, Geron Johnson finally blew up. The former top 50 recruit — who has all kinds of legal and academic issues in his past — finished with 21 points on 8-11 shooting and looked as talented as any perimeter player that has come through Memphis in the Josh Pastner era.

And the Tigers did all of this while Adonis Thomas and Joe Jackson, the two guys expected to be stars this season, finished shooting 7-22 from the floor. While it’s concerning that those two are still trying to work through their issues, but it is promising to know that Memphis can win without them playing their best basketball.

Tarik Black can be thrown in that conversation as well. Shaq Goodwin played the bulk of the minutes at the center spot — Memphis played the majority of the game with Thomas at the four — and finished with 20 points and nine boards.

The Tigers still have issues to work through, and they have a ceiling so long as Jackson, Thomas and Black struggle, but this was an impressive and promising performance by the Tigers.

Now build on it.

Rob Dauster is the editor of the college basketball website Ballin’ is a Habit. You can find him on twitter @robdauster.

NEW PODCAST: Recapping Feast Week

Kris Dunn
AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill
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We talk about a lot of stuff of the podcast today, mainly because a lot of stuff happened since we last spoke with you all.

For starters, we need to discuss the ‘realness’ of Syracuse and Xavier. Are they both truly top 15 teams, or do they just have top 15 resumes? We also dive into Chris Mack’s epic troll-job of Dayton at the Advocare Invitational final.

Other topics we touched on: Whether or not Scott is ever going to apologize to Wayne Selden, Wichita State’s tournament hopes, Texas A&M and whether we’d take Ben Simmons, Kris Dunn or Denzel Valentine today.

As always, you can subscribe to the podcast in iTunes right here. It’s the quickest way to get access on your cell phone or tablet.


AP Poll: Syracuse, Xavier big winners in college basketball rankings

(Brad Horrigan/The Courant via AP)
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The new college basketball AP Poll is out, and it shouldn’t be much of a surprise to you that Syracuse and Xavier are the big winners.

The Orange steamrolled through a good Battle 4 Atlantis field, while Xavier capped a dominating performance in the Advocare Invitational with a 29-point win over Dayton. It should be no surprise that they are where they are.

[MORE RANKINGS: top 25 | Coaches Poll]

It is a bit surprising, however, that both Texas A&M and Providence made it into the polls with a loss this week. They both deserve to be there, I just wasn’t sure they were both going to be.

Anyway, here is the full poll:

1. Kentucky (59 first place votes)
2. Maryland (4)
3. Michigan State (2)
4. Kansas
5. Iowa State
6. Oklahoma
7. Duke
8. Villanova
9. North Carolina
10. Virginia
11. Purdue
12. Xavier
13. Gonzaga
14. Syracuse
15. Oregon
16. Vanderbilt
17. Cincinnati
18. Texas A&M
19. Arizona
20. West Virginia
21. Miami
22. SMU
23. Providence
24. Louisville
25. Baylor

NEW THIS WEEK: Syracuse, West Virginia, SMU, Providence, Louisville

DROPPED OUT: Indiana, Cal, UConn, LSU, Wichita State