With the loss of four key seniors from their backcourt of a season ago, the Memphis Tigers have some questions to answer on the perimeter this summer. Fortunately for head coach Josh Pastner the program has a summer trip to Canada to help with the on-court chemistry of a group that doesn’t have a lot of experience at the Division I level.
One player who entered the summer hoping to compete for more minutes was rising junior shooting guard Damien Wilson, who played just under six minutes per game in his first two seasons as a Tiger. However on Friday it was announced by the school that Wilson has decided to transfer.
“Damien is in good academic standing at the University, but he shared with me that he’d like a fresh start,” Pastner said in the release. “We support Damien and wish him all the best.”
In two seasons at Memphis the Atlanta native played in 41 games, with 15 of those coming in his sophomore year. Last season Wilson played 19 minutes in the Tigers’ season-opening win over Austin Peay and 20 in a loss at Oklahoma State, a game in which he scored eight points. But he would play in just 13 games the remainder of the season, reaching double digits in minutes just once.
While Memphis may not have a lot of experience on the perimeter they don’t lack for bodies, with three junior college transfers and freshmen Pookie Powell (redshirted last season) and Dominic Magee joining returnees Markel Crawford (missed all of last season), Kuran Iverson and Nick King. That may have impacted Wilson’s thought process with regards to how much of an increase in minutes he could expect to see in 2014-15.
No. 15 Cincinnati pounced on Memphis from the start, taking a 51-32 lead into halftime.
Then, Gary Clark decided to add insult to injury to start the second half. Seriously, how did he catch that?
Mick Cronin’s team is much better offensively than in previous seasons. I’m sure fans in the Fifth Third Arena can get used to seeing more plays like this.
Michigan State freshman guard Cassius Winston had just one field goal in the first half. And it was a half-court buzzer-beater as the Spartans capped a sizable run to take a 49-31 lead over Nebraska going into the break.
The Spartans ended the half on a 21-5 run.
Winston provided a serious boost off the bench during that stanza. Moments earlier, he helped the Breslin Center erupt when he lobbed a pass off the backboard to teammate Miles Bridges.
Michigan State opened the day projected as one of the final at-large bids in the NCAA Tournament. The margin for error is thing and it appears the Spartans are playing with a sense of urgency.
Wednesday’s slate of games had several wild results.
Former Ohio State walk-on turned blogger turned author Mark Titus, who is currently writing for The Ringer, joined Rob Dauster on the latest episode of the CBT Podcast to go over last night’s games. The two also discussed who is the best team in the nation at the moment, as well Frank Mason III’s rap single from several years ago #BIFM
You can subscribe to the podcast on iTunes, Stitcher and Audioboom
North Carolina’s Roy Williams called fellow Hall of Fame coach Rick Pitino to apologize for a fan’s behavior during Wednesday night’s game in Chapel Hill.
While leaving the floor at halftime, Pitino had to be restrained by members of the Louisville coaching staff and he and a UNC fan exchanged words as he made his way to the locker rom. There’s video of Pitino pointing and shouting at a fan, who reportedly said, “Pitino, you suck!”
“I don’t like that,” Williams said, according to the Charlotte Observer. “I mean we’re in North Carolina. We don’t have to be like everybody else. We can raise Cain. You can boo, but you don’t have to say the stuff that we as coaches have to put up with.”
“I hope that never happens at North Carolina ever again.”
No. 8 North Carolina defeated No. 7 Louisville, 74-63.
STILL TO PLAY
Georgia at Alabama (RPI: 68, KenPom: 61, next four teams), 7:00 p.m.
Nebraska at Michigan State (RPI: 43, KenPom: 55, No. 10 seed), 7:00 p.m.
Towson at UNC Wilmington (RPI: 41, KenPom: 57, No. 12 seed), 7:00 p.m.