OK, so I just got back from Kansas City (I'll be headed back for tm's game). Because all of the early games appear to be headed nowhere, I thought I'd take some time to breakdown Memphis. Now, because I saw Memphis play (arguably) their worst game in a while against Northridge, perhaps its possible that my scouting report is skewed, but I'm focusing on what the players are capable of to try and mitigate that.
Here is how I see the starting five:
1. PG/SG/SF: Tyreke Evans
-Was the most physically impressive player on any of the four teams I watched on Thursday. Yet despite his big frame, he is capable of keeping up with smaller guards.
-Has the ability to create off the dribble and get in the lane
-Has the ability to shoot over defenders at will because of his height and vertical
-great defender, uses his length to get into the passing lane and makes it tough for his opponent to get off a shot.
-Will turn the ball over under pressure either in the lane, or in the backcourt because he tries to do too much.
-Does not look comfortable at the line.
-Does not have a very good outside jumper, though he is capable of knocking down a three if left open.
-When Memphis was down, Evans (their purported star) did not come up with any big plays. They had to look elsewhere to find the plays they needed.
-Seemed out of it (possibly with the flu as was reported) and not all that into the game.
-his big body means that he is capable of gettting in foul trouble.
-Does not excel at getting the team into its sets when he runs the point. He instead looks to make a one on one play and either dish or finish, but does not show the poise, leadership and patience at this point to get his team to run its offense. (Could just be what Calipari wants him to do).
2. PG/SG/SF: Antonio Anderson
-Another big bulky guard who is also capable of keeping up with smaller guards.
-Shows poise and leadership on the court. He seemed to be the guy shouting out what to do to his teammates when he was on the court. Great competitor and a glue guy.
-Capable of getting into the lane off the dribble.
-great defender in the backcourt on the press. Very active.
-Very versatile player who is able to play the 1,2 or 3 as needed.
-Like Evans, Anderson is prone to turning the ball over under pressure.
-Like Evans, Anderson is not much of an outside shooter.
-Although he has a good assist to turnover ratio on the season (about 2:1), in big games (syracuse, northridge, gtown, gonzaga) it has hovered closer to 1:1 and his overall assists are lower in those games.
3. SG/PG/SF: Deneal Mack
NOTE: To be honest I watched him play an awful game so I am not going so much off of what I saw as opposed to what I've read about him.
- Willing to shoot the three and makes about 1/3.
-Does not generally turn it over (though he did three times against Northridge)
-Atheletic, long, guard that makes opposing offenses struggle with his length.
-Has the ability to break down off the dribble (though not as well as evans or anderson imo).
-His minutes are on the decline due to his ineffective play as of late. (despite averaging in double figures for most of the season, in 3 of his last 5 games he has been a total non-facdtor and now averages less than 10ppg.)
-Although I listed it as a strength, his three point shooting on the wrong day can just as easily be considered a weakness.
-Not much of a difference maker in big games. His only big game against a big-time opponent was...well he didn't have one. Although he did drop 19 on Chattenouga! lol
4. PF: Robert Dozier
-long, lean, ibekwe/gist type frame plus some muscle.
-Has good hands inside
-excellent shot blocker
-when he wants to, can be unstoppable on the glass
-has ability to score in the low post
-has shown, unlike some memphis tigers, that he can play against big time opponents and be a big time player. He scored 18 points and added 10 rebounds against Gonzaga, had a double double against Xavier and took over the game along with Sallie in the second half yesturday for Memphis.
-despite the fact that he looks stronger than last year, he's still skinny as a twig and may have trouble moving a guy like dave neal out of the paint when going for a rebound.
-that's it...I love this guy's game...he's got to be our top focus imho.
4. C: Shawn Taggert
-Size and strength (noticing a trend) is elite.
-Able to score in the low post.
-Good rebounder, though not great, when he wants to be.
-for some reason, he has taken 22 three pointers this year and was standing around the perimeter a lot yesturday. Inexplicable. He needs to get down low and use his frame. Plus he doesn't shoot the ball well. He is only 4/22 from three point.
-inconsistent player...will have monster games and really weak games. Will dissapear for stretches of games.
-Prone to foul trouble.
Who to Foul: Evans (69%), Mack (58%)
Who not to foul: Nobody shoots over 80 percent in their starting rotation
Who to watch off the bench: Sallie obviously (made 9 threes against northridge)
Biggest Match-Up Problem: Dozier and Taggert are big match up issues for us that may force us into a sagging zone.
Hope that helped...