Saturday, April 5, 2008

Memphis' athleticism too much for UCLA

An extremely short Memphis drought late in the second half ended dramatically when Chris Douglas-Roberts got the ball on the baseline.

He drove right to left and unleashed a wicked, left-handed tomahawk dunk in the face of UCLA center Kevin Love.

Center Joey Dorsey just laughed as the Tigers ran back to play defense. Memphis used its superior athletic ability to win the opening NCAA semifinal game on Saturday at the Alamodome and advance to Monday’s final.

Memphis will be a huge challenge for whichever team it faces in the final. The Tigers have two guards who are extremely effective off the dribble in Douglas-Roberts and Derrick Rose. They have a nice rotation with three solid players for two spots in their post rotation – Joey Dorsey, Robert Dozier and Shawn Taggart.

They appear vulnerable in only a couple spots. Rose is suspect defensively, and an opponent will have to exploit that the way UCLA did with Russell Westbrook.

Memphis’ big guys also are susceptible to foul trouble, and North Carolina and Kansas both have players who can take advantage of that.

As for UCLA, its third straight trip to the Final Four ended in a third straight disappointment because it ran into a team with superior athletes. Florida eliminated the Bruins twice on its way to NCAA titles.

Memphis isn’t as good as those Gator teams, but high-charged opponents have repeatedly shown that coach Ben Howland’s grinding style can’t keep a truly elite team in check for 40 minutes.

– Ken Tysiac