May 12 2011

Memphis Tigers
It took time for this freshman-oriented team to understand the importance of RPI ratings and preparing for everyone on their schedule. The Tigers were the third-youngest team in college basketball last season, and despite some logical growing pains, won 25 games before losing to Arizona in the NCAA tournament.

While the focus will be on Josh Pastner’s outstanding sophomore class, led by Joe Jackson, Will Barton and Tarik Black, the difference between another good season and a long tournament run could be the return to form of multi-talented 6-8 senior Wesley Witherspoon. After suffering a knee injury midway though last season and a two-game suspension, as well, Witherspoon seems excited about his final year, according to Pastner.

Adding 6-5 high school All-American and local product Adonis Thomas will add a jolt of defensive energy initially. He’s a real warrior.