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Tigers Basketball Insider: Houston’s Kelvin Sampson praises Penny Hardaway, Memphis
Memphis coach Penny Hardaway coaches his team from the sidelines during a Jan. 7, 2023 game against ECU. (Patrick Lantrip/The Daily Memphian)

Memphis coach Penny Hardaway coaches his team from the sidelines during a Jan. 7, 2023 game against ECU. (Patrick Lantrip/The Daily Memphian)

Welcome to this week’s Tigers Basketball Insider. Below you’ll find the latest news and analysis from The Daily Memphian’s Parth Upadhyaya, John Martin, Tim Buckley and Geoff Calkins.

Kelvin Sampson recently had some high praise for Penny Hardaway and the Memphis Tigers.

During his weekly Kelvin Sampson Radio Show on Monday, the Houston coach discussed his Cougars’ home loss to Temple on Sunday. The three-time AAC Coach of the Year then unpromptedly spoke of what he feels are misconceptions about the AAC’s lack of strength this season and some teams in the conference that have stood out to him.


But he particularly highlighted Hardaway.

“There’s a terrible narrative that’s going around about how good of a coach Penny is,” Sampson said. “Penny Hardaway’s one of the best coaches in the country. He does a tremendous job of developing his players.

“He’s probably got one of the — if not the — best player in the league in Kendric Davis. DeAndre Williams is probably the most versatile player in our conference. Memphis is an outstanding team.”

Houston’s loss to Temple drops the Cougars to 6-1 in the AAC and 18-2 overall but keeps the group at No. 1 in the conference’s standings. The Cougars are now also No. 3 in the AP Top 25 poll after previously being ranked No. 1.

With Memphis’ road win over Cincinnati on Sunday, the Tigers moved up to 5-2 in the conference and 15-5 overall to grab sole possession of third place in the standings.


The Tigers will take on the Cougars in Houston on Feb. 19 and in their regular-season finale in Memphis on March 5.

“We’re in a great position now with Houston losing one game,” Hardaway said Monday on the weekly Penny Hardaway Radio Show. “But I never looked at anyone else having to beat someone for us. We started off slowly. We’re started to catch our stride.” 

Since taking over as Memphis’ coach ahead of the 2018-19 season, Hardaway has a 3-6 record against Houston. The Cougars were ranked in the AP Top 25 poll in all nine of those matchups. 

Last year, the Tigers beat Houston twice in the regular season before falling to the Cougars in the AAC championship.

More from your Insider:

Calkins: Penny Hardaway gets win 100!* (Just don’t tell the IARP)

Kendric Davis and DeAndre Williams were magnificent in leading the Memphis Tigers to their 100th win under Penny Hardaway. OK, the official record will say this was win No. 99. Either way, it was sweet. 

Hardaway pivoted to get Memphis back on track. The Tigers’ win over Cincinnati is proof.

It’s easy to see why Hardaway spoke with such pride after Memphis knocked off Cincinnati on the road on Sunday afternoon to pick up its third consecutive win.

Williams, Davis lead Tigers to road win over Cincinnati

DeAndre Williams led the Tigers with 26 points and Kendric Davis added 21 to help Memphis improve to 15-5 overall and 5-2 in conference play.

Box score: Memphis 75, Cincinnati 68

NCAA men’s basketball box score for the game between the Memphis Tigers and the Cincinnati Bearcats played Sunday, Jan. 22, 2023.

Love it, Like it or Hate it: Reviewing Memphis’ win over Wichita State

Penny Hardaway was conflicted when addressing reporters after his team’s victory over Wichita State on Thursday night at FedExForum.

Buckley: With Chris Simmons in his heart, DeAndre Williams delivers

Tigers big man dedicates win over Wichita State to Memphis’ former athletic trainer who died this week.

Late surge pushes Memphis past Wichita State

Memphis again fell behind early. This time, though, the Tigers put their foot on the gas when they needed to in order to avoid another dramatic finish.

Box score: Memphis 88, Wichita State 78

NCAA men’s basketball box score for Thursday’s game between the Memphis Tigers and the Wichita State Shockers played at FedExForum in Memphis.

Tigers Talk: Upadhyaya and Martin on Memphis’ postseason hopes, potential X-factors

The Daily Memphian’s Parth Upadhyaya and John Martin discussed what has changed with the Memphis Tigers since their solid showing during non-conference play, predict what the team’s postseason fate looks like and more.

Kendric Davis makes Tigers and AAC history with latest award

Kendric Davis adds another national award to his ever-growing list of accolades.

Routine pays off for Tigers sharpshooter Madison Griggs

The Houston High alumna set the U of M’s career 3-point record after previously breaking the single-season record for men’s and women’s basketball as a freshman. 

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