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The Week in Review


The Memphis Tigers are going dancing in Ohio. Memphis Grizzlies star Ja Morant has gone to Florida for counseling.

So went another rollercoaster week in Memphis sports, and The Daily Memphian sports staff covered all of the city’s ups and downs over the last seven days.

For the Tigers, beat writer Parth Upadhyaya and columnist Geoff Calkins were in Fort Worth, Texas, for Memphis’ run to its first-ever AAC Tournament championship.

Coach Penny Hardaway’s club first beat UCF on Friday, when DeAndre Williams and Kendric Davis went crazy with 35 and 33 points, respectively. On Saturday, the Tigers toppled Tulane, a team that beat them twice in the regular season. Then on Sunday, they beat the nation’s top-ranked team, Houston, their first-ever win over a No. 1 opponent.

The Cougars were missing Marcus Sasser, the AAC’s Player of the Year. But the Tigers, as Hardaway was quick to note, were missing their own star guard — Davis, AAC’s 2022 Player of the Year while at SMU — when Houston beat them in their first meeting this season.

The Cougars won the regular-season rematch earlier this month in Memphis. Still, it was by only two points on Jamal Shead’s buzzer-beater, leaving some to wonder just how much separation there really is between Houston, which fell from No. 1 to No. 2 in the Associated Press Top 25 after its tournament title-game loss, and the Tigers, who after the win made their first appearance in the writers’ poll at No. 24.

Now Memphis prepares to open NCAA Tournament play on Friday night in Columbus, Ohio, against Florida Atlantic as a No. 8 seed, and Houston prepares to face Northern Kentucky on Thursday night in Birmingham, Alabama, as a No. 1 seed.

Upadhyaya and Calkins both will be there.

If Memphis and Houston were to meet for a fourth time this season, it would have to be in the NCAA Tournament championship game. Tiger fans can dream. But don’t count on that.

The Grizzlies, meanwhile, returned home from a rough 1-3 road trip that ended with three straight losses, starting center Steven Adams sidelined another month or so due to his bum knee, and Morant away for the team after taking quite an image hit when a video of his trip to a Colorado gentleman’s club spread Saturday on social media like Rocky Mountain wildfire.

But as Morant prepared to head to Florida for his counseling program, beat writer Drew Hill, who was on the trip for losses at Denver and to the Clippers and Lakers in Los Angeles, and columnist Chris Herrington had you covered as the Grizzlies rebounded with one win over Golden State and a couple over Dallas.

Meanwhile, preps writer John Varlas was over in Murfreesboro as Bartlett High’s girls basketball team made it to its state tournament championship game before falling — and he will be back there this week as five Memphis boys teams chase state-title hopes of their own.

Here are some of the highlights from the staff’s work for the week. — Tim Buckley, deputy sports editor/senior writer

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This is what the Tigers had been building toward. This was what Penny Hardaway claimed they were capable of doing all along. 

Related story:

Box score: Memphis 75, Houston 65

Calkins: Tigers claim the title — and Hardaway delivers on the promise that he made. By
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Kendric Davis named AP honorable mention All-American By
Report: With his return still undecided, Ja Morant enters counseling program By
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David Roddy stars in Grizzlies win over Mavericks (again) By
Calkins: A hard day ended in hope By
Herrington: Jackson has strong case for top defense honor, but playing time may hurt By
Bartlett battles before falling in Class 4A state championship game By


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