Tigers look to keep momentum after huge AAC Tournament

Published: Mar. 16, 2023 at 5:38 PM CDT
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COLUMBUS, Ohio (WMC) - The Memphis men’s basketball team hit the court at Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio, for shootaround on Thursday ahead of their first round matchup in the NCAA Tournament with Florida Atlantic on Friday night.

The Tigers are dancing for the second consecutive year, but there are plenty of new faces to the tournament, including their best player, Kendric Davis. The SMU transfer said he came to Memphis to make the tournament for the first time, and he’s trying to soak in the experience as much as possible while also maintaining the edge he needs.

“Man, I just say same routine all year,” Davis said. “I mean I’ve been soaking in being a Memphis Tiger all year. You know that’s one of one, not many people can put on this jersey.

“Just treating it like the same, I know it’s win or go home. So everybody is soaking it in right now. I just want to thank my brothers and the fan base, but also realize we’re not done yet.”

Five players from last year’s tournament team are part of this group: DeAndre Williams, Alex Lomax, Malcolm Dandridge, Chandler Lawson, and Jayden Hardaway.

Williams and Lomax shared their biggest takeaways from last year’s experience that they think can help them now.

“One of the biggest takes is the bright lights, that can get to you,” Williams said. “But at the end of the day it’s basketball. When that tilt happened, all the nerves go away. It’s just team against team.

“And that’s what I’m going to preach to my teammates -- just go out there, have fun, enjoy yourself and try to win.”

“Just stay one as a family,” Lomax said of his advice. “And don’t be looking too much into everything else that’s going on around us. We’ve got one goal and it’s just let’s go 1-0 at a time.

“Once we just think like that, and me and DeAndre help initiate that with the guys just through experience, I feel like everything would be good.”

The Tigers are entering the tournament on a high after winning the AAC Tournament last weekend. The NCAA Tournament is all about peaking at the right time, does Davis think they’re doing that right now?

“I would say, yeah, but to a certain degree. FAU won their tournament too, so I’m pretty sure they’re thinking the same thing. I’m sure there’s a lot of teams in this tournament that won their tournament. I’m sure everybody feels they’re peaking at the right time.

“It’s about being ready to play. We know every team that’s here belongs here or they wouldn’t be here. We’ve got to listen to Coach and follow the game plan and try and shock the world.”

Tip-off between the Tigers and Owls is scheduled for 8:20 CT on Friday night.

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