Talented Memphis eager to end NCAA Tournament drought

Memphis has landed a great deal of elite recruits but nevertheless hasn’t acquired an NCAA Event bid for the duration of Penny Hardaway’s coaching tenure.

Perhaps this is the yr that improvements.

Memphis returns 3 of its major 5 scorers from a group that received the NIT very last season and also delivers in the nation’s No. 1 recruiting course in accordance to composite rankings of internet sites compiled by 247Sports. The 12th-rated Tigers are hoping that combination provides up to their initially NCAA Event visual appearance given that 2014.

”No make a difference what any person claims, you might be only heading to earn significant when you have seriously superior gamers,” claimed Hardaway, who enters his fourth season at Memphis with a 63-32 record. ”And to have the roster that we have now, we have seriously superior gamers.”

Memphis heads our record of teams that have excellent photographs at reaching the NCAA Event this season soon after failing to get there in 2021.

The Tigers’ 6-man freshman course incorporates two major-5 recruits in 6-foot-nine ahead Emoni Bates (No. four in the 247Sports Composite) and 6-11 heart Jalen Duren (No. 5).

This is not the initially time Hardaway has introduced in the nation’s No. 1 recruiting course.

Memphis also had a major-rated course in 2019 that showcased James Wiseman, who performed just 3 games ahead of leaving faculty to prepare for the commence of his professional occupation. That group received 12 of its initially 13 games but pale down the stretch and probable wouldn’t have acquired an NCAA bid, even if the pandemic hadn’t halted the postseason.

This year’s group appears more balanced.

The Tigers return Landers Nolley II, who acquired initially-group all-American Athletic Convention honors and was the most excellent participant in the NIT. Hardaway believes that postseason operate served, even if it failed to appear in the NCAA Event.

”The little ones that appear again, that came again from that working experience, they know that they’re champions, initially of all, and they know what they want now,” Hardaway claimed. ”They want more.”

Hardaway also has extra some star energy to his coaching team by hiring Corridor of Fame coach Larry Brown and 4-time NBA All-Star Rasheed Wallace.

There is nevertheless a lingering infractions circumstance hanging over Memphis’ program as a final result of Wiseman’s recruitment, but that may well be the major issue that complicates the Tigers’ postseason hopes.

On the court, Memphis has more than more than enough talent to stop its NCAA drought.

A great deal of regular NCAA Event regulars failed to go dancing for the duration of the unusual pandemic-impacted 2020-21 season. Here is a appear at some other educational institutions that determine to gain NCAA bids this season, even nevertheless they failed to in 2021.


This traditional energy hasn’t performed in an NCAA Event given that creating a initially-spherical exit in 2018. Arizona’s seventeen-nine record probable would have merited a bid very last season, but faculty officers imposed a postseason ban linked to a pending NCAA principles infractions circumstance. Arizona could stop that drought beneath initially-yr coach and former Gonzaga assistant Tommy Lloyd. The Wildcats will require significant returning gamers Bennedict Mathurin, Azoulas Tubelis and Christian Koloko to just take a stage ahead. Arizona also extra transfers Oumar Ballo (previously at Gonzaga), Pelle Larsson (Utah) and Justin Kier (Ga).


Soon after replacing the nucleus of the group that acquired the school’s initially Closing Four bid in 2019, Auburn fell to 13-fourteen very last season. Auburn by now had self-imposed a postseason ban for the 2020-21 season, but the Tigers wouldn’t have acquired a bid irrespective. Auburn has given that restocked its roster by adding transfers Walker Kessler (previously at North Carolina), Wendell Green Jr. (Japanese Kentucky), K.D. Johnson (Ga) and Zep Jasper (Charleston), plus a freshman course showcasing Jabari Smith, the nation’s No. 6 prospect in his course in accordance to the 247Sports Composite.

NO. nine DUKE

Duke opted to stop its season in the midst of the Atlantic Coastline Convention Event soon after a positive COVID-19 test. The Blue Devils were being just 13-11 at the time and in all probability would have wanted to earn the ACC Event to lengthen their streak of 24 consecutive NCAA Event appearances. The Blue Devils determine to commence a new streak in coach Mike Krzyzewski’s final season ahead of retirement. Duke’s freshman course has 3 major-twenty five recruits in Paolo Banchero (No. 2), A.J. Griffin (No. seventeen) and Trevor Keels (No. 22). Duke returns 7-footer Mark Williams and provides Marquette transfer Theo John.


Indiana is coming off a 12-fifteen season and hasn’t arrived at an NCAA Event given that creating a regional semifinal in 2016. But there is a new electrical power bordering this squad with the arrival of initially-yr coach Mike Woodson, a former NBA participant and coach who starred for the Hoosiers from 1976-80. Indiana also capabilities an Connected Push preseason All-The us collection in Trayce Jackson-Davis, who averaged 19.1 factors and nine rebounds very last season.


Kentucky went nine-sixteen very last yr to finish under .500 for the initially time given that 1988-89. An NCAA Event was held with out Kentucky for the initially time given that 2013. But there is rationale to consider that was an aberration rather than the commence of a development. Kentucky introduced in two major-fifteen recruits in TyTy Washington and Daimion Collins, but the Wildcats is not going to be relying on freshmen rather as a great deal as regular. Kentucky’s roster capabilities several returning gamers, including sixth-yr guard Davion Mintz, plus transfers Oscar Tshiebwe (West Virginia), CJ Fredrick (Iowa), Kellan Grady (Davidson) and Sahvir Wheeler (Ga).


Xavier manufactured 12 NCAA Event appearances in a 13-yr stretch from 2006-18, but hasn’t been again given that. Xavier went 13-8 very last season and returns its major 7 scorers from that group. The Musketeers’ record of returners incorporates Paul Scruggs and Zach Freemantle, who were being next-group all-Big East selections very last season.

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