With the Memphis Tigers opening their Final Four campaign tonight in Little Rock, a look a the history books brings mixed signals when it comes to "dancing" on March 21st. The U of M has played no fewer than four tournament games on this date, winning two and losing a pair.
March 21, 1984: Houston 78, Memphis 71
The Tigers came up short in the regional semifinals -- or Sweet Sixteen -- a third straight year. William Bedford scored 21 points (on 10 of 12 shooting) and junior Keith Lee added 15, but it wasn't enough to overcome 25 points and 13 rebounds from Akeem Olajuwon and his Phi Slamma Jamma running mates. The Cougars went on to the national championship game, where they lost to Georgetown.
March 21, 1985: Memphis 59, Boston College 57
This was the game that prevented what could have been an all-Big East Final Four. Despite the efforts of the Eagles' pint-sized Michael Adams (12 points), the Tigers reached their first regional final in 12 years. Bedford led Memphis with 23 points. Two days later, the Tigers beat Wayman Tisdale and Oklahoma to join Villanova, Georgetown, and St. John's in the Final Four.
March 21, 1992: Memphis 82, Arkansas 80
Down by eight at halftime, the Tigers -- with a sophomore named Penny Hardaway making heads spin -- rode the back of David Vaughn to an upset of a Hog team led by Memphis high school great Todd Day. Vaughn scored 26 points (including a last-minute game-winning field goal) and was supported by Hardaway (14), Anthony Douglas (12), and Billy Smith (10). The Tigers went on to beat Georgia Tech (in overtime) before getting trounced by Cincinnati in the regional finals.
March 21, 2004: Oklahoma State 70, Memphis 53
This was John Calipari's first foray into the NCAA's second round as Tiger coach, and it was ugly from the get-go. Joey Graham and John Lucas led the Cowboys to a 41-19 haltime lead, making the final 20 minutes a formality. In his final game as a Tiger, Conferene USA Player of the Year Antonio Burks had 22 points. Oklahoma State reached the Final Four, where they lost to Georgia Tech in the semifinals.