Last week was an expensive one for Memphis head coach John Calipari. Two basketball losses cost him $10,000.
Heading into Wednesday nights game at Southern Miss, the Tigers were in first place in Conference USA, with a league-leading 10-4 record. If the Tigers had beaten the Golden Eagles they would have clinched at least a tie for the best record in the league and Calipari would have received a $10,000 bonus as stipulated in his contract.
Not only did Memphis lose at Southern Miss, they were destroyed, 74-55. The team then had to regroup and beat Louisville to at least finish tied for the best conference record. But on the day that Denny Crum coached his final regular season game at Freedom Hall, the Tigers were overcome by the emotional Cards. Memphis committed 24 turnovers that led to 27 U of L points. Louisville won the game 65-56.
Shyrone Chatman, who last week was named the Player of the Week in C-USA, had a dreadful game, committing a game-high 8 turnovers and shooting 0 for 13 from the field. Louisville led by nine at the half and never trailed in the second stanza. Memphis cut the lead to four points but were never able to make a serious run in the final minutes.
It was the Louisville guards who were the difference in the game. Reese Gaines scored 23 and Marques Maybin closed out his career in style scoring 16. By contrast, Memphis guards Marcus Moody, Courtney Trask, and Chatman combined for 11 points while committing 12 turnovers. Reserve center Earl Barron scored 18 for Memphis and Kelly Wise had his 13th double-double of the season with 10 points and 10 rebound. But Wise spent the game battling foul problems and Barron had only 3 rebounds.
We are going to have to go back to the drawing board as a staff and figure out how we are going to put some things together to make a run in this tournament, said Memphis assistant Tony Barbee of the upcoming league tourney. There is no question, that we are one of the best teams in this league when we decide to play. But for some reason tonight, we didnt have that.
Memphis, despite losing four of its last six games, will get a bye in the first round of the C-USA tournament next week at Louisville. The Tigers are seeded fourth in the tournament and will play a second-round game Thursday against the winner of the Marquette-Tulane game.
For whatever reason, we were flat tonight. From start to finish our guys played with no emotion and no passion. Its hard to imagine with two games left -- these guys who have never been there, to put themselves in a position to get to the NCAA tournament -- and then to come out flat, its tough to explain that.
The Tigers get a chance to redeem themselves and make their coach a little richer in the C-USA tournament. If Memphis wins the conference tournament, Calipari gets a $10,000 bonus. He will also get an additional $20,000 bonus for gaining the automatic bid to the NCAA tournament that goes to the winner of the C-USA tourney. For each game the team wins in the NCAA tournament there will be an additional bonus, up to a maximum of $300,000.
20001 OCG CONFERENCE USA TOURNAMENT PAIRINGS
(All Times Eastern)
Wednesday, March 7th
Game 1, 1 p.m. - (6) South Florida vs. (11) DePaul (ESPN Plus)
Game 2, 3:30 p.m. - (7) Saint Louis vs. (10) Houston (ESPN Plus)
Game 3, 7 p.m. - (8) UAB vs. (9) Louisville (ESPN Plus)
Game 4, 9:30 p.m. - (5) Marquette vs. (12) Tulane (ESPN Plus)
Thursday, March 8th
Game 5, 1 p.m. - USF-DPU winner vs. (3) Charlotte (ESPN Plus)
Game 6, 3:30 p.m. - SLU-HOU winner vs. (2) Southern Miss (ESPN Plus)
Game 7, 7 p.m. - LOU-UAB winner vs. (1) Cincinnati (ESPN Plus)
Game 8, 9:30 p.m. , 9:30 p.m. MAR-TUL winner vs. (4) Memphis
Friday, March 9th
Game 9, 5:30 p.m. - Game 5 winner vs. Game 6 winner (ESPN Plus)
Game 10, 8 p.m. - Game 7 winner vs. Game 8 winner (ESPN Plus)
Saturday, March 10th
Game 11, 12 p.m. - Semifinal winners (CBS)