After the University of Memphis Tigers defeated Southern Mississippi 89 to 73 and wrapped up the C-USA conference title Saturday, head coach Josh Pastner decided to use the words of Michigan State head coach Tom Izzo.
"(The) best teams have to go through some adversity," Izzo said after his Spartans lost to No. 1 Indiana.
Memphis hasn't seen the same type of adversity as the No. 4 Spartans, who dropped another game last night to Ohio State. Pastner was referring to the losses early in the Tigers' season.
The Tigers only have three losses and they were all against teams that are ranked highly in the country (No. 11 Louisville, No. 21 VCU, and No. 27 Minnesota). In the eyes of many critics, however, those setbacks are reasons enough not to include Memphis in the category of the nation's top teams.
Nonetheless, Memphis has now won 18 games in a row and has clinched the C-USA title, with three conference match-ups still remaining. Those achievements would make most any fan base in the country happy.
However, 18 wins in a row is only the fifth best streak in the illustrious history of Memphis Tigers' basketball. And winning the conference is basically expected, considering Memphis has claimed that title seven times in the last ten years. The True Blue Nation expects more!
The future could hold bright things for this Tiger team, yet they have a few more tests before those dreams can be fulfilled. They are now starting a three-game road trip. First up, a trek to Cincinnati to face the Xavier Musketeers. Xavier might be having a down year, but they have a rich basketball history and likely will be ready for the Tigers.
The last two games of the road trip are conference match-ups against UCF and UTEP. These teams are ranked No. 3 and No. 4, respectively, in the conference and are tough places to play on the road.
Thus far, Memphis has asserted its dominance and is the team to beat in C-USA. And because of that, the Tigers are sure to get everyone's best shot.
If the Tigers can come away unscathed on the road, it will give Memphis a chance to finish out the season at home against UAB with the possibility of a 22-game win streak headed into the C-USA tournament.
Pastner has let his players know that he "doesn't take one win for granted." And neither should they.