NCAA Tournament: Memphis 85, Texas 67
HOUSTON ó The freshman from Chicago who wears No. 23 and soars all over the court just finished getting Memphis into the Final Four when fans began chanting “One more year!”
Then Derrick Rose picked up his South Regional MVP award, clipped a piece of the net and called his mom to share the moment. He kept it brief, though, because he didn’t want his teammates to see him cry.
It might be the only thing they’ve never seen him do.
Driving, dishing and dunking, going above the rim for rebounds and flying around to block shots, Rose led Memphis past Texas 85-67 Sunday for its first trip to the Final Four since 1985.
“I’m just living the dream right now,” said Rose, who finished with 21 points, nine assists and six rebounds. “Everybody back home happy for me and our fans back in Memphis are happy, so we’re just living it up.”
The Tigers tied the NCAA Division I record for wins in a season, with their only loss coming to a team ranked No. 2 at the time. They’ve been first, second or third in the poll all season. And to all the people who keep saying they’d be the first No. 1 seed to lose, leading scorer Chris Douglas-Roberts can say, “See you in San Antonio.”
“I’m not sure if we’ll get the respect we deserve, but if we don’t, it doesn’t matter,” Douglas-Robert said. “It’s four teams left now.”
Memphis will play UCLA and its freshman phenom, Kevin Love. The Tigers and Bruins have a nice little history, having met in a regional final two years ago and in the 1973 title game.
Memphis has only been back to the Final Four once, with Keith Lee leading the way in 1985. But that trip was vacated according to the NCAA record book because of rules violations. Ditto for the only other time John Calipari coached a team to the Final Four, UMass in 1996.
This March, Memphis has treated the NCAA field like it a continuation of Conference USA play. This finish was the second-closest final margin.
“We just try to go out there and prove everyone wrong,” said bruising big man Joey Dorsey, who had 11 points and 12 rebounds.
The Tigers were a win away from the final weekend of the NCAA tournament each of the last two years, but couldn’t get over the hump. Then again, Dean Smith never won a title at North Carolina until that other No. 23 came along, Michael Jordan.
Calipari even compared Rose to another icon of greatness, Tiger Woods.
“He’s got to improve, got to get on the range a little bit and get that stroke right, but he also has the mental capacity and the mental toughness and the intelligence to be unique and special. And it sets him apart,” Calipari said.
“He’s been that way since we got him, so it’s nothing I’ve done with him. He just has a will to win.”
By Nancy Armour Associated Press DETROIT ó OK, so the entire country now knows every last little detail about Stephen... read more