We Don't Bluff – Bluff City Sports Blog


Let’s get right to it. Tubby Smith isn’t too happy with the Tigers right now.

It’s natural for teams to hit a wall during a season.  What separates the good from the great is what they do when they get to the wall.  Either go over, go through or  go around it.  No matter what you cannot let the wall stop you.

After letting UCF get the best of them, Tubby is voicing some of his frustrations with his team.  The Memphis Tiger basketball team has reached their “wall.”  Tubby Smith is a great coach with a team of players that have potential to be great.  Coach Smith has seen a lot when it comes to teams and players.  Smith has mentioned  leadership several times over the past few days.  One sign of a great leader lies in his ability to get people to ‘buy in’ to his or her program.  Because of his success up to this point, the players instantly bought into Tubby Smith and his vision for the team.   Now, all they  need to to do is continue to follow his lead.

Their is obviously some tension in the air, but exactly how do you Slice through it.  Coach Smith is frustrated with his teams efforts and focus.  The players are frustrated with losing results.  With Chad Rykhoek still injured, the Tigers are left with 7 main contributors.  In an ideal situation no one has to play all 40 minutes but in the heat of battle substitutions don’t seem like the answer.  35+ minutes game after game will take it’s toll on even the youngest of bodies.  Coach Smith is aware of this.  However, quitting is not the answer and it’s not something he is willing to accept from his players.

  “Maybe this is minutes starting to catch up with guys.  What are you going to do? Quit? You gotta suck it up, play harder and play better” said Smith.

During a media availability on Monday evening Coach Smith had a little different tone.

“I’ve talked about leadership before and that’s something we hope we can get and that’s leading by example on and off the basketball court.  That’s something you have to have if you’re going to be a good team”

The question was raised about whether or not Markel Crawford has hit a wall or is he just in a slump.  Before the question was even finished asked Smith snappishly said

“I don’t know, ask him!  he’s missing shots.  He has to be more engaged in other areas when you’re not scoring..  We need to defend and rebound when you’re not doing the other things.  There are a  lot of things to basketball other than scoring.  that’s areas you need to get better at”

Apparently something has happened that neither Coach nor the players will speak specifically about.  Coach made the following statement regarding his teams lack of focus:

“You can’t listen to the noise outside patting you on the back, even when you’re up.  You win a few games in a row and you think you’ve arrived.  You’ve never arrived.”

After spending the majority of ten minutes being overly critical of his team, he finishes up his media availability praising his guys’ efforts: “I’m so proud of how hard they work.  We play some guys so many minutes.  It’s just tough.  I’m the first guy to reason with the rationale, but we still have to play and practice”

Whether or not he has gotten thru to his team or not has yet to be seen.  We will see tonight in how respond to Tulsa.

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