At long last, Tigers crack top 25
For a while, every Tiger fan was thinking, 'Boy, what is it going to take?'
Apparently, it took an 89-76 trouncing of Southern Mississippi in Hattiesburg over the weekend, the Tigers' 14th straight victory. After Saturday's win, the Tigers - finally - resurfaced into the top 25, ranking No. 22 in the Associated Press Poll and squeezing in at No. 25 in the Coaches Poll.
In the duration of head coach Josh Pastner's tenure, the Tigers have never ranked in the top 25 this late in the season.
"I'd rather be in the polls than not. Who doesn't?" Pastner said. "You get more attention. You get more focus. You're on the scroll of the games on ESPN."
Junior guard Geron Johnson offered some strong words following Memphis' win over Southern Miss.
"I'm going to be honest, there is no team better than us in the country," Johnson said after Saturday's game.
The time will come to prove Johnson's claim. In the meantime, the Tigers are rolling through their conference schedule, a feat made more impressive by their position. With the imminent move to the Big East, every Conference USA team is getting one last shot at the Tigers, a team that has dominated the league since 2003.
"We've won 14 straight, which isn't easy to do," Pastner said. "Don't take one win for granted. We've won 10 in a row, which is the longest streak in the country for road wins; that isn't easy to do."
With only five weeks until Selection Sunday, a national ranking assures the Tigers a spotlight. However, the Tigers have received little love from the selection committee in recent years. In 2011, the Tigers received a No. 12 seed in the NCAA Tournament. Last year, the Tigers joined the field as an eight seed.
The Tigers' record this year is their best since 2009, but their strength of schedule is a sticking point. The Tigers have no "bad losses", but they also lack the premier victories that tournament selectors look for. The wins over Ohio University, Tennessee, and Harvard are not the rÃ©sumÃ© builders that fans hoped for before the season.
But, the Tigers have a Central Florida team to defeat. And after that, Marshall stands in the way. If the Tigers lose before the end of the season, their run in the top 25 will most likely end.
"The only thing we can do to stay in the polls is win games," Pastner said.
Indeed, all the Tigers can do is win games, but the ranking provides satisfaction for now.
Get Top Stories Delivered Weekly
From Around the Web
More The Daily Helmsman News Articles
Recent The Daily Helmsman News Articles
Discuss This Article
MOST POPULAR THE DAILY HELMSMAN NEWS
GET TOP STORIES DELIVERED WEEKLY
FOLLOW OUR NEWSPAPER
LATEST THE DAILY HELMSMAN NEWS
- AAC releases coaches' preseason predictions
- U of M Law School ranked No. 1 by PreLaw Magazine
- Historic cemetery hosts annual 'Spirits with Spirits'
- Up 'Til Dawn kicks off letter sending party
- New NBA season tips off with plethora of storylines
- Q&A with comedian and actor Gary Owen
- Open records, locked door
RECENT THE DAILY HELMSMAN CLASSIFIEDS
FROM AROUND THE WEB
- IRS Warns Taxpayers of Latest Phone Fraud Scam
- Putting Your Vacation Home to Work for You
- Finding Answers to Growing Concerns About Water Fluoridation
- Empowering People to Regain Their Mobility
- On-Site Workplace Health Clinics Emphasize Chiropractic Care
- 5 Important Tips for Choosing a Medicare Health Plan
- Welcome Your Holiday Guests With Inviting Lighting
- A New Prescription for Finding the Right Doctor
- Be on the Lookout for These Invasive Species
- It's Official: Women Are the Decision-Makers Even When It...
COLLEGE PRESS RELEASES
- College women switching to Sobrr this Halloween as the best app for fun -- and finding soul mates.
- Win $1,000 to Study Abroad in Italy. The ItaliaRail Study Abroad in Italy Scholarship for Spring 2015 is now accepting applications.
- 7 Tips for Scoring a Tailgating Touchdown
- Renowned Engineer Ric Bradshaw Conducts Fujifilm-Sponsored Campus Tour on Tape Technology
- 5 DAYS ONLY! Semi Annual Consignment Sale!