As usual, Penny Hardaway and Memphis Basketball was a big offseason winner, landing a ton of individual talent. And it worked great early on, with the team going on a 15-2 start to the season, including three straight wins over ranked opponents.
However, the Tigers did show some flaws towards the end of December, winning several games via a close margin. At some point, the luck was going to run out for the AAC contenders. Yet no one expected things to go downhill so fast for them.
It started over a week ago, with Memphis losing at home to South Florida in the final seconds. They followed that up with two road defeats to UAB and Tulane, two teams predicted to finish in the middle of the league standings. Now at 4-3 in the AAC, Memphis is now 2.5 games back of the standings behind Charlotte and Florida Atlantic.
More importantly, the Tigers have gone from trying to get a top-4 protected seed in the NCAA Tournament to getting closer to the bubble. A strong non-con campaign has given them plenty of breathing room but the program is running out of it, with a month to go.
Memphis doesn't want to be in a position to need a win over FAU to guarantee a spot in the Big Dance but if they keep playing this way, that's where they'll be heading. But what has happened to get to this point? Here's a closer look at the current problems that Coach Hardaway has to solve.