The Tigers and Bulls opening game in the Conference USA quarterfinals was a tight contest from the tip.
Today's victory over South Florida was the 12th straight for Memphis. The Tigers were led by 6'9, 250-pound senior Chris Massie's 18 points and 11 rebounds. Rodney Carney also poured in 18 points, while Antonio Burkes handed out 8 assists.
South Florida, who finished the season at 15-14, was led by Will McDonalds 16 points and 9 rebounds.
"They're a good team and have a lot of different pieces," said South Florida head coach Seth Greenberg about the Tigers following the loss. "They have players that can beat you off the dribble, they can defend and they have guys that are not afraid to make the big shots. And they have a dominate inside player. They are a good team and are well coached and have some toughness to them."
Louisville 82 Tulane 66
Despite being told that senior center would not play just before warmups, the Cardinals pulled together as a unit to win their opening game against Tulane.
"I think emotionally we were taken out of the game early," said Rick Pitino. "Right before the game started I told the team that Marvin (Stone) wasn't playing, and he was fully dressed out. I think that some of the guys felt dejected by the news."
A 13-0 run midway through the second period, spurred by 3-pointers from Reece Gaines and Otis George, allowed the Cardinals to put the game out of reach.
Junior Luke Whitehead led the Cardinals with 11 rebounds and also added 11 points, to record his second consecutive double-double. Otis George also suprised many by scoring 14.
"[Luke] played extremely hard today," Pitino continued. "Our big guys struggled early on in the game and we're not much of a factor on the glass. Otis woke up this morning thinking he was George Gervin. He played with a lot of confidence today. We are a very young team like Reece said. We are going to get better and we are going to keep fighting."
Louisville and Memphis will face each for the second time this season on Friday in the C-USA Tournament semifinals.