Maybe this is a mark of what John Calipari has been able to accomplish at Memphis. When his Tigers entered the 2008-09 season ranked 12th in the preseason ESPN/USA Today poll, it was widely viewed as signaling a down year. Never mind that 300 or more Division I coaches would love for their team to be as "down" as that. Still, that preseason perception was understandable. After all, how do you not take a step back when you lose Derrick Rose, Chris Douglas-Roberts and Joey Dorsey? That's your point guard, leading scorer and glass-cleaning workhorse right there. Surely the Tigers would feel the effects of all those departures, right?
Not so much. Look at Memphis now: It's 24-3 overall, riding some truly gaudy win streaks (18 wins in a row this season and 54 in a row in Conference USA spanning four seasons), and still very much in the hunt for a No. 1 seed in next month's NCAA tournament.