The Memphis Tigers punched their ticket to the NCAA Tournament on Saturday with an 83-57 win over Marshall to lock up the Conference USA Tournament Championship. The Tigers were a lock for an at-large berth, but their performance in the conference tournament has dramatically improved their seeding this week. The Thundering Herd, on the other hand, will not be moving on and bubble teams exhaled when the Tigers took care of business playing in front of a friendly hometown crowd.
Memphis jumped on Marshall early, getting out on the break and blitzing the cinderella No. 6 seed to take an 18-point lead at halftime. They sealed it on the defensive end in the second half for the comfortable double digit win. The duo of Joe Jackson and Will Barton led Josh Pastner's attack, scoring 19 and 18 points, respectively. Jackson did his damage getting into the lane and drawing contact, drilling 10 of 11 attempts from the free-throw line. As a team, the Tigers hit an amazing 25 of 27 attempts from the charity stripe - ensuring that the Herd could not challenge in the second half. Barton grabbed 13 boards as well for the game's only double-double. Marshall had no answers on the defensive end, as the Tigers shot 59 percent from the floor to clinch the title.
The Tigers are playing some of their best basketball of the season, and Saturday's edition of SB Nation's bracketology had Memphis as a six seed. That's likely to improve with the C-USA title under their belt, but regardless, they have to feel good entering the big dance next week.