Penny Hardaway shakes the haters in college hoops

Memphis Tigers improving under rookie head coach

Penny Hardaway shakes the haters in college hoops
(Source: WMC Action News 5)

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - Penny Hardaway's Memphis Tigers are moving way up in the NET rankings after Sunday's blowout win over UCF.

The Tigers are now 54th in the NET rankings, which replaces the old Ratings Percentage Index, or RPI, that helps determine a team's chances of making the 68-team field for the NCAA Tournament.

It’s quite a move, considering the U of M finished in the 160's last year under former Coach Tubby Smith.

Several established coaches continue to rip the U of M for firing Tubby, a future Hall of Famer, in favor of Penny and his new style of coaching.

Hardaway, though, said it's all noise.

“I’m a basketball player,” Hardaway said. “I played for some Hall of Fame coaches. I know the game, I played the game. I didn’t go through the experiences of all the others, being an assistant for 12 years and then being handed over the keys. I came in right away. And maybe they look at that as arrogance or whatever but, I work hard and I feel like I’ve gotten rewarded for working hard. But, I do know there’s a target on my back and on this team’s back. All of this extra noise is about the whole NBA deal we’re promoting here with me, Mike and Sam. We pose a problem to a lot of teams that didn’t have a problem from this school at all over the last eight or nine years so, we’re taking the kids from coaches who’ve been able to easily get them at their school so there’s going to be a target.”

The Tigers, now 13-7, 5-2 in the American, next hit the road at the Tulsa Golden Hurricane Wednesday night.

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