Monday update: Tigers/NIT, March Madness, cookies, Bar Olympics, job creation and more

Tiger basketball at FedExForum is not done yet. Last night the Memphis Tigers men’s basketball team received a bid to the National Invitation Tournament, claiming a 3 seed. Memphis will play 6 seed San Diego Tuesday at 7 at FedExForum. The way the NIT works is, for the first three rounds the higher seed hosts the game. The semifinals and finals are played at Madison Square Garden. The NCAA likes to experiment with rule changes in the NIT and you can read the list of changes here.

The NIT is never a goal of college basketball teams, but the invitation shows how much Penny’s Tigers have improved over Tubby’s Tigers a year ago. Remember, Calipari started off taking Memphis to the NIT (and those wins didn’t get vacated). This Tiger team was expected to be a bottom-feeder in the AAC – I believe ninth place was the preseason prediction. So the team overperformed with a fifth-place regular season finish and an NIT bid. At least this’ll shut up the boo-birds, the Negative Nancys who say Penny can’t coach. I’m so sick of hearing from them.

If you want to learn about Memphis’ opponent, here’s a link to the Wikipedia entry for the San Diego Toreros men’s basketball program. We don’t hear much about San Diego because they’re in the Gonzaga and Some Other Teams Conference, also known as the WCC.

I got a treat yesterday in the form of the SEC tournament final. Early on, I was watching the game with a Tennessee Vols fan. Auburn had just gone on a run to go up by 7. “Just watch, Tennessee will come back and win,” the Vols fan told me. Didn’t happen. The Vols got blown out by Auburn, losing by 20. In my opinion, Tennessee should have been dropped to a 3 seed for such a bad loss, but the committee probably already had their minds made up before the game started.

Tennessee’s going to run into Cincinnati in the second round of the NCAA, assuming they both take care of business in the first round. I would love to see Cincy send the Vols to an early exit in the second round of the South regional. If they beat Houston, they can definitely beat Tennessee. A second-round loss after being in the top 10 most of the year would certainly fit the Tennessee tradition of always screwing up.

Over in the Midwest region, if I were John Calipari coaching 2 seed Kentucky, I would be real unhappy to see Houston as the 3 seed in my region. Houston is underseeded as the 3.

FiveThirtyEight’s March Madness predictor is online. Mouse over your favorite team to see the probabilities they will make it to each round. The probabilities will be updated as game results come in.

Memphis made the news in FiveThirtyEight’s Signficant Digits e-newsletter this morning. It said that at the Memphis airport, recyclables are simply sent to a landfill. Booooo…….

Insider has made a list of the best chocolate cookie in every state, and a Downtown restaurant made the list for Tennessee. Kooky Canuck’s skillet chocolate chip cookie a la mode was named the best.

The Hi-Tone out on Cleveland has announced The Bar Olympics for Sunday, June 23. Register your team of 6-8 people to compete in bar sports like beer pong, Wii games, flip cup, and more. It will be an afternoon of competition and drinking, and proceeds will benefit ALIVE! Rescue Memphis. ALIVE! is a foster-based rescue program whose goal is to save as many homeless animals as possible from kill shelters. Sounds like a wonderful afternoon of fun with a purpose.

Sammy Hagar’s bar and grill over at the Southland dog track/gaming complex has closed. In its place will rise the Betlucky Sportsbook Bar and Grill. Another sign that Memphis is going to see its dollars float away to Arkansas and Mississippi if the state of Tennessee does not act quickly to legalize sports betting on Beale Street.

Memphis was named the top large metro area for job creation in January, according to a Bloomberg analysis of Statistics of Labor data. The analysis was made by comparing the number of jobs created to the city’s historical 10-year employment rate.

The week-long run of Broadway hit Fiddler on the Roof begins tomorrow at the Orpheum.

The Hi-Que BBQ food truck will be at Cordelia’s Market tonight from 5 to 8.

That’s the news for this Monday! Back tomorrow with more.