Don't sleep on the Memphis Tigers

Memphis' Joe Jackson had 17 points and five assists in a narrow loss to Florida on Tuesday night. Elsa/Getty Images

NEW YORK -- No one knows the current perception of the Memphis Tigers more accurately than its homegrown, four-year guard Joe Jackson.

“People are going to sleep on us,” Jackson said. “Because of the bed we made. We made it for ourselves.”

However, this Memphis team isn’t like its predecessors in the Josh Pastner era, the ones who have failed to live up to the lofty expectations come NCAA tournament time. No one was quite certain which Tigers group would show up at Madison Square Garden on Tuesday night against Florida.

Would it be the one that was dismantled and embarrassed by Marcus Smart and Oklahoma State over in Stillwater on Nov. 19, or the one that exacted revenge over the Cowboys less than two weeks later in the Old Spice championship game?

Memphis didn’t just show against the Gators, it had an opportunity to win the game on the final possession in the world’s most famous -- and sometimes intimidating -- arena.