MEMPHIS — It took a couple of weeks but after four straight wins on the home floor and heading to the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, Penny Hardaway and the Tigers have finally cracked the top ten, moving up to ninth this week in the polls.

The U of M moving up two spots this week thanks, in large part, to the play of star freshman Jalen Duren.  After putting up 22 points and 19 rebounds in a win over Western Kentucky, Duren named American Athletic Conference Freshman of the week Monday, averaging over 17 points, 13 rebounds and five blocks in wins over Saint Louis and the Hilltoppers.

Emoni Bates won this award last week.

But now, Duren, Bates and the Tigers get set for their biggest test of the young season, in Brooklyn against a 5-and-0 Virginia Tech team to tip off the NIT Season Tip-Off.

“Well organized.  Shooters everywhere. Bigs that know how to post.  They crash the glass really well. They’re definitely smart,” said Tigers coach Penny Hardaway. “For us, we’ve played some good teams.  Western gave us, mixing up defenses.  This team is going to be deliberate and slow and run their stuff.  It’s going to be a good test for us.”

The 9th-ranked Tigers tip off with the Hokies Wednesday night at 8:30.