Memphis Basketball Notes
Go Tigers! Joey Dorsey and the<br>Tigers host Pepperdine<br>Saturday at FedExForum.
Go Tigers!
Joey Dorsey and the
Tigers host Pepperdine
Saturday at FedExForum.

Go Tigers!

Jan. 4, 2008

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The University of Memphis squad (12-0, 0-0 C-USA), ranked No. 2 in the Associated Press poll and No. 2 in ESPN/USA Today poll, continues its five-game homestand Saturday, Jan. 5 when it plays host to Pepperdine (5-9, 0-0 WCC). The game, to be televised locally by WLMT/CW30, is slated for a 12:00 p.m. (CT) start.

The Tigers are playing the fourth of five-straight home games when they meet the Waves Saturday. Memphis opened this current five-game homestand with an 85-71 victory over No. 5/4 Georgetown Dec. 22 and followed with a 76-63 win over No. 17/18 Arizona Dec. 29. In their last outing Jan. 3, the Tigers posted a 102-58 win over Siena. Prior to the Dec. 22 home game, Memphis had played away from FedExForum for 24 days. During its time on the road, Memphis defeated Southern Cal in New York City Dec. 4, Middle Tennessee at the Sommet Center in Nashville, Tenn., Dec. 15 and the Bearcats in Cincinnati Dec. 19.

The Waves are playing their first game since Dec. 21, and Saturday's game at Memphis will end a 10-game road trip. The last time Pepperdine played a home game was on Nov. 21 (a 92-81 overtime win over Long Beach State). The Waves are on a three-game skid entering Saturday's contest, dropping decisions to BYU, Arkansas-Little Rock and Manhattan. Pepperdine's last victory was an 83-65 win over Pacific on Dec. 8.

Pepperdine is playing its first game since Dec. 21, and Saturday's game at Memphis will end a 10-game road trip. The last time the Waves played a home game was on Nov. 21 (a 92-81 overtime win over Long Beach State). Pepperdine is on a three-game skid entering Saturday's contest, dropping decisions to BYU, Arkansas-Little Rock and Manhattan. The Waves' last victory was an 83-65 win over Pacific on Dec. 8.

The tandem of Tyrone Shelley (15.6 ppg) and Malcolm Thomas (15.0 ppg) leads the Pepperdine offense. Thomas also leads the Waves on the glass with a 9.2 rebounding average. Rico Tucker is tops on the team with 38 assists and 31 steals. Mychel Thompson is Pepperdine's top three-point threat at 40.9 percent from the arc.

The Waves are shooting 42.1 percent from the field, 28.8 percent from the arc and 71.3 percent from the charity stripe. Pepperdine is averaging 22.9 three-point attempts per game (320 total). Opponents are out-rebounding the Waves by an average margin of +1.5 boards per game (37.6-39.1). Pepperdine is averaging 19.1 turnovers per game, but is also forcing its foes to turn the ball over 20.4 times per contest.

WE'RE NO. 1!
Well, not in the national polls. However, Memphis is the top team in the latest Ratings Percentage Index (RPI). The Tigers RPI is No. 1 at 0.7013, followed by North Carolina at No. 2 at 0.6775.

Memphis opponents ranked in the top 100 in the current RPI are Arizona (No. 3), Tennessee (No. 6), Gonzaga (No. 28), Oklahoma (No. 32), Connecticut (No. 41), Georgetown (No. 45), Siena (No. 57), Tulane (No. 67), Southern Cal (No. 70) and Austin Peay (No. 89).

The RPI is one of the major factors in determining the NCAA Tournament teams and seeding the field each year.

When this scenario happens, it is usually Memphis head coach John Calipari who is the teacher and the coach on the other sidelines the pupil. However, the roles are reversed for Saturday's game with Pepperdine.

Five years ago, Calipari struck up a friendship with then-Fresno City College head coach Vance Walberg, and Walberg introduced his AASAA system (Attack-Attack-Skip-Attack-Attack) to the Tiger mentor. Calipari implemented some of the system in 2003-04 and 2004-05, but added more of the AASAA in 2005-06, and the rest is history.

Since 2005-06, the AASAA -- or Dribble-Drive Motion as Calipari calls it -- has helped the Tigers to 78 wins and two NCAA Elite Eight appearances.

The past six years, Memphis head coach John Calipari and his friend and Hall of Fame coach Larry Brown have held the Calipari-Brown Coaching Retreat in the Bluff City each fall. It's a weekend where professional, collegiate and high school coaches come to Memphis for the two-day clinic.

This past fall, Pepperdine head coach Vance Walberg was a featured speaker as he explained his AASAA (Attack-Attack-Skip-Attack-Attack) system. Over 300 coaches attended the retreat.

The Tigers have an all-time record of 10-7 (.588 winning percentage) versus West Coast Conference (WCC) schools. Memphis has played Gonzaga (2-1), Pepperdine (5-1), Portland (0-3), San Francisco (2-0), St. Mary's (1-0) and Santa Clara (0-2). The Tigers have never met Loyola-Marymount and San Diego.

The last time Memphis played a West Coast Conference school was Gonzaga last year. The Tigers posted a thrilling 78-77 overtime victory over the Bulldogs in Spokane.

Memphis head coach John Calipari has a perfect 4-0 record versus members of the West Coast Conference (WCC). Calipari has coached against Gonzaga (2-0), Saint Mary's (1-0) and Santa Clara (1-0).

Calipari is 3-0 versus WCC foes during his time at Memphis. The last time Calipari coached against a WCC opponent was last year when the Tigers won a thrilling 78-77 overtime game over Gonzaga in Spokane.

Saturday's hoops contest could turn into a track meet as both Memphis and Pepperdine like to run and put points on the scoreboard. Both squads average nearly 80 points per game, with the Tigers at 81.9 ppg and the Waves at 78.6 ppg.

For the Tigers, their advantage will come on the glass and field goal percentage. Memphis is out-rebounding its opponents by an average margin of +6.4 boards per game (41.2-34.8), while foes are out-rebounding the Waves by an average margin of +1.5 boards per contest (37.6-39.1).

In the area of field goal percentage, Memphis is shooting 47.7 percent, and Pepperdine's foes have shot the ball well against the Waves, hitting 48.4 percent. Pepperdine is also allowing opponents to shoot 42.4 percent from the arc.

Defensively, both Memphis and Pepperdine get after their opponents and it shows in the turnovers forced and steals. The Tigers and Waves both are forcing their foes into over 18 turnovers per contest (Memphis, 18.2; Pepperdine, 20.4). Some of those turnovers come in the form of steals. Memphis averages 8.8 swipes per game, and Pepperdine averages 10.3 steals per contest.

Don't look now, but the Tigers have put together another homecourt winning streak. Memphis finished the 2006-07 campaign with a 32-game homecourt winning streak, and the Tigers added to that total with seven wins in 2007-08 to extend the nation's longest homecourt win streak to 39. Memphis is tied with BYU for the nation's longest homecourt win streak.

Memphis' current 39-game homecourt win streak is tied for the longest in the nation, and it is also tied for the longest in Tiger basketball history since the 1970-71 season. The current streak is tied with the 39 straight that spanned from the end of the 1983-84 season through the 1986-87 campaign.

The previous long home win streak in the John Calipari era was 24 straight that stretched from the middle of the 2002-03 season through the start of the 2004-05 year.

When teams are ranked in the top five, they become huge targets for all opponents they play. That has been true for John Calipari-coached teams at both UMass and Memphis.

But, while some top-ranked teams fall easily, Calipari squads have done quite well, and in turn, have had staying power near the top of the polls. Calipari's UMass and Memphis teams have an impressive combined record of 77-7 when ranked in the top four of the national polls (.917 winning percentage).

At Memphis, Calipari's teams are 32-3 (.914 winning percentage) when ranked in the top four. During his time at UMass, the Minutemen went 45-4 (.918 winning percentage) when ranked in the top four.

Memphis jumped up to the No. 2 spot in both national polls on Dec. 3 and have stayed there the past five weeks. The last time the Tigers earned a No. 2 ranking was 22 years ago in the 1985-86 campaign. Memphis was ranked No. 2 for one week in early February 1986.

The Tigers also held the No. 2 ranking in the 1982-83 season for two weeks, before claiming the school's first and only No. 1 national ranking in mid-January 1983. Memphis held that No. 1 spot for one week.

The Tigers are off to a 12-0 start this year, and it's been awhile since Memphis began a campaign with 12-straight wins. The last time the Tigers started off 12-0 was the 1985-86 season. That squad began the year with a 20-0 record, the best-ever start in Tiger basketball history. Memphis went 20-0 before losing at Virginia Tech on Feb. 1, 1986.

Well, it took a little longer than expected in the Dec. 29 Arizona game, but Chris Douglas-Roberts reached the 1,000-point milestone for his career. He entered the contest needing only five points to reach the goal, and with 2:07 in the first half, the 6-foot-7 guard scored his 1,000th point on an emphatic dunk off an assist from Derrick Rose.

He now has 1,031 career points and is the 43rd player in Tiger history to accomplish the feat. The Detroit, Mich., is in the No. 38 spot on the Tiger career scoring chart.

Robert Dozier missed the two late November games versus Arkansas State and Austin Peay with a foot injury, but since his return, the 6-foot-9 forward may be playing the best basketball of his career.

In the six games back, Dozier is averaging 13.7 points and 6.7 rebounds while shooting 40.5 percent from the field and 66.7 percent from the foul line. The Lithonia, Ga., native is also averaging 31 minutes in those six games.

For more notes on Saturday's game, click the pdf link at top of the page.



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