Jan. 6, 2012
Tigers On TV/Radio/Web
Television: CBS Sports Network (CBSSN)/Comcast digital channel 222 (Todd Harris, play-by-play; Pete Gillen, color analyst)
Radio: WREC 600 AM (Dave Woloshin, play-by-play; Matt Dillon, color analyst; Forrest Goodman, studio host)
SETTING THE SCENE
WHAT'S UP NEXT...
Memphis (9-5, 0-0 C-USA) takes to the road to open its Conference USA schedule Saturday, Jan. 7 when it travels to Birmingham, Ala., to face longtime rival UAB (5-8, 0-0 C-USA). The game, to be televised on CBS Sports Network (CBSSN), is slated for an 8 p.m. (CT) start at Bartow Arena.
The Tigers were not ranked or listed in the Also Receiving Votes category of both national polls, which were released Jan. 2. UAB is not ranked.
Memphis enters Saturday's rivalry encounter with the Blazers after three-straight home wins over Robert Morris 64-47 Dec. 29, Charlotte 67-58 Dec. 31 and Tennessee 69-51 Jan. 4. Prior to those three victories, the Tigers had dropped three of four contests.
UAB enters Saturday's showdown having won three of its last four games. The Blazers posted wins over Jacksonville Dec. 22, George Washington Dec. 28 and Alabama A&M Dec. 31, before dropping a road game at nationally-ranked Florida Jan. 3.
Memphis returns to the Bluff City Wednesday, Jan. 11 for its C-USA home opener versus Southern Miss. Game time is 6 p.m. (CT).
UAB continues its two-game homestand Wednesday, Jan. 11 when it hosts Marshall at Bartow Arena.
WHAT THE BLAZERS DID LAST YEAR
UAB posted a 22-9 overall record and a 12-4 Conference USA mark.
The Blazers won the C-USA regular season championship outright, but lost in the C-USA Tournament quarterfinal round to East Carolina.
UAB received an NCAA Tournament bid and played in the First Four in Dayton, Ohio. The Blazers lost to Clemson 70-52 in the first round.
SCOUTING THE BLAZERS
UAB enters Saturday's contest with a 5-8 overall record.
After a 1-6 start to the 2011-12 season, the Blazers have won four of their last six.
Cameron Moore, the C-USA preseason Player of the Year, and sophomore transfer Jordan Swing pace the Blazers offense with scoring averages of 14.6 and 10.4 points, respectively.
Moore also leads UAB on the glass with an 11.2 rebounding average. Ovie Soko is second on the team in rebounding (7.6 rpg).
Quincy Taylor is tops on the team with 37 assists (2.8 apg) and 12 steals.
Robert Williams is the Blazers' top threat from the arc, hitting 46.2 percent of his three-point attempts.
UAB is shooting 41.6 percent from the floor, 30.7 percent from the arc and 68.2 percent from the charity stripe.
The Blazers are out-rebounding their foes by an average margin of +4.4 boards per game (36.4-32.0).
RIVALS TO PLAY THIRD ANNUAL BARTOW CLASSIC SATURDAY
Memphis and UAB will play the third annual Bartow Classic Saturday in Birmingham, Ala.
For the third-consecutive year, a portion of the proceeds from ticket sales will benefit the Coach Gene Bartow Fund for Cancer Research at the UAB Comprehensive Cancer Center.
The event pays tribute to the legendary former UAB coach and athletics director who was diagnosed with cancer in April of 2009 and passed away earlier this week (Jan. 3, 2012).
Bartow has strong ties with both Memphis and UAB.
From 1970-74, Bartow served as the Tigers head coach and compiled an 83-32 overall record (.722 winning percentage).
Bartow's Memphis squads posted won 18 or more games each of his four seasons in the Bluff City.
His most memorable year was the 1972-73 campaign when he guided the Tigers to a 25-6 overall record and the school's first trip to the NCAA Final Four and national championship game.
Even in recent years, Bartow remained active in the Memphis community and served as president of Hoops, LP, the company that runs the Memphis Grizzlies and FedExForum.
Bartow is considered by many as the "founding father" of UAB athletics. As the UAB Director of Athletics from 1977 until his retirement in 2000, Bartow developed an intercollegiate sports program there from its infancy into one that featured 17 sports.
He coached the Blazers hoops program for 18 seasons (1978-96), compiling a 366-203 record.
Bartow led UAB to 14 postseason appearances, 10 of which were NCAA Tournaments. He guided UAB to the 1981 NCAA Sweet 16 and the 1982 NCAA Elite Eight.
Bartow was inducted into the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame in November 2009.
He will be inducted in the Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame Class of 2012. Bartow's son, Murry, was presented with his father's induction plaque in October of 2011.
MEMPHIS IN CONFERENCE USA
The Tigers have an all-time record of 186-62 (.750 winning percentage) in C-USA play.
Memphis posted double-digit league wins in 13 of its previous 16 seasons in Conference USA, including a school-record and league-record tying 16 games in 2006-07, 2007-08 and 2008-09.
Last season, the Tigers finished fourth in the Conference USA regular season standings with a 10-6 league mark.
Memphis won its first outright C-USA regular season title in 2005-06, and followed that with outright regular season crowns in 2006-07, 2007-08 and 2008-09.
Memphis also won three National Division titles in 1997-98, 2001-02 and 2002-03, and captured two league White Division championships in 1995-96 and 1996-97.
MEMPHIS IN CONFERENCE USA OPENERS
The Tigers have a 12-4 record (.750 winning pct.) in their previous 16 C-USA openers.
Memphis has won its league opener the last seven years, including a 61-58 victory over East Carolina at FedExForum on Jan. 8, 2011.
Saturday's game is the only the fourth time in the Tigers' C-USA history that they opened league play on the road.
The previous three times Memphis' C-USA opener was on the road came in the 2004 (at Southern Miss, L), 2006 (at Houston, W) and 2010 (at Southern Miss, W) seasons.
PASTNER IN CONFERENCE USA OPENERS
Memphis head coach Josh Pastner has coached in only two C-USA openers and won both. However, both wins were close calls.
In 2010, the Tigers pulled out a 59-57 win at Southern Miss when Willie Kemp hit two free throws with :05.2 left.
In 2011, Memphis hit clutch free throws in the final three minutes and Chris Crawford stole an in-bounds pass with :02.5 left in a 61-58 win over East Carolina.
TIGERS IN C-USA ROAD OPENERS
Memphis has a 10-6 record (.625 winning pct.) in its previous 16 C-USA road openers.
The Tigers dropped their 2011 Conference USA road opener at SMU 64-58 on Jan. 12, 2011.
Prior to last year's C-USA road opener setback, Memphis had won its last six league road openers at Southern Miss 59-57 in 2009-10, at UCF 73-66 in 2008-09, at Marshall 68-45 in 2007-08, at Houston 79-69 in 2006-07, at East Carolina 77-67 in 2005-06 and at USF 73-67 in 2004-05.
PASTNER IN C-USA ROAD OPENERS
Memphis head coach Josh Pastner has a 1-1 record in C-USA road openers.
Pastner won his first C-USA road opener in 2010 with a 59-57 victory at Southern Miss. In 2011, Pastner's Tigers lost at SMU 64-58.
TIGERS LOOKING FOR 14TH DOUBLE-DIGIT WINNING SEASON IN C-USA
With the C-USA season opening Saturday, the Tigers are looking to add another double-digit winning league campaign to its history.
In 2010-11, Memphis recorded its 13th season of double-digit victories in C-USA play with a 10-6 league record. It was also the sixth-consecutive year the Tigers recorded double-digit wins in C-USA action.
Before the shift in C-USA prior to the 2005-06 campaign, the Tigers were tied for the second-most, double-digit conference win seasons with seven (at the time tied with Charlotte).
The following lists the top-five teams in C-USA history with double-digit league win seasons:
No. of C-USA Seasons With Double-Digit League Wins
1. Memphis 13
2. UAB 10
3. Cincinnati 9
4. Charlotte 7
5. Louisville 4
FINAL FOUR "FEEL" ON SATURDAY
Although it's a regular season Conference USA game Saturday, the Memphis-UAB match-up has an NCAA Final Four "feel" to it since both head coaches have participated on the "Big Dance's" largest stage.
Tigers head coach Josh Pastner was a part of two Arizona squads that advanced to the NCAA Final Four in 1997 and 2001.
Pastner was a player on the 1997 Wildcat team that won the NCAA crown. He was also a member of Lute Olson's staff at Arizona in 2001 when the Wildcats advanced to the NCAA championship game.
On the other bench, UAB head coach Mike Davis directed his former team, Indiana, to the 2002 NCAA Final Four. Davis and his Hoosiers fell to Maryland in the title game.
THERE'S A FIRST TIME FOR EVERYTHING
For the first time as conference foes, Memphis and UAB play each other in a league opener.
The closest the two rivals came to playing in a C-USA opener was the 1998-99 season when the Tigers and Blazers met in the second game of the league schedule (91-83 UAB win).
Memphis' most frequent C-USA opening opponent is Southern Miss. The Tigers and Golden Eagles have opened league action against each other in six previous years.
FIRST TIME SINCE .../FIRST TIME IN NEW C-USA
For the first time since the 2004-05 campaign, the previous year's Conference USA regular season and tournament champions meet in the season opener.
Last year, UAB won the C-USA regular season crown, while Memphis took the league's tournament title.
It is the first time that this match-up has occurred since Conference USA's realignment in the summer of 2005.
The last time it happened in C-USA history was 2004-05 when Cincinnati and DePaul met in a league season opener.
The previous season in 2003-04, the Bearcats won the tournament title, while DePaul claimed a share of the C-USA regular season crown with Cincinnati, Charlotte, Memphis and UAB.
The only other time this match-up of C-USA regular season and tournament champions meeting in a conference season opener the next year was in 1999-2000 when Cincinnati and Charlotte did so.
The Tigers and Blazers are on opposite ends of several Conference USA team statistical categories and the following shows that (conference rank follows stat):
UofM/Rank Statistic UT/Rank
77.1/2nd Score Offense 59.6/12th
69.5/11th Score Defense 61.9/5th
48.2/2nd FG Pct. 41.6/12th
38.6/2nd 3P FG Pct. 30.7/10th
14.4/5th Assists 10.5/12th
7.5/3rd Steals 3.9/12th
1.0/3rd Asst.-TO Ratio 0.6/12th
MORE ON THE TIGERS "D"
Memphis has held seven opponents to under 40 percent shooting from the field, and the Tigers are a perfect 7-0 in those games.
In those seven contests, the Tigers' foes are shooting a combined 31.7 percent from the floor (139-of-439).
Memphis is also holding opponents to 26.2 percent from the arc (33-of-126) in the seven games.