Jan. 8, 2014
|| #24/22 Memphis (10-3, 1-1) at #12/8 Louisville (13-2, 2-0)
||Thursday, January 9 - 6 p.m. CT | KFC YUM! Center | Louisville, Ky.
|| How to Follow
Tigers On TV/Radio/Web
Television: ESPN (Dan Shulman, play-by-play; Dick Vitale, analyst; Jeff Goodman, reporter)/Memphis Comcast channel 23
Radio: WREC 600 AM (Dave Woloshin, play-by-play; Matt Dillon, color analyst; Forrest Goodman, studio host)
The Last Meeting
December 15, 2012
SETTING THE SCENE
Memphis (10-3, 1-1 The American) and Louisville (13-2, 2-0 The American) take to the court Thursday, Jan. 9 to renew their longtime rivalry for the 88th time. ESPN is televising Thursday's 6 p.m. (CT) contest from the KFC Yum! Center.
The Memphis-Louisville game also can be viewed via the web at ESPN3.com/WatchESPN.
The Tigers remained in both national polls released Jan. 6. Memphis is in the No. 24 spot in the Associated Press (AP) poll and the No. 22 position in the USA Today coaches polls. Louisville is No. 12 in the AP poll and No. 8 in the coaches poll.
Memphis enters Thursday's American Athletic Conference match-up having won nine of its last 11 games. The nine victories came over Nicholls, Siena, LSU, No. 5/8 Oklahoma State, Northwestern State, UALR, Southeast Missouri, Jackson State and USF. The Tigers' two setbacks were to No. 16/17 Florida 77-75 in the 2013 Jimmy V Classic and Cincinnati 69-53.
The Tigers are 1-1 in true road games this season and 4-2 in contests played away from FedExForum.
Memphis returns three starters, but only five letterwinners from last year's squad.
Louisville is a perfect 9-0 at home this season, with all nine games won by 16 or more points.
The Cardinals return home to the KFC Yum! Center for the first time since Dec. 17.
WHAT THE CARDINALS DID A YEAR AGO
Louisville posted a 35-5 overall record and a 14-4 BIG EAST Conference mark in 2012-13.
The Cardinals tied for the BIG EAST Conference regular-season title.
Louisville won BIG EAST Conference Tournament crown.
The Cardinals were the NCAA Tournament Midwest Region No. 1 seed.
Louisville won the 2013 NCAA title with an 82-76 victory over Michigan in the championship game.
SCOUTING THE CARDINALS
Louisville enters Thursday's rivalry match-up with a 13-2 overall record and a 2-0 American Athletic Conference mark.
The Cardinals have won eight of their last nine, including their first two league games over UCF and Rutgers (both on the road).
In its last eight victories, Louisville has won by an average margin of 25.6 points.
The Cardinals were picked to win the 2013-14 American Athletic Conference title in the league's preseason coaches poll.
Russ Smith was named to the 2013-14 preseason all-conference first team, and Montrezl Harrell to the all-league second team.
Smith leads four Cardinals averaging double figures in the scoring column at 17.7 ppg.
Chris Jones (12.6 ppg), Harrell (11.8 ppg) and Wayne Blackshear (10.0 ppg) also average double digits for Louisville.
Harrell is Louisville's top rebounder at 7.9 rpg (third in The American). Stephan Van Treese is the team's second-leading rebounder at 4.9 rpg.
Smith is the squad's top playmaker with 74 total assists (4.9 apg; second in The American), while Jones is the team leader in steals (28 total/2.0 spg/third in The American).
Blackshear is the team's top three-point threat at 43.1 percent from the arc.
Louisville is shooting 47.4 percent from the field, 35.7 percent from the arc and 68 percent from the free throw line.
The Cardinals are out-rebounding their opponents by a margin of +4.8 boards per game (39.7-34.9).
Head coach Rick Pitino is in his 13th season at Louisville (323-113 record at UofL).
CHARTING NEW WATERS
For the fourth time in school history, Memphis is a charter member of a new conference. The Memphis athletics program joined the American Athletic Conference July 1, 2013.
The American Athletic Conference is the fourth-consecutive league in which Memphis has been a charter member.
Memphis was a charter member of the Metro Conference in 1975, Great Midwest Conference in 1991 and Conference USA in 1995.
MAKE IT SIX FOR THE TIGERS
While The American is the fourth for Memphis as a charter member, the new league is the sixth overall for the Tigers.
The following shows the conferences Memphis was a member of and the years in each league:
American Athletic 2013-pres.
Conference USA 1995-2013
Great Midwest 1991-95
Missouri Valley 1967-74
Mississippi Valley 1928-33
SECOND IS ACTUALLY FIRST
The numbers say the Memphis-Louisville series is the second longest in Tigers basketball history.
But for Tiger Nation, the series with the Cardinals is first in terms of importance.
As for those numbers, Memphis and Louisville meet for the 88th time Thursday.
The Tigers-Cardinals series is the second-longest in Memphis basketball history.
The longest is Memphis' series with Southern Miss, which stands at 90 games.
BACK TO NORMAL
After playing the previous two seasons as non-conference opponents, Memphis and Louisville return to action as familiar foes in conference action -- at least for one season.
Memphis and Louisville became charter members of the American Athletic Conference July 1, 2013.
Prior to the last two non-league encounters in 2011-12 and 2012-13, the Tigers and Cardinals had met 72 times as conference rivals.
The series began in 1948-49, but heated up when the two programs became conference rivals in 1967-68 as members of the Missouri Valley Conference.
The two schools were members of the Missouri Valley Conference (1968-73), Metro Conference (1976-91) and Conference USA (1996-2005).
WHEN BOTH ARE RANKED
Considering the storied histories of both programs, it's quite amazing that Memphis and Louisville have met only 12 previous times when both teams were ranked.
The 13th encounter with both the Tigers and Cardinals ranked is set for Thursday.
The last time both teams were ranked when they played was in 2003-04. Louisville won that game, a 66-60 victory at Freedom Hall Feb. 28, 2004.
Louisville leads the series 9-3 when both teams are in the national rankings.
The last nine meetings with both teams ranked all were decided by single digits.
The average margin of victory in the last nine encounters (all single-digit outcomes) was 4.4 points.
The average margin of victory in all 12 games in which both teams were ranked was 6.3 points.
The following shows the results of those ranked encounters:
Year UM Rank UL Rank Result
2013-14 24 12 --
2003-04 19 21 66-60, UL
2002-03 16 20 78-75, UL
1995-96 19 21 57-54, UM
1985-96 10 11 *88-79, UL
7 13 70-69, UL
6 17 73-71, UM
1982-83 17 3 #64-62, UL
13 9 75-66, UL
1975-76 19 8 ^79-74, UL
1971-72 11 4 %83-72, UL
20 2 80-65, UM
1955-56 15 10 85-75, UL
*Metro Tournament title game
%Missouri Valley Conference playoff game
TIGERS, CARDINALS AMONG ELITE GROUP
Memphis is among the winningest NCAA Division I programs since 2000-01 and 2005-06, but it doesn't end there.
The Tigers are a part of another elite group at the NCAA Division I level.
Memphis is one of nine programs that has won 20 or more games each of the previous 11 seasons.
Louisville is also a part of this elite group in NCAA Division I hoops.
The following lists the nine NCAA Division I programs that have 20 or more wins the each of the last 11 years (2002-03 to 2012-13):
Kansas Utah State
PASTNER VERSUS PITINO
Although this Thursday's game is the third time Josh Pastner and Rick Pitino face off as head coaches, the two were on opposing sidelines two times prior to the last two match-ups.
The most memorable of the two previous Pastner-Pitino meetings came in the 1997 NCAA Tournament championship game. Pastner was a player on the Arizona squad that defeated Pitino's Kentucky team 84-79 for the NCAA title.
The next Pastner-Pitino encounter was in the 2006-07 season. Pastner was an assistant coach at Arizona that year when the Wildcats defeated Pitino's Louisville squad 72-65 in the 2006 Jimmy V Classic in New York City.
IT'S AN NCAA RING THING
Both head coaches in Thursday's Memphis-Louisville match-up have NCAA title rings.
Memphis head coach Josh Pastner won his NCAA title as a player on the 1996-97 Arizona squad. Arizona defeated Rick Pitino's Kentucky team for the championship.
The year before (1996-97), Louisville head coach Rick Pitino led Kentucky to the NCAA championship. Pitino won his second NCAA title with the Cardinals last year.
A TRIP DOWN MEMORY LANE
Around 31 years before Memphis hired a young 32-year-old Josh Pastner to take over the Tigers hoops program in 2009, an even younger 25-year-old Rick Pitino was hired as the head coach at Boston University.
In his first four seasons at Memphis, Pastner guided the Tigers to a 106-34 record, two C-USA regular-season crowns, three C-USA Tournament titles and four-straight postseason tournaments (2011, 2012, 2013 NCAA; 2010 NIT).
In his first four years at Boston University, Pitino put together a 70-41 record and made one NIT appearance (1980).
The city of Memphis and its surrounding communities will be well represented in Thursday's contest between the Tigers and Cardinals.
The squads combine to have nine players from Memphis area on the two rosters.
Louisville has one player -- Chris Jones (Melrose HS) -- that calls the Bluff City home.
On the Tigers' side, eight players hail from the Memphis area. Chris Crawford, Markel Crawford, Trey Draper, Joe Jackson, Nick King and Jake McDowell all are from Memphis. Sophomore Anthony Cole is from Arlington and freshman Austin Nichols is from Collierville, both suburbs of Memphis.
FOLLOWING A LOSS UNDER PASTNER
The Tigers dropped their American Athletic Conference home opener Saturday to Cincinnati.
However, Memphis has proven to be quite resilient after a loss in the Josh Pastner era.
The Tigers have a 32-4 record (.889 winning percentage) after a loss under Pastner.
The last time Memphis suffered back-to-back losses under Pastner was in 2011-12.
The Tigers dropped single-digit outcome decisions to Murray State 76-72 at FedExForum Dec. 11, 2011, and Louisville 95-87 at the KFC Yum! Center Dec. 17, 2011.
MORE ON THE CINCINNATI LOSS
The Tigers' American Athletic Conference home-opening loss to Cincinnati caused the researchers go to way back in the Memphis record book.
And, while no one likes a loss, the Cincinnati setback revealed the Tigers' sustained success in the 21st century.
The double-digit home loss to Cincinnati was only Memphis' sixth since 2000-01.
The double-digit home loss to Cincinnati was the only one in league play since 1999-2000.
The Jan. 4 setback was the Tigers' first double-digit home loss since Memphis fell to No. 10 Georgetown 86-69 Dec. 23, 2010.
The loss was the first double-digit home conference loss since a 74-59 setback to Louisville Feb. 3, 2000.
To find a larger margin of defeat in a conference home game, one has to go back all the way to the 1998-99 season. In the regular-season finale, Memphis lost to No. 9 Cincinnati 89-64 at The Pyramid.
LAST TIME THAT...
Memphis fans hope they won't have to worry about this one, but again, it shows the sustained success of the Tigers program in recent seasons.
With a loss Thursday, Memphis would dip to under .500 in conference play, marking the first time that would happen since the beginning of the 2003-04 league season.
A Memphis setback Thursday would drop the Tigers to 1-2 in American Athletic Conference play.
The last time Memphis was under .500 in league play was the start of the 2003-04 Conference USA season.
That season, the Tigers lost their first two league games (0-2 start) on the road at Southern Miss and DePaul.
However, Memphis bounced back to win its next 11 conference games and eventually won a share of the 2003-04 Conference USA regular-season crown.
ALL GOOD STREAKS COME TO AN END
Memphis entered American Athletic Conference play on a 26-game conference win streak (including postseason conference tournaments).
On Dec. 31, 2013, the Tigers extended that league win streak to 27 straight with their American Athletic Conference opening 88-73 win over USF.
But, as with all streaks, Memphis' conference win streak came to an end Jan. 4, 2014, with a 69-53 loss to Cincinnati at FedExForum.
Prior to the Jan. 4 loss, the last time Memphis dropped a conference game was Feb. 18, 2012, when it fell to UTEP 60-58 at FedExForum.
The 27-game conference win streak was well short of the longest in school history.
The Tigers won 64 straight league games (regular season and tournament) from 2006-10, tying Kentucky for the NCAA record.
In that streak, Memphis won 52-consecutive, regular-season games, which is an NCAA record.
BATTLE OF RANKED (SCORING) TEAMS
Thursday's game features a battle between top-35 ranked teams -- ranked teams in terms of the nation's top scoring offenses.
In the latest NCAA rankings released Jan. 6, Memphis is No. 33 in the nation in scoring offense and Louisville is No. 16.
The Tigers are second in the American Athletic Conference with an 80.5 scoring average.
The Cardinals lead The American with an 84.9 scoring average.
DIMIN' AND SWIPIN'
Two reasons why Memphis and Louisville have two of the nation's top scoring offenses are both share the ball well and cause havoc on the defensive end that leads to points.
Memphis averages 16.5 assists and 10.2 steals per game. Louisville averages 15.2 assists and 10.0 steals per game.
The following shows where the Tigers and Cardinals rank nationally and in The American in assists and steals:
Team Stat Nat'l Rank Conf. Rank
Memphis Ast/Stl 17th/5th 1st/1st
Louisville Ast/Stl 55th/7th 3rd/2nd
SHOOTING 50 OR ABOVE
David Pellom doesn't shoot the ball much. But, when he does, it usually goes in.
And his numbers prove it.
The Tigers' 6-foot-7 graduate student is shooting a team-high 72.5 percent from the field.
In his last six games, Pellom's been even better from the field, hitting 78.8 percent of his attempts (26-of-33).
Pellom, who missed the first three games of the season due to knee surgery, has six contests in which he shot 50 percent or better from the field (minimum 4 FGA).
So, in just over half of his 10 appearances, the Wilmington, N.C., native has shot 50 percent or better from the floor.
In the Jan. 4 loss to Cincinnati, Pellom was 4-of-5 from the field for eight points. He also pulled down seven boards versus the Bearcats.
Pellom's field goal shooting performance versus Cincinnati was the 49th time in his career that he shot 50 percent or better in a game (minimum 4 FGA).
At USF Dec. 31, he was 5-of-7 from the field for 10 points and added eight rebounds and one block.
Against Jackson State Dec. 28, Pellom was a perfect one in which he was 5-of-5 from the field and 2-of-2 from the charity stripe (12 points) in Memphis' 75-61 win over Jackson State Dec. 28.
TO THREE OR NOT TO THREE
Overall, the Tigers have been subpar from the three-point arc in 2013-14, shooting 29 percent from long range.
The following breaks down the Tigers' three-point shooting in wins and losses (in addition to losses only to Oklahoma State and Cincinnati):
Wins (10-0) 51-162 31.5
Losses (0-3) 10-48 20.8
OSU/Cincy losses 4-30 13.3