Jan. 15, 2014
|| #17/17 Memphis (12-3, 3-1) vs #RV/RV Connecticut (13-3, 1-2)
||Thursday, January 16 - 6 p.m. CT | FedExForum
|| How to Follow
Tigers On TV/Radio/Web
Television: ESPN (Dave O'Brien, play-by-play; Jay Bilas, analyst)/Memphis Comcast channel 23
Radio: WREC 600 AM (Dave Woloshin, play-by-play; Matt Dillon, color analyst; Forrest Goodman, studio host)
Web: WatchESPN (ESPN3.com)
The Last Meeting
|Connecticut (2K College Hoops Classic)||70
November 16, 2007
Madison Square Garden
SETTING THE SCENE
Memphis (12-3, 3-1 The American) returns home to FedExForum to open a four-game homestand Jan. 16 against Connecticut (13-3, 1-2 The American). ESPN is televising Thursday's 6 p.m. (CT) contest.
The Memphis-Connecticut game also can be viewed via the web at ESPN3.com/WatchESPN.
Following Thursday's contest, the Tigers' homestand continues with LeMoyne-Owen College Jan. 18, Houston Jan. 23 and USF Jan. 26.
The Tigers remained in both national polls released Jan. 13. Memphis moved up to the No. 17 spot in the Associated Press (AP) and USA Today coaches polls. Connecticut appears in the Also Receiving Votes category of both polls (No. 29 AP; No. 34 coaches).
Memphis enters Thursday's American Athletic Conference match-up having won 11 of its last 13 games. The 11 victories came over Nicholls, Siena, LSU, No. 5/8 Oklahoma State, Northwestern State, UALR, Southeast Missouri, Jackson State, USF, No. 8/12 Louisville and Temple. 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 6-1 at FedExForum this season, with the loss loss to conference foe Cincinnati.
Memphis returns three starters, but only five letterwinners from last year's squad.
The Huskies are 1-2 in true road games this season, with both losses coming in the conference at Houston and SMU.
Connecticut is 4-2 in games played away from Storrs and Hartford. The Huskies defeated Maryland, Boston College and Indiana on neutral courts.
WHAT THE HUSKIES DID A YEAR AGO
Connecticut posted a 20-10 overall record and a 10-8 BIG EAST Conference mark in 2012-13.
The Huskies tied for seventh place in the BIG EAST Conference regular-season standings.
Connecticut was ineligible for 2013 postseason play.
SCOUTING THE HUSKIES
Connecticut enters Thurday's American Athletic Conference contest with a 13-3 overall record and a 1-2 league mark.
The Huskies have won four of their last six, including wins over Harvard and UCF in their last two outings.
All three Connecticut setbacks have been by single digits.
The Huskies opened the 2013-14 season with nine-consecutive victories.
Connecticut was picked to finish second in the preseason conference coaches poll.
Shabazz Napier was a unanimous pick to the 2013-14 preseason All-American Athletic Conference first team. Ryan Boatright was named to the preseason all-league second team.
Napier leads three Huskies averaging double figures at 16.0 ppg (eighth in The American).
DeAndre Daniels and Boatright are Connecticut's other two double-figure scorers, with each averaging 12.8 points.
Napier is the squad's top rebounder (6.4 rpg; 11th in The American) and top playmaker (6.0 apg; first in The American).
Napier also leads the Huskies and is second in The American in steals (2.1 spg; 34 total).
Four Huskies -- Niels Giffey (57.9 percent), Napier (47.3), Daniels (44.9) and Boatright (41.9) -- shoot over 40 percent from the three-point arc.
Connecticut is shooting 46.1 percent from the field, 41.4 percent from the arc and 76.4 percent from the free throw line. UConn is ninth in the nation in both three-point field goal and free throw percentage.
The Huskies are out-rebounding their opponents by a narrow margin of +0.7 boards per game (35.9-35.2).
Head coach Kevin Ollie is in his second season at Connecticut. He has a 33-13 record at the school.
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.
A FIRST FOR THE HUSKIES...
For the first time in its history, Connecticut is playing a game in the Memphis city limits Thursday when the Huskies visit FedExForum.
The Tigers and Huskies met one previous time in 2007-08, but it was on a neutral court (Madison Square Garden, New York, N.Y.).
...BUT NOT THE FIRST TRIP TO TENNESSEE
While it's their first trip to Memphis, it's not the Huskies first to the state of Tennessee.
In fact, Connecticut made a recent trip to Tennessee to play on the other side of the state.
In the 2011-12 season, the Huskies played the Volunteers in Knoxville, Tenn., and dropped a 60-57 decision (Jan. 21, 2012).
Connecticut also traveled to Nashville, Tenn., to play Vanderbilt in 2002-03. The Huskies posted a 76-70 win over the Commodores Dec. 1, 2002.
THERE'S A FIRST TIME FOR EVERYTHING
For the first time in Memphis basketball history, the Tigers face Connecticut as a conference foe.
Memphis and UConn both joined the American Athletic Conference as charter members July 1, 2013.
Connecticut is the second of three programs the Tigers will face as conference opponents for the first time in 2013-14.
Memphis' other two first-time conference foes in 2013-14 are Rutgers and Temple.
TIGERS VERSUS CONNECTICUT SCHOOLS
In their history, the Tigers have played four of the seven NCAA Division I schools from the state of Connecticut.
Memphis has a 3-1 record (.750 winning percentage) against NCAA Division I programs located in the state of Connecticut.
The Tigers have played Central Connecticut (0-1), Connecticut (1-0), Fairfield (1-0) and Yale (1-0). Memphis has not played Hartford, Quinnipiac and Sacred Heart.
Connecticut is the second of four teams that will make their first trips to FedExForum this season.
Memphis already posted a 98-59 win over Nicholls -- FedExForum's first newbie in 2013-14 -- Nov. 23.
The other two FedExForum newbies are league foes Rutgers Feb. 4 and Temple Feb. 22.
In 2012-13, Memphis welcomed five newbies -- North Florida, Samford, Ohio, Oral Roberts, Loyola, Md., and Harvard -- to FedExForum and won all of those contests.
Under head coach Josh Pastner, Memphis has a 22-1 record (.957 winning percentage) against FedExForum newbies (2009-present).
In the Pastner era, the Tigers won their first 14 contests against opponents making their first trips to FedExForum. Murray State ended the streak with a narrow 76-72 win Dec. 11, 2011.
IT'S AN NCAA RING THING
Both head coaches in Thursday's Memphis-Connecticut 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 Kentucky for the championship.
Connecticut head coach Kevin Ollie won his NCAA championship ring in 2010-11 as an assistant on Jim Calhoun's staff. The Huskies defeated Butler 53-41 for the crown.
BATTLE OF SHOOTING WILLS
Thursday's contest may come down to which team wins the shooting battles.
The two battles are field goal percentage and three-point field goal percentage.
In the field goal percentage match-up, the Tigers are second in the American Athletic Conference at 47.3 percent. However, Connecticut is the league's third-best field goal percentage defense squad, holding its opponents to 38.5 percent.
From the arc, the Huskies lead The American and are ninth in the nation with a 41.4 three-point field goal percentage. But, Memphis has the conference's fourth-best, three-point field goal percentage defense at 32 percent.
IF THERE IS AN ADVANTAGE...
For the Tigers, it may come on the glass. Memphis is fourth in rebound margin in the American Athletic Conference (+3.8). Connecticut is eighth in the league in rebound margin (+0.7).
For the Huskies, their advantage comes at the free throw line. Connecticut leads The American and is ninth in the nation in free throw percentage (76.4). On the other side, Memphis is eighth in the league in free throw percentage (65.6).
With its Jan. 9 victory at Louisville, Memphis basketball hit a milestone with the program's 1,500th win.
The Tigers' all-time record now stands at 1,501-846-1 after their Jan. 11 win at Temple.
Memphis is the fifth American Athletic Conference school to reach the 1,500-win plateau (Temple, Louisville, Cincinnati, Connecticut).
Memphis enters Thursday's American Athletic Conference match-up against Connecticut with a 3-1 record in single-digit outcome games in 2013-14.
On the other side, the Huskies have played eight single-digit outcome games in 2013-14 (5-3 record). Three of UConn's last four games have been decided by single digits.
Under head coach Josh Pastner, Memphis has been rather successful in single-digit outcome games.
Overall, Pastner's teams have a 42-21 record (.667 winning percentage) in games decided by single digits. His squads are 27-13 (.675 winning percentage) in games decided by five or fewer points.
The following charts Memphis' success in "close-call" games in the Pastner era:
Year 5 or Fewer Single-Digits 2013-14 1-1 3-1 2012-13 5-1 10-3 2011-12 4-5 6-7 2010-11 13-2 16-3 2009-10 4-4 7-7 Total 27-13 42-21 Pct. .675 .667
MEMPHIS VERSUS THE AMERICAN
Although Thursday's game is only Memphis' fifth in the American Athletic Conference, the Tigers have faced eight of the other nine league schools as non-conference foes or previous conference members.
The Tigers have a 144-114 all-time record (.558 winning percentage; includes this season's first four league results) against members of The American.
Memphis has played Cincinnati (31-37), Connecticut (1-0), Houston (27-12), Louisville (35-53), SMU (11-3), Temple (6-5), UCF (14-1) and USF (19-3).
The only American Athletic Conference foe Memphis has not faced in its history is Rutgers.
TIGERS SUCCESS AT FEDEXFORUM
The Tigers have a 168-19 overall record (.898 winning percentage) at FedExForum since moving to the arena for the 2004-05 campaign.
Since the 2005 Conference USA Tournament, Memphis has won 158 of its last 171 home games (.924 winning percentage).
MEMPHIS' 10TH SEASON AT FEDEXFORUM
The 2013-14 season is the 10th for the Tigers at FedExForum.
Memphis is playing on a redesigned floor in its 10th season at FedExForum. The floor has a larger leaping Tiger M logo along with the city of Memphis skyline and bridge.
Memphis opened play at its current homecourt in the 2004-05 campaign.
The Tigers have a 168-19 record (.898 winning percentage) at FedExForum.
BEST HOMECOURT ADVANTAGE
Since 2004-05, Memphis has won 168 games at FedExForum, the most home wins in the country over that span of time.
The following are the top-five programs with the most home wins since 2004-05 (credit to former Athletics Communications Assistant Bryan McEldowney for compiling this list):
Most Home Wins Since 2004-05 (as of Jan. 15, 2014) 1. Memphis 168 2. Ohio State 164 3. Syracuse 160 4. Louisville 156 Kansas 156 Pittsburgh 156