Tigers On TV/Radio/Web Television: CBS Sports Network/Comcast digital channel 222 (Dave Ryan, play-by-play; Pete Gillen, analyst)
Radio: WREC 600 AM (Dave Woloshin, play-by-play; Matt Dillon, color analyst; Forrest Goodman, studio host)
SETTING THE SCENE
Memphis (19-3, 8-0 C-USA) closes out a short two-game road trip Saturday, Feb. 9 when it travels to Hattiesburg, Miss., for a Conference USA encounter with longtime rival Southern Miss (18-5, 7-1 C-USA). The game, scheduled for a 3 p.m. (CT) start, is slated for a CBS Sports Network (Comcast digital channel 222) telecast.
The Tigers appeared in the Also Receiving Votes category of this week's national polls. Memphis is No. 30 in the Associated Press poll and No. 32 in the ESPN/USA Today coaches poll. Southern Miss was also in the coaches poll Also Receiving Votes category at No. 34.
The Tigers bounced back after their Dec. 15 setback to No. 6/6 Louisville with 13-consecutive wins over Lipscomb 62-56 Dec. 20, Oral Roberts 72-57 Dec. 28, Loyola, Md., 78-64 Dec. 30, Tennessee 85-80 Jan. 4, East Carolina 67-54 Jan. 9, UAB 69-53 Jan. 12, Rice 77-51 Jan. 16, Harvard 60-50 Jan. 19, Tulane 71-60 Jan. 22, Marshall 73-72 Jan. 26, East Carolina 75-68 Jan. 30, Tulsa 94-64 Feb. 2 and SMU 60-52 Feb. 6.
Prior to the Dec. 15 loss, Memphis had won four straight with victories over Northern Iowa 52-47 Nov. 24, UT Martin 93-65 Nov. 29, Ohio 84-58 Dec. 5 and Austin Peay 83-65 Dec. 8.
Southern Miss has won 10 of its last 11 outings, including four road victories at Rice, SMU, Tulsa and UAB.
The Golden Eagles are 8-0 at Reed Green Coliseum this year.
Southern Miss returns two starters and five letterwinners from last year's 25-9 squad. The Golden Eagles also welcome 12 newcomers to this season's squad.
WHAT'S UP NEXT
The Tigers return home to the friendly confines of FedExForum Wednesday, Feb. 13 to host UCF in a C-USA encounter at 7 p.m. (CT). The contest is slated for a CBS Sports Network (CBS SN) telecast.
The Golden Eagles continue their two-game homestand Wednesday, Feb. 13 when they host Tulane at Reed Green Coliseum. Game time is 7 p.m. (CT).
WHAT THE GOLDEN EAGLES DID A YEAR AGO
Southern Miss posted a 25-9 overall record and an 11-5 Conference USA mark.
The Golden Eagles finished second in the C-USA regular-season standings.
Southern Miss advanced to the Conference USA Tournament semifinal round, before falling to Marshall 73-62.
The Golden Eagles received an NCAA Tournament at-large bid and dropped a 70-64 second-round decision to Kansas State.
SCOUTING THE GOLDEN EAGLES
Southern Miss enters Saturday's C-USA encounter with an 18-5 overall record and a 7-1 league mark.
The Golden Eagles have won 10 of their last 11 outings, including four road wins over Rice, SMU, Tulsa and UAB. Southern Miss dropped a narrow 60-58 decision to UCF Feb. 6.
Southern Miss is a perfect 8-0 at Reed Green Coliseum this season, including a 102-46 blowout win over Marshall Jan. 23.
The tandem of Dwayne Davis (12.9 ppg) and Jerrold Brooks (10.7 ppg) paces the Golden Eagles offense.
Jonathan Mills is Southern Miss' top rebounder at 6.7 boards per game. Michael Craig is second at 5.3 rpg.
Neil Watson is the Golden Eagles' top playmaker with 111 total assists (5.0 apg; fourth in C-USA).
Southern Miss has five players that shoot 35 percent or better from the three-point line, and they are Watson (46.3 percent), Davis (42.3), Rashard McGill (39.4), Brooks (36.5) and Deon Edwin (36.4).
The Golden Eagles are shooting 48.6 percent from the floor, 39 percent from the three-point line and 69.8 percent from the charity stripe.
Southern Miss is out-rebounding its opponents by an average margin of +6.5 boards per game (35.3-28.8).
The Golden Eagles have 10 players that average double digits in minutes played.
Head coach Donnie Tyndall is in his first season at Southern Miss. He came to Hattiesburg from Morehead State, where he spent six seasons. His 2010-11 team upset Louisville in the NCAA Tournament second round.
The Tigers and Golden Eagles enter Saturday's game with Conference USA's "mid-way" first place on the line.
Memphis is atop the Conference USA standings at 8-0, with Southern Miss in second at 7-1.
With a Tigers win, Memphis would gain a two-game advantage in the league's regular-season title race. A Southern Miss victory would pull the Golden Eagles even with the Tigers. However, Southern Miss would own the tiebreaker.
DIDN'T WE DO THIS LAST YEAR?
If fans from both sides remember, Memphis and Southern Miss played for Conference USA's "mid-way" first place around this same time a year ago.
The game was played Feb. 1, 2012, in Hattiesburg, and both teams entered the contest with identical 6-1 C-USA marks.
The Golden Eagles won the hard-fought encounter 75-72 to take the C-USA "mid-way" first-place lead. However, the Tigers made up ground the final month of the season to take the league's regular-season crown.
TIGERS DON'T LIKE THE "GREEN"
As in playing at Reed Green Coliseum because, in its last 23 trips to Hattiesburg (since 1987-88), Memphis has been fortunate to come close to splitting those games (11-12 record; .478 winning percentage).
Of those 11 wins, six were by single digits, and the average margin of victory in those six Tigers' single-digit victories was 5.8 points.
To take it further, Southern Miss is the site of the most Tigers' C-USA road losses since 2000-01 (four setbacks).
"BLACK `N BLUE" CLOSE CALLS
Many call the Memphis-Southern Miss football rivalry the "Black `n Blue" series.
With the recent battles on the court, that monicker can also be applied to the basketball series between the two rivals.
In their last seven encounters, all have been decided by seven or fewer points.
The average margin of victory in those seven games was 3.4 points (Tigers 6-1 record).
Margin of Victory 3.4 Points
PASTNER VERSUS C-USA COACHING NEWBIES
It's hard to believe that anyone is any "newer" to Conference USA than Memphis head coach Josh Pastner, but the fact is Pastner is the third-longest tenured coach in the league.
This season, Pastner meets four C-USA coaching newbies in SMU's Larry Brown, Southern Miss' Donnie Tyndall, Tulsa's Danny Manning and UAB's Jarod Haase.
So far, Pastner is 3-0 against the 2012-13 C-USA coaching newbies with victories over UAB 69-53, Tulsa 94-64 and SMU 60-52.
There were no first-year head coaches at C-USA schools in 2011-12.
In 2010-11, Pastner faced five first-year C-USA head coaches -- East Carolina's Jeff Lebo (2-1), Marshall's Tom Herrion (1-1), Houston's James Dickey (1-0), Tulane's Ed Conroy (1-0) and UTEP's Tim Floyd (1-1) -- and posted a 6-3 record in those match-ups.
Overall, Pastner has a 9-3 record (.750 winning percentage) against C-USA coaching newbies.
TIGERS, GOLDEN EAGLES TO ADD TO LONGEST SERIES SATURDAY
Saturday's Memphis-Southern Miss game is the 89th meeting between the two longtime rivals, which is the longest series in Tigers hoops history.
In the 2010-11 campaign, the Memphis-Southern Miss series became the longest in Tigers history when the two programs met for the 86th time in the 2011 Conference USA Tournament.
Memphis' second-longest series is with Louisville, which stands at 87 games.
PROTECT THE BALL!
Saturday's outcome may come down to which team protects the ball better, as both Memphis and Southern Miss are among C-USA's top-three teams in forcing turnovers.
The Golden Eagles lead C-USA in forcing turnovers at 19.0 miscues per contest, while Memphis is third at 16.0.
Memphis brings a 13-game win streak into Saturday's Conference USA encounter versus Southern Miss.
The 13-game win streak is the eighth-longest in school history.
The following lists the longest win streaks in Tigers basketball history:
vs. Missouri, 102-91*
vs. Ohio State, 92-76*
at Va. Tech, 76-72
at Centenary, 70-68
at UAB, 80-74
at Louisville, 83-69
vs. Kansas, 75-68 (ot)*
at Louisville, 78-75
2003-04, 1983-83, 1975-76
*streak ended in NCAA Tournament
^Pastner was an assistant coach on Tigers staff
In 2012-13, Memphis has a 6-2 record in single-digit games and a 3-0 mark in games decided by five or fewer points.
Last season, Memphis was 6-7 in single-digit outcome games and 4-5 in games decided by five or fewer points.
Overall, Josh Pastner'steams have a 35-19 record (.648 winning percentage) in games decided by single digits.
Pastner's Close Calls Record
5 Pts or Fewer
FEBRUARY FRIENDLY FOR TIGERS
The Tigers have enjoyed tremendous success in the month of January (93-21 record; .816 winning percentage) since 1999-2000, but February hasn't been too bad either.
Since 1999-2000, Memphis has a 78-23 record (.772 winning percentage) in February.
Last year, the Tigers posted a 7-2 record in February. One of those two February losses was a 75-72 setback to Southern Miss on Feb. 1, 2012.
Memphis has won 49 of its last 57 games (.860 winning percentage) in the month of February.
TIGERS ON THE ROAD IN C-USA SINCE 2005-06
Everyone knows how tough the Tigers are at home in Conference USA play since the league realigned in 2005-06.
Memphis is 71-3 (.959 winning percentage) in C-USA games at FedExForum since 2005-06, and the record includes both regular season and tournament games.
Well, the Tigers aren't too bad in their C-USA road games over that same period of time.
Memphis has a 50-10 C-USA road record (.833 winning percentage; includes regular season and tournament games) since 2005-06.
Of the 10 league road losses since 2005-06, four were single-digit setbacks.
To take it further, the Tigers' 50 C-USA road wins since 2005-06 are more than 10 of the 11 other league schools' home wins in C-USA play, and the following shows that:
Since 2005-06 (C-USA Games Only)
Memphis - 50
UTEP - 51
Tulsa - 46
Houston - 42
Southern Miss - 41
UAB - 41
UCF - 41
Marshall - 39
Tulane - 27
SMU - 24
East Carolina - 22
Rice - 15
MORE ON TIGERS' ROAD SUCCESS
Memphis enters Saturday's game at Southern Miss with the nation's longest road win streak at nine straight.
In fact, the Tigers' last road loss came at Southern Miss on Feb. 1, 2012 (75-72 USM win).
Memphis is 5-0 in road games in 2012-13 and is college basketball's lone unbeaten team in road games to date this season.
However, this is not the first time that the Tigers were the nation's last team to remain undefeated in road games. In 2005-06, Memphis was college basketball's last unbeaten road team, going 10-0 until an early March loss at UAB.
LOOKING FOR THAT CENTURY DUNK
He's wowed Tigers fans with his high-flying acrobatics during his career.
His dunks have been in ESPN's SportsCenter Top-10 four times in 2012-13.
And he was Intersport's Dunks of the Year winner in 2011-12.
And senior D.J. Stephens is approaching another milestone for dunks. The 6-foot-5 forward currently has 96 career slams and needs four more to reach 100.
The following is a year-by-year breakdown of Stephens' dunks: