Tigers On TV/Radio/Web Television: CBS Sports Network/Comcast digital channel 222 (Dave Ryan, play-by-play; Pete Gillen, analyst; Gary Parrish, sideline reporter)
Radio: WREC 600 AM (Dave Woloshin, play-by-play; Matt Dillon, color analyst; Forrest Goodman, studio host)
SETTING THE SCENE
Memphis (20-3, 9-0 C-USA) returns home to FedExForum Wednesday, Feb. 13 for a Conference USA showdown with UCF (17-6, 7-2 C-USA). The game, scheduled for a 7 p.m. (CT) start, is slated for a CBS Sports Network (Comcast digital channel 222) telecast.
The Tigers made a return to the national polls this week. Memphis jumped to the No. 22 spot in the Associated Press poll and is No. 25 in the ESPN/USA Today coaches poll.
The Tigers bounced back after their Dec. 15 setback to No. 6/6 Louisville with 14-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, SMU 60-52 Feb. 6 and Southern Miss 89-76 Feb. 9.
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.
UCF has won six of its last seven games, including road contests at Houston and Tulane.
The Knights are 4-3 in road games this season, with two of the three setbacks being narrow losses in C-USA play at East Carolina 88-85 in overtime Jan. 12 and 75-71 at Marshall Feb. 2.
UCF returns four starters and seven letterwinners from last year's 22-11 squad.
WHAT'S UP NEXT
The Tigers take to the road Saturday, Feb. 16 when they travel to Huntington, W.Va., for a Conference USA clash with Marshall. The contest, set for a 7 p.m. (CT) start, is slated for a CBS Sports Network (CBS SN) telecast.
The Knights continue their two-game road swing at UTEP Saturday, Feb. 16. The game is scheduled for an 8 p.m. (CT) tip.
WHAT THE KNIGHTS DID A YEAR AGO
UCF posted a 22-11 overall record and a 10-6 Conference USA mark.
The Knights finished in a third-place tie in the C-USA regular-season standings. UCF earned the C-USA Tournament's No. 4 seed.
UCF advanced to the Conference USA Tournament semifinal round, before falling to top-seed Memphis 83-52.
The Knights received a National Invitation Tournament (NIT) bid and dropped an 81-56 first-round decision to Drexel.
SCOUTING THE KNIGHTS
UCF brings a 17-6 overall record and a 7-2 league mark into Wednesday's Conference USA match-up.
The Knights have won six of their last seven contests.
UCF is 4-3 on the road this year, including a 2-2 road record in C-USA play.
Four of the Knights' five starters average double figures, and they are Keith Clanton (16.0 ppg), Isaiah Sykes (15.7 ppg), Calvin Newell (11.6 ppg) and Tristan Spurlock (11.0 ppg).
Keith Clanton, the 2012-13 preseason C-USA Player of the Year, is UCF's top rebounder at 9.2 boards per game (third in C-USA). Sykes is second at 7.1 rpg.
Sykes, who is the only player in the nation with two or more triple-doubles this season, leads the Knights with 107 total assists (4.7 apg; fifth in C-USA).
Kasey Wilson (50 percent), Matt Williams (41.7) and Sykes (37.5) all shoot over 37 percent from the three-point line.
UCF is shooting 47.2 percent from the floor, 36.8 percent from the three-point line and 64.7 percent from the charity stripe.
The Knights are out-rebounding their opponents by an average margin of +3.7 boards per game (36.9-33.2).
Four UCF starters -- Clanton (35.7), Sykes (34.6), Spurlock (33.1) and Newell (32.1) -- average over 30 minutes played per game.
That's what the Tigers hope to do Wednesday in their match-up with UCF.
A Memphis win would give the Tigers a three-game lead in the race for the C-USA regular season crown.
A Knights' victory would pull them to within one game of the Tigers in the league's regular-season title run.
COULD GET OFFENSIVE WEDNESDAY
Wednesday's contest could get offensive -- as in scoring points.
Memphis and UCF both rank in the top-half of Conference USA in four offensive categories:
3P FG Pct.
BOARDIN' AND BLOCKIN'
Wednesday's C-USA match-up could be won above the rim in terms of rebounding the ball and blocking shots.
Memphis and UCF both rank in the top-four of Conference USA in rebound margin and blocked shots:
MATCH-UPS ABOUND WEDNESDAY
Wednesday's Memphis-UCF encounter features individual match-ups ranked in the top-six of five statistical categories:
AND THEN THERE WERE TWO
When Josh Pastner hit the 20-win plateau in 2011-12, he became the fourth head coach in Tigers hoops history to post 20-win campaigns in each of his first three years at the helm, joining Wayne Yates (1975-77), Larry Finch (1987-89) and John Calipari (2001-03) in that group.
Well, that list is now trimmed to only two head coaches to have 20-win seasons in each of his first four years, and Pastner became one of those two after the Tigers' 89-76 victory at Southern Miss Feb. 9.
Pastner and Calipari are the only two head coaches in Memphis basketball history to record 20 wins in each of his first four seasons, and the following shows that:
Head Coach/1st 4 Years
ANOTHER 20 IN THE BOOKS
With its 89-76 victory over Southern Miss Feb. 9, Memphis recorded another 20-win season. The Tigers current overall record is 20-3.
This year's 20-win season is the Tigers' school-record, 13th-consecutive 20-win campaign.
The following shows the top-five longest streaks of 20-win seasons in Tigers history:
Consec. 20-Win Seasons
4 Different Spans
MOST WINS FIRST FOUR YEARS
Of course, head coach Josh Pastner will pass on credit to the current players, former players, current assistant coaches, former head coaches and, yes, even Tiger Nation.
But, the fact is Pastner is the winningest head coach in Tigers hoops history for the first four years.
After the 2011-12 campaign, Pastner had 75 wins, the most victories by a Tigers head coach in his first three years.
The following shows the head coaches' win totals for their first four seasons since 1949:
TIGERS LOOKING FOR 15TH DOUBLE-DIGIT WINNING SEASON IN C-USA
With their next league win, the Tigers will post their 15th double-digit winning season in Conference USA. It will also be Memphis' eighth-consecutive season in which it had double-figure victories in C-USA action.
In 2011-12, Memphis recorded its 14th season of double-digit victories in C-USA play with a 13-3 league record.
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
TIGERS TOUGH AT HOME IN C-USA
Since moving to FedExForum in 2004-05, Memphis has turned its homecourt into one of toughest arenas for opponents to play, and that is seen in the Tigers' 158-18 overall record.
But, it is even tougher for Conference USA foes since conference realignment in 2005-06.
Memphis has an incredible 71-3 record (.959 winning percentage) at FedExForum versus C-USA opponents (regular season and conference tournament) since 2005-06.
The following shows the nation's top-10 conference homecourt records since 2005-06 (regular season and conference tournament; credit to Bryan McEldowney for compiling this list and Travis Chell for its updates this season):
Best Homecourt Records in Conference Play Only (Reg. Season & Tourney) Since 2005-06
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 five 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 98 career slams and needs two more to reach 100.
The following is a year-by-year breakdown of Stephens' dunks:
IT'S A BLOCK PARTY
After leading C-USA in blocks a year ago (5.6 bpg), Memphis began 2012-13 averaging only 3.9 blocks in the first seven games (27 total blocks).
Well, the Tigers have picked up their intensity on the defensive end in the last 16 games with 126 total blocks (7.9 bpg).
In each of the last 16 games, Memphis had no fewer than four blocks.