Feb. 17, 2009
Complete Release in PDF Format
TIGERS TO HOST SMU IN CONFERENCE USA MATCH-UP WEDNESDAY
The University of Memphis squad (22-3, 10-0 C-USA), ranked No. 5 in the Associated Press poll and No. 6 in ESPN/USA Today poll, returns to the friendly confines of FedExForum on Wednesday, Feb. 18 when it hosts SMU (7-16, 1-9 C-USA). The Conference USA contest, to be televised by CBS College Sports, is scheduled for a 7 p.m. (CT) start.
The two teams met just two weeks ago (Feb. 4) in Dallas, and the Tigers posted a hard-fought 79-66 victory over the Mustangs.
Memphis enters Wednesday's encounter on a 16-game win streak, which is currently the longest in the nation. The win streak began on Dec. 22 with an 87-49 victory over Drexel. The streak also includes wins over Cincinnati 60-45, Northeastern 80-48, Lamar 108-75, Marshall 80-57, UCF 73-66, Tulsa 55-54, UAB 81-68, Rice 80-52, Tennessee 54-52, East Carolina 85-64, Houston 83-68, SMU 79-66, No. 18/18 Gonzaga 68-50, Tulsa 63-37 and Southern Miss 72-47.
SMU comes into Wednesday's C-USA game having dropped seven of its last eight decisions. Of the seven losses in that stretch, four were by single digits (53-50 to Marshall; 80-74 to East Carolina; 64-55 to Tulsa; 78-75 to UAB). The Mustangs' lone victory in that span of games was a 73-56 win over Cal State-Bakersfield on Feb. 7. SMU's only league win was a 60-51 victory over Tulane on Jan. 17.
SCOUTING THE MUSTANGS
SMU brings a 7-16 overall record and a 1-9 Conference USA mark into Wednesday's game. The Mustangs have dropped seven of its last eight decisions, but four of the seven losses were by single digits (53-50 to Marshall; 80-74 to East Carolina; 64-55 to Tulsa; 78-75 to UAB). SMU's lone victory in that span of games was a 73-56 win over Cal State-Bakersfield on Feb. 7. The Mustangs' only league win was a 60-51 victory over Tulane on Jan. 17.
The tandem of Paul McCoy and Derek Williams paces the SMU offense. McCoy leads the squad with a 13.8 scoring average, while Derek Williams is second at 12.0 ppg. Bamba Fall is tops on the team with a 7.1 rebounding average (seventh in C-USA), and Mouhammad Faye is second at 5.1 rpg. Williams leads SMU with 79 assists (3.4 apg), while Fall averages a team-best 2.5 blocks per game (first in C-USA). The Mustangs have four players shooting over 35 percent from the arc in McCoy (38.9 percent), Faye (37.9 percent), Robert Nyakundi (36.2 percent) and Mike Walker (35.5 percent).
SMU is shooting 43.9 percent from the floor, 35.6 percent from the arc and 63.4 percent from the charity stripe. The Mustangs are out-rebounding their opponents by an average margin of +1.8 boards per game (35.2-33.4).
TIGERS MAKE JUMP TO TOP FIVE IN AP POLL
For the first time in the 2008-09 campaign, Memphis finds itself ranked in the top five of the Associated Press (AP) poll. The Tigers moved into the No. 5 spot in the Feb. 16 AP poll.
In the ESPN/USA Today coaches poll, Memphis is one spot behind its AP ranking at No. 6.
TIGERS TIE SCHOOL RECORD
When Memphis jumped into the No. 5 position in this week's Associated Press (AP) poll, it marked the fourth-consecutive year the Tigers climbed into the nation's top five. Memphis also reached the top five in the AP poll in the 2005-06, 2006-07 and 2007-08 campaigns.
The only other time Memphis reached the top five in the AP poll four-straight years was from 1983-86. The following compares the two, four-year stretches of top-five AP poll rankings:
Season Highest Rk Season Highest Rk
2008-09 5 1985-86 2
2007-08# 1* 1984-85# 3
2006-07 5 1983-84 4
2005-06 3 1982-83 1^
* remained No. 1 for five weeks (school record)
^ remained No. 1 for one week
# teams reached the NCAA Final Four
CALIPARI'S TEAMS TOUGH AT THE TOP
When teams are ranked in the top five, they become huge targets for all opponents they play. That has been true for John Calipari-coached teams at both UMass and Memphis.
But, while some top-ranked teams fall easily, Calipari squads have done quite well, and in turn, have had staying power near the top of the polls. Calipari's UMass and Memphis teams have an impressive combined record of 125-12 when ranked in the top five of the national polls (.912 winning percentage).
At Memphis, Calipari's teams are 70-6 (.921 winning percentage) when ranked in the top five. During his time at UMass, the Minutemen went 55-6 (.902 winning percentage) when ranked in the top five. The following shows Calipari's record when ranked at or near the top:
No. 1 9-1 31-4
No. 2 23-1 6-0
No. 3 14-1 4-0
No. 4 12-2 4-0
No. 5 12-1 10-2
Totals 70-6 55-6
2008-09 TIGER SENIORS GO FOR SCHOOL'S WINS RECORD WEDNESDAY
The Tigers set the NCAA record for wins in a three-year period (2005-06 through 2007-08) with 104 victories, and as a result of that success, it put the 2008-09 Memphis seniors in a position to set the school's all-time wins record. Now, the Tiger senior trio of Antonio Anderson, Robert Dozier and Chance McGrady can set the school record for most wins by a four-year class with a win over SMU Wednesday.
With its 22 victories so far in 2008-09, the senior class has 126 career wins, which tied the school record set by the 2007-08 class (Joey Dorsey).
The following shows the winningest four-year classes in Tiger history:
2005-06 to present 126
2004-05 to 2007-08 126
1983-84 to 1986-87 111
2002-03; 2004-05 to 2006-07 111
1982-83 to 1985-86 108
1984-85 to 1987-88 105
1981-82 to 1984-85 104
2008-09 TIGER SENIORS ALSO CLIMBING NCAA WINS LIST
While the 2008-09 Tiger senior class (Antonio Anderson, Robert Dozier, Chance McGrady) is going for the school's wins record, it is also making its mark on the NCAA Division I chart for most victories in a four-year span. The record is 133 wins by Duke from 1998-2001.
The 2008-09 and 2007-08 Tiger senior classes are tied for the 10th spot on that NCAA Division I wins list with 126 victories. The following is the top-10 list of the most wins in a four-year span in NCAA Division I history:
Team Year Wins
1. Duke 1998-2001 133
2. Duke 1999-2002 132
t. Kentucky 1995-98 132
t. Kentucky 1996-99 132
5. Kentucky 1946-49 130
6. UNLV 1987-90 129
7. Kentucky 1947-50 127
t. UNLV 1984-87 127
t. UNLV 1986-89 127
10. Memphis 2006-present 126
t. Memphis 2005-08 126
2 other teams tied 126
HIDE YOUR EYES
When both squads head to the charity stripe in Wednesday's game, fans may not want to watch, as Memphis and SMU are two of Conference USA's worst free throw shooting percentage teams. The Tigers are 10th in C-USA with a 67.5 free throw shooting percentage, while the Mustangs are 12th in C-USA at 63.4 percent.
PLAYING INTO THE TIGERS' HANDS?
The Memphis defense sure hopes so. After playing against Conference USA's least turnover-proned team in Southern Miss Feb. 14 (9.9 to/game), the Tigers meet SMU Wednesday. The Mustangs lead the league in turnovers per game at 15.2, while Memphis is tops in Conference USA in turnovers forced per game at 16.8.
IT'S A BLOCK PARTY
For those fans sitting close to the court, be aware of balls flying into the stands as Wednesday's game features three of Conference USA's top five shot blockers. SMU's Bamba Fall leads the league in blocked shots per game at 2.48 (57 total). For the Tigers, Shawn Taggart is ranked fourth in C-USA in blocked shots (1.68 bpg/42 total) and Robert Dozier is fifth (1.64 bpg/41 total).
THE KANSAS CONNECTION
Wednesday's game features two head coaches that also served on basketball staffs at the University of Kansas. Memphis head coach John Calipari was an assistant on both Ted Owens' and Larry Brown's staffs at Kansas from 1982-85. The Jayhawks posted a 61-34 record in his three years in Lawrence.
SMU head coach Matt Doherty served on Roy Williams' staff as an assistant from 1992-99. Kansas was 202-35 in those seven seasons and advanced to one NCAA Final Four in 1993. Memphis assistant John Robic also has Kansas ties as he served on Brown's staff for two years from 1986-88. The Jayhawks posted a 52-22 record in those two years and the 1987-88 squad won the NCAA title.
WHICH DEFENSE IS BETTER?
It's something fans everywhere do -- compare teams from year to year. And it's no different for Tiger Nation, especially when asked about the defense of the 2007-08 and 2008-09 squads. Well, here's the comparison:
2007-08 Stat 2008-09
(Through 25 Games)
12 Opponents Held Under 60 Pts 12
60.8 Scoring Defense 59.4
37.3 FG Pct. Defense 37.6
29.9 3-pt. FG Defense 30.8
+8.0 Rebound Margin +5.0
6.5 Blocks/Game 6.3
8.5 Steals/Game 9.4
WE'RE TALKING DEFENSE
The Tigers have been tough on the defensive end of the floor since Dec. 22 which has fueled their 16-game win streak. But, Memphis turned up its defensive intensity a notch in the last three games, and the following details that:
Opp FG Pct. 3P Pct. Reb Blk Stl
USM 37.5 16.7 +9 4 4
Tulsa 35.9 22.2 -3 6 16
Gonzaga 36.7 26.7 +14 5 7
Pct./Avg. 36.8 23.3 +6.7 5.0 9.0
* also TO margin +6.7 (10.3-17.0)
Don't look now, but Memphis has quietly put together a 16-game win streak. The streak is the longest in the nation, and the following shows the top-five current win streaks in NCAA Division I:
Top-Five NCAA Division I Win Streaks
(Through Feb. 17)
Team Streak Next Game
1. Memphis 16 SMU/Feb. 18
2. Oklahoma 13 Texas/Feb. 21
3. Tenn.-Martin 10 E. Illinois/Feb. 18
Troy 10 FIU/Feb. 19
5. The Citadel 9 Davidson/Feb. 18
North Carolina 9 N.C. State/Feb. 18
HERE'S WE GO AGAIN/PART I
For a third-consecutive year, Memphis has the longest win streak in the nation. The Tigers' current win streak is 16 straight entering Wednesday's game versus SMU. Memphis' streak is the second-longest for the 2008-09 season, as Utah State's streak reached 19 games before its Feb. 14 loss.
The previous two years, the Tigers posted the longest win streak for each season. Memphis won 25 straight in 2006-07 and 26 straight in 2007-08.
MORE STREAKS FOR TIGERS
For the eighth time in the John Calipari era, the Tigers hit double digits in a winning streak. The team's current streak is at 16 straight. The Tigers' longest streak in school history occurred in 2007-08 when Memphis won 26 straight. The 2006-07 Tigers held the previous longest win streak in school history with 25 straight. The following lists the top win streaks in Tiger basketball history:
Streak Year Ended By
26 2007-08 Tennessee, 66-62
25 2006-07 vs. Ohio State 92-76
20 1985-86 at Va. Tech 76-72
16 2008-09 ----------------
16 1954-55 at Centenary 70-68
15 2005-06 at UAB 80-74
14 1972-73 at Louisville 83-69
12 2007-08 vs. Kansas 75-68 (ot)
12 2002-03 at Louisville 78-75
12 1983-84 Louisville 85-78
11 3 teams 2003-04, 1982-83, 1975-76
* Calipari teams in italics (also had 10-game streak in 2001-02)
FEBRUARY FRIENDLY FOR TIGERS
While the Tigers have enjoyed success in the John Calipari era in the month of January (63-10; .863 winning percentage), February hasn't been too bad either. Under Calipari, Memphis has a 51-12 record (.810 winning percentage) in February.
Last year, the Tigers posted a 7-1 record in February, and the program's February win streak reached 20 straight before a Feb. 23, 2008, setback to Tennessee. Also included in that 51-12 overall mark is a 16-game winning streak in the month of February from 2001-02 through 2003-04.
HERE WE GO AGAIN/PART II
For the third-straight year, Memphis is vying to go unbeaten in conference play. The Tigers enter Wednesday's game with a 10-0 Conference USA mark, and is one of three schools in NCAA Division I with an undefeated mark in league play to date.
In 2006-07, Memphis and Winthrop were the only two teams in the nation to finish unbeaten in their respective leagues. Last year (2007-08), the Tigers and Davidson were the only two schools in the country to go undefeated in conference play.
The following shows the current unbeaten teams in league play (through Feb. 17):
Team Conf. Record Next Conf. Game
Oklahoma 11-0 (Big 12) Texas/Feb. 21
Memphis 10-0 (C-USA) SMU/Feb. 18
Gonzaga 10-0 (WCC) LMU/Feb. 19
For more notes on the Memphis-SMU game, click on pdf link at the top of the page.