Memphis Basketball Notes
Feb. 20, 2009
TIGERS TO TRAVEL TO EL PASO FOR SATURDAY C-USA MATCH-UP VERSUS UTEP
Saturday's meeting is the only one between the two C-USA schools during the regular season.
Memphis enters Wednesday's encounter on a 17-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 (away) 79-66, No. 18/18 Gonzaga 68-50, Tulsa 63-37, Southern Miss 72-47 and SMU (home) 90-47.
UTEP is on a winning streak of its own entering Saturday's showdown. The Miners have won three straight with victories over UCF 73-68, Marshall 74-67 and Rice 67-58. UTEP's last setback was a Feb. 7 loss at Tulsa 76-65. The Miners also have solid non-conference wins over Saint Mary's, Texas Tech and New Mexico.
SCOUTING THE MINERS
The tandem of Stefon Jackson and Randy Culpepper paces the UTEP offense. Jackson, who became Conference USA's all-time leading scorer earlier this season, leads the Miners with a 23.1 scoring average (second in C-USA). Culpepper, the 2007-08 C-USA Sixth Man of the Year, is second on the team in scoring at 18.3 ppg (fourth in C-USA). Arnett Moultrie leads UTEP on the glass with a 7.6 rebounding average, while Julyan Stone is tops on the squad with 157 assists (6.3 apg; second in C-USA). Culpepper has a team-high 43 steals.
The Miners are shooting 42.3 percent from the floor, 31.8 percent from the arc and 72.9 percent from the free throw line. UTEP is out-rebounding its opponents by an average margin of +2.1 boards per game (38.0-35.9).
TIGERS MAKE JUMP TO TOP FIVE IN AP POLL
In the ESPN/USA Today coaches poll, Memphis is one spot behind its AP ranking at No. 6.
TIGERS TIE SCHOOL RECORD
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
CALIPARI'S TEAMS TOUGH AT THE TOP
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 126-12 when ranked in the top five of the national polls (.913 winning percentage).
At Memphis, Calipari's teams are 71-6 (.922 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:
A C-USA SUMMER CHINA TRIP REUNION
John Calipari served as the squad's head coach, and UTEP head coach Tony Barbee served as an assistant on the staff. Seven Memphis Tigers made the trip, led by seniors Robert Dozier and Antonio Anderson and juniors Pierre Henderson-Niles, Willie Kemp and Shawn Taggart. UTEP's Claude Britten and Julyan Stone represented the Miners on the trip.
CALIPARI VERSUS FORMER ASSISTANTS
Prior to the 2008-09 season, Calipari had coached against Roccaforte in 2006-07 and Barbee in 2006-07 and 2007-08.
MEMPHIS' CONNECTION TO UTEP'S 1966 NCAA TITLE TEAM
Former Tiger head coach Moe Iba served as an assistant coach on Don Haskins' staff in that NCAA championship year. Following that season, Iba took over the Memphis program, and his first year at the helm was the 1966-67 campaign. Iba coached four years (1967-70) and had a 37-65 overall record.
2008-09 TIGER SENIORS SET SCHOOL'S WINS RECORD FEB. 18
With its 23 victories so far in 2008-09, the senior class has 127 career wins, which broke the previous school record of 126 wins set by the 2007-08 class (Joey Dorsey).
The following shows the top-five winningest four-year classes in Tiger history:
2008-09 TIGER SENIORS ALSO CLIMBING NCAA WINS LIST
The 2008-09 Tiger senior class is tied for the seventh spot on that NCAA Division I wins list with 127 victories. The 2007-08 Memphis senior class is tied for 11th on that list with 126 wins. The following is the top-10 list of the most wins in a four-year span in NCAA Division I history:
Team Year Wins
GET YOUR TRACK SHOES ON
The game also features three of C-USA's top 10 scorers. UTEP's Stefon Jackson is second in the league in scoring at 23.1 ppg, and his teammate, Randy Culpepper, is fourth at 18.3 ppg. The Tigers' Tyreke Evans is seventh in the league in scoring at 16.8 ppg.
THREES MAY BE HARD TO COME BY
Memphis Stat UTEP
BATTLE OF FLOOR GENERALS
Stone is second in assists in C-USA at 6.3 apg and third in assist-to-turnover ratio at 2.75. Anderson is sixth in assists at 4.3 apg and seventh in assist-to-turnover ratio at 2.02.
WHICH DEFENSE IS BETTER?
2007-08 Stat 2008-09
WE'RE TALKING DEFENSE
Opp FG Pct. 3P Pct. Reb Blk Stl
Top-Five NCAA Division I Win Streaks
HERE WE GO AGAIN/PART I
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.
HERE WE GO AGAIN/PART II
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. 20):
Team Conf. Record Next Conf. Game
"TAG" TEARING UP THE GLASS
Taggart pulled down 11 rebounds versus Southern Miss Feb. 14, and outplayed Tulsa's Jerome Jordan on the glass Feb. 11, winning the board battle 8-3. Taggart also played outstanding defense on Jordan, holding the Tulsa center to eight points and forcing him to turn the ball over six times.
Taggart also shot the ball well from the charity stripe in those four games. The Richmond, Va., native was 20-of-22 from the foul line (90.9 percent). In the victory over SMU Feb. 18, Taggart netted 19 points on 5-of-7 field goals and 9-of-10 free throws.
SPOOOOOOON MAKES HIS RETURN!!!
After missing court time the previous six games (Jan. 28-Feb. 14), the Atlanta, Ga., native returned to play in the Tigers' win over SMU Feb. 18. In 18 minutes of action against the Mustangs, Witherspoon scored six points and added one rebound, one assist, one block and one steal.
Witherspoon returned to practice Feb. 16. Prior to the surgery, Witherspoon played in 19 games and averaged 5.1 points and 2.4 rebounds.
COUNTDOWN TO A SECOND 500
Against UAB on Jan. 17, the 6-foot-6 guard grabbed his 500th rebound and now has 550 career boards. Up next for Anderson is to reach the 500-assists mark.
The Lynn, Mass., native has 483 career assists (seventh on career assists list), and on his pace of 4.3 dishes per game this year, he would reach the mark. If he is successful in reaching 500 assists, Anderson would become the only player in Memphis history to have 1,000 points, 500 rebounds and 500 assists in a career.
Even more proof of his all-around game is that he has 200 career steals (fifth on career steals list).
For more notes on the Memphis-UTEP game, please click on the pdf link at the top of the page.