Feb. 22, 2008
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NO. 1 TIGERS TO HOST NO. 2 TENNESSEE IN IN-STATE RIVAL GAME SATURDAY
The University of Memphis squad (26-0, 12-0 C-USA), ranked No. 1 in the Associated Press poll and No. 1 in ESPN/USA Today poll, hosts No. 2/2 Tennessee (24-2, 11-1 SEC) in an in-state rival game on Saturday, Feb. 23 at FedExForum. The game, to be televised by ESPN, is slated for an 8:00 p.m. (CT) start.
It is the first ever No. 1-2 match-up of NCAA Division I schools in the state of Tennessee basketball history.
The Tigers return home after a two-game road trip at UAB Feb. 16 and Tulane Feb. 20. Memphis won both contests, posting a 79-78 win over UAB and a 97-71 victory over Tulane. Prior to its road trip, Memphis wrapped a four-game homestand from Feb. 2-13 with victories over UTEP 70-64, SMU 77-48, UCF 85-64 and Houston 68-59.
The Volunteers enter Saturday's game having won their last eight games. Tennessee posted an 89-70 win over Auburn in its last outing. The Volunteers suffered their last setback over a month ago with a 72-66 loss at Kentucky on Jan. 22.
SCOUTING THE VOLUNTEERS
Tennessee brings a 24-2 overall record and an 11-1 Southeastern Conference mark into Saturday's No. 1-2 match-up. The Volunteers have won their last eight games, including an 89-70 win over Auburn in its last outing. The Volunteers suffered their last setback over a month ago with a 72-66 loss at Kentucky.
The trio of All-America candidate Chris Lofton (15.4 ppg), JaJuan Smith (14.3 ppg) and Tyler Smith (13.4 ppg) paces the Tennessee offense. Tyler Smith leads the Volunteers on the glass with a 6.5 rebounding average, while Wayne Chism is second at 6.0 rpg. Tyler Smith also leads Tennessee in assists with 96 (3.7 apg), and Ramar Smith is second with 83 dimes (3.2 apg). Lofton (39.4 percent) and JaJuan Smith (37.2 percent) are the team's top threats from the arc.
Tennessee is shooting 46 percent from the field, 36.2 percent from the arc and 64.4 percent from the charity stripe. The Volunteers hold a narrow rebound margin of +0.4 (38.2-37.8) over its opponents. Tennessee forces 19.8 turnovers per contest.
CALIPARI GETS WIN NO. 400
With the Tigers' victory over Tulane Feb. 20, head coach John Calipari recorded collegiate win No. 400. Calipari joins Roy Williams as the only two coaches in NCAA Division I history to have 400 victories in their first 16 years.
CALIPARI SECOND-FASTEST TO 400
Memphis head coach John Calipari likes to go at a fast pace, and it shows in his trek to 400 victories. In terms of number of years coaching in the NCAA Division I ranks, Calipari reached the 400-win plateau the second-fastest of any coach in history. The following shows the top five coaches that reached the 400-win milestone in the fewest years:
Coach No. of Yr.
Roy Williams 15
John Calipari 16
Jerry Tarkanian/Jim Boeheim/
Denny Crum/Nolan Richardson 17
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 91-7 when ranked in the top four of the national polls (.929 winning percentage).
At Memphis, Calipari's teams are 46-3 (.939 winning percentage) when ranked in the top four. During his time at UMass, the Minutemen went 45-4 (.918 winning percentage) when ranked in the top four.
IT'S NO. 1 VERSUS NO. 2
It's the match-up everyone was hoping for, and it's now here. The following are a few facts about No. 1-2 games:
No. 1 teams are 20-17 versus No. 2 teams all-time
No. 2 teams are 10-9 in regular season games
Last six No. 1-2 regular season games are 3-3
No. 1 teams are 16-12 in non-league games
No. 2 teams are 4-0 in games involving teams from the same state
John Calipari's 1995-96 UMass team was involved in a No. 1-2 match-up when his No. 1 Minutemen played No. 2 Kentucky in the NCAA national semifinals. The Wildcats won 81-74. The game forced the NCAA Tournament committee to start seeding the No. 1 seeds (where the top No. 1 seed plays the fourth No. 1 seed in the semis and No. 2 plays No. 3) in tournaments since.
HOW ABOUT TWICE IN ONE SEASON!
Before Memphis hosted Georgetown Dec. 22, Tiger fans had never witnessed a game between two top-five teams in the Bluff City. Entering that game, Memphis was No. 2/2, while the Hoyas were No. 5/4. The Tigers won that contest 85-71.
Well, Tiger Nation gets to see a second top-five match-up this season when No. 1/1 Memphis hosts No. 2/2 Tennessee Saturday.
In the 2005-06 campaign, the Tigers hosted Gonzaga in the first top-10 encounter played in Memphis in 20 years (last time was the 1985-86 campaign). In that 2005-06 game, Memphis was ranked No. 4 at the time, while the Bulldogs were No. 8. Memphis won that game 83-72 at FedExForum.
SATURDAY TO BE HIGHEST-RANKED MATCH-UP IN TIGER HISTORY
Saturday's game will be the highest-ranked game to be played in Tiger basketball history. Entering the game, Memphis is ranked No. 1 in both polls, while Tennessee is ranked No. 2.
The previous highest-ranked match-up for the Tigers came in the 1995-96 campaign. That season, the No. 3 Tigers traveled to Worcester, Mass., to battle the No. 1 UMass Minutemen, who were coached by John Calipari at the time. Memphis dropped a narrow 64-61 decision to UMass.
FORMER TEAMMATES, NOW FOES
Saturday's contest features two sophomores that were teammates in high school from 2004-06, but are now foes. Memphis guard Willie Kemp and Tennessee forward Wayne Chism teamed up during those two seasons on the Bolivar Central High School squad.
The duo helped lead Bolivar Central to a two-year (2004-05, 2005-06) mark of 58-16 and the 2005 Tennessee Class AA crown. In 2006, Bolivar Central reached the Class AA quarterfinals. Kemp won the 2006 Tennessee Class AA Mr. Basketball award, while Chism was a finalist for the honor.
MEMPHIS VS. THE SEC
The Tigers have an all-time record of 87-64 against members of the Southeastern Conference (SEC). Memphis has played Alabama (5-2), Arkansas (10-11), Auburn (0-1), Florida (0-1), Georgia (1-1), Kentucky (1-0), LSU (2-2), Ole Miss (26-11), Mississippi State (12-11), South Carolina (18-5), Tennessee (7-11) and Vanderbilt (5-8). Memphis has won six of its last seven contests against SEC opponents, and 11 of its last 13 games against the league.
CAL VS. THE SEC
Head coach John Calipari has a 17-12 record against Southeastern Conference (SEC) opponents. Calipari has coached against Alabama (1-1), Arkansas (3-2), Florida (1-0), Kentucky (2-4), Ole Miss (4-3), South Carolina (3-0), Tennessee (2-2) and Vanderbilt (1-0). Calipari has never faced Auburn, Georgia, LSU and Mississippi State. Calipari has won 11 of his last 13 games against SEC opponents.
IF THERE IS AN ADVANTAGE...
For the Tigers, it will be on the glass. Memphis out-rebounds its foes by an average margin of +7.8 (42.5-34.7), while Tennessee holds a narrow +0.4 rebounding margin (38.2-37.8) over its opponents. However, the Volunteers won the battle of the boards last year 50-48.
For Tennessee, the advantages come at the arc and forcing turnovers. The Volunteers shoot 36.2 percent from the three-point line, while Memphis hits 33.8 percent from the arc. Tennessee forces 19.8 turnovers per game, and the Tigers only force 16.6 turnovers per contest.
For more notes on the Memphis-Tennessee game, click on pdf link at top of the page.