Memphis Basketball Notes
Go Tigers! Roburt Sallie and the Tigers battle the Cougars in Houston on Wednesday.
Go Tigers!
Roburt Sallie and the Tigers battle the Cougars in Houston on Wednesday.
Go Tigers!

Feb. 23, 2010

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*NOTE: Live video of the Memphis at Houston basketball game on Wednesday, Feb. 24 at 7 p.m. (CT) is available across the nation on Memphis Tigers All-Access for just $9.95. To sign up, click on the All-Access banner link in the right column of the men's basketball front page or the athletics web site front page.

Tigers On TV/Radio/Web
Television: None
Radio: WREC 600 AM (Dave Woloshin, play-by-play; Matt Dillon, color analyst; Forrest Goodman, studio host)
Web: Game to be streamed live on Memphis athletics web site at via All-Access (must register to view game)

The University of Memphis squad (20-7, 10-2 C-USA) travels to Houston, Texas, for a Conference USA showdown with the Cougars (13-13, 5-7 C-USA) on Wednesday, Feb. 24. The game, which can only be seen via on-line streaming at the Memphis athletics web site (All-Access), is slated for a 7 p.m. (CT) start.

The Tigers jumped back into the Conference USA regular season race after consecutive road wins at Tulsa Feb. 13 (93-86) and Tulane Feb. 17 (77-64) and a home victory over SMU Feb. 20 (76-63). Memphis has won its last five C-USA games since a league loss at SMU Jan. 30. The Tigers' last five C-USA wins were over UAB, UCF, Tulsa, Tulane and SMU

After having their 64-game Conference USA win streak snapped Jan. 20 with a 72-67 loss to UTEP, the Tigers responded with back-to-back league wins over Houston 92-77 Jan. 23 and Marshall 75-72 Jan. 27. Prior to the Jan. 20 UTEP loss, Memphis opened Conference USA play with three-straight league victories over Southern Miss 59-57, East Carolina 77-57 and Rice 80-68.

Memphis entered league play with a 10-4 non-conference record. The Tigers' four non-league losses were to then-No. 1/1 Kansas 57-55 in St. Louis, UMass 73-72 in Boston, then-No. 14/14 Tennessee 66-59 at FedExForum and then-No. 7/7 Syracuse 74-57 at the Carrier Dome.

Houston dropped four of its last six entering Wednesday's contest. In that six-game stretch, the Cougars posted wins over Western Kentucky and SMU and suffered setbacks to UTEP, Southern Miss, UCF and UAB. Houston's four recent losses were all by single digits (5.3 margin of defeat).

Houston brings a 13-13 overall record and a 5-7 Conference USA mark into Wednesday's contest. Houston dropped four of its last six, with wins over Western Kentucky and SMU and setbacks to UTEP, Southern Miss, UCF and UAB. Houston's four recent losses were all by single digits (5.3 margin of defeat).

The senior tandem of Aubrey Coleman (25.4 ppg) and Kelvin Lewis (15.0 ppg) paces the Cougar offense. Coleman leads Conference USA in scoring, while Lewis is eighth among the league's scoring leaders. Maurice McNeil is the team's top rebounder at 7.7 rpg, and Coleman is second at 7.4 rpg. Desmond Wade is tops on the squad with 125 assists (4.8 apg), and is third among the C-USA assists leaders.Lewis is Houston's top three-point threat, hitting nearly 40 percent from the arc (39.9 percent).

The Cougars are shooting 41.5 percent from the floor, 34.7 percent from the arc and 70.7 percent from the free throw line. Opponents are out-rebounding Houston by an average margin of +8.3 boards per game (34.1-42.4).

Last year, the Tiger program made history when it hit the 20-win plateau. For Memphis, it was the program's school-record, ninth-consecutive 20-win season.

With their 76-63 victory over SMU Feb. 20, the Tigers hit the 20-win milestone again and extended the school record to 10-straight, 20-win campaigns. Memphis' previous record of consecutive 20-win seasons was eight-straight from 1982-89. The following lists the top streaks of 20-win years in Tiger history:

Years	Consec. Yrs. of 20 Wins
2001-10 10
1982-89 8
1975-77 3
Four teams tied 2
(1995-96, 1992-93, 1972-73, 1956-57)

With its Feb. 20 win over SMU, Memphis recorded its 12th season of double-digit victories in Conference USA play. The Tigers are currently 10-2 in conference action in 2009-10.

In 2007-08, Memphis posted its 10th season of double-digit league wins, which set the C-USA 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 conference win seasons:

No. of C-USA Seasons
With Double-Digit League Wins

1. Memphis 12
2. Cincinnati 9
3. UAB 7
t. Charlotte 7
5. Louisville 4

With its Feb. 20 victory over SMU, the Memphis program wasn't the only one hitting a milestone. In addition, Josh Pastner hit the 20-win plateau in his first season as the Memphis head coach.

Pastner is only the seventh head coach in school history to have 20 wins in his first year as the Tigers' mentor. With Memphis' win over SMU Feb. 20, Pastner tied for the fourth-quickest to the 20-win milestone in Tiger basketball history.

The following lists the Tiger head coaches that won 20 games in their first seasons at Memphis:

Head Coach/Year	Game # for	Final
20th Win Record

Wayne Yates/1974-75 25th (20-5) 20-7
Bob Vanatta/1956-57 25th (20-5) 24-6
Larry Grantham/1920-21 26 (20-5-1) 22-7-1
Larry Finch/1986-87 27 (20-7) 26-8
Josh Pastner/2009-10 27 (20-7) --
Eugene Lambert/1951-52 29 (20-9) 25-10
John Calipari/2000-01 34 (20-14) 21-15

For the fourth time in the 2009-10 season, Memphis head coach Josh Pastner is facing a school from his hometown area when the Tigers play at Houston Wednesday. The contest at Houston is also Pastner's second trip back home, as he and his Tigers played at Rice Jan. 16.

Pastner is a Kingwood, Texas, native, and Kingwood is a suburb of Houston. In fact, Pastner grew up around 20 miles from the University of Houston campus.

Pastner, who attended Kingwood High School, coached the Houston Hoops summer ball team during his high school and collegiate (Arizona) days.

Already in 2009-10, Pastner has a 3-0 record versus Houston area universities. The Tigers defeated Houston Baptist 93-52, Rice 80-68 and Houston 92-77.

No, the Tigers aren't time-warping back to the late 1970s for the pop music hit on Wednesday. It's just that Memphis finishes Conference USA regular season play against league foes which are home-and-home opponents on the schedule.

Memphis plays Houston, SMU, Southern Miss, Tulsa and UAB twice in league action, and the Tigers went 4-1 in their first time through the home-and-home trek. The following shows the results of the year's previous games and what's on tap for Memphis:

	1st Time Through	2nd Time Around
at USM, 59-57 W USM, Feb. 27
Houston, 92-77 W at Houston, Feb. 24
at SMU, 60-70 L SMU, 76-63 W
UAB, 85-75 W at UAB, Mar. 3
at Tulsa, 93-86 W Tulsa, Mar. 6

Although Wednesday's game is the only the second time they are matching wits as head coaches, Josh Pastner and Tom Penders have been on opposing sidelines before the 2009-10 season. As an assistant at Arizona, Pastner and the Wildcats faced Penders' Houston squads three times from 2005-06 through 2007-08. Arizona won two (2005-06, 2007-08) of those three meetings.

During his playing days for the Wildcats in the late 1990s, Pastner and his teammates battled Penders' Texas squads in back-to-back seasons in 1996-97 and 1997-98. Arizona won both games.

Offense may be on display Wednesday when Conference USA's top two scorers face off at Hofheinz Pavilion. Houston's Aubrey Coleman leads the league with a 25.4 scoring average, while Memphis' Elliot Williams is second in C-USA with a 19.1 average.

The scoreboard operator may want to have his or her finger ready Wednesday when Memphis and Houston meet in Hofheinz Pavilion. The Cougars is second in Conference USA in scoring offense at 78.1 ppg, while Memphis is fourth at 75.9 ppg.

In C-USA games only, the Tigers lead the league in scoring offense at 76.4 ppg, and Houston is fourth at 70.9 ppg.

Both teams lit up the scoreboard in their earlier meeting this season at FedExForum. Memphis posted a 92-77 victory over the Cougars.

If fans are looking for a mistake-free game, they may get that in Wednesday's Memphis-Houston contest at Hofheinz Pavilion. Houston and Memphis are No. 1 and 2, respectively, in C-USA in turnovers committed, turnovers forced and turnover margin.

The Cougars are ranked No. 1 in the nation in turnovers committed and turnover margin, while the Tigers are No. 22 in turnovers committed and No. 4 in turnover margin.

In this year's earlier meeting on Jan. 23, Memphis won the turnover battle. The Tigers forced 16 Houston turnovers, while committing only 12 miscues. The following charts both teams' turnover categories and their league rankings:

	Memphis	Stat	Houston
11.4/2nd TO Committed 9.0*/1st
16.3/2nd TO Forced 17.3/1st
+4.9/2nd TO Margin +8.3*/1st
* No. 1 in nation

While both squads take very good care of the ball, they'll have to be on alert Wednesday. Memphis and Houston are the top two teams in Conference USA in steals per game. The Cougars lead C-USA with 10.0 steals, while the Tigers are second at 8.9 steals.

In the NCAA rankings, Houston is No. 6 and Memphis No. 18 in steals per game.

Wednesday could be a fun game to watch if fans love to see three-point shooting because Memphis and Houston enjoy hoisting up the treys. Memphis is No. 1 in Conference USA in three-pointers made per game at 8.5, while Houston is No. 2 in the league at 7.9.

In the NCAA rankings, Memphis is No. 12 and Houston No. 40 in treys made per game.

In the C-USA individual rankings, four of the league's leaders in three-pointers made per game are featured in Wednesday's game. Houston's Kelvin Lewis leads C-USA with 3.1 treys made per game, while Doneal Mack and Roburt Sallie are tied for sixth at 1.9 three-pointers per contest. Memphis' Elliot Williams is eighth among C-USA's treys made per game leaders.

Doneal Mack is listed as probable for Wednesday's game at Houston after suffering a mild knee sprain during the first half of the Tigers' Feb. 20 contest versus SMU. The 6-foot-5 guard played 13 minutes (all in the first half) and scored six points in the win over the Mustangs.

Memphis head coach Josh Pastner said in the preseason that he expected his squad -- which is guard-oriented -- to shoot the ball well from the perimeter. The Tigers' three-point percentage in Conference USA play is proving Pastner right.

Memphis leads Conference USA in three-point field goal percentage in league play only (12 games) at 43.2 percent. In fact, the Tigers are the only team in C-USA shooting over 40 percent from the three-point line in conference games only.

The Tigers also lead C-USA in three-pointers made per game in league play only at 9.0 treys per contest. In C-USA games only, Houston is ninth in trey percentage (30.6 percent) and second in three-pointers made per game (6.0).

There's no secret when trying to find the reason for the Tigers' solid floor play in recent games. It's the consistent play of Willie Kemp.

In the last eight games (6-2 record), the Bolivar, Tenn., native has a 4.4 assist-to-turnover ratio (31 assists-7 turnovers). Of those eight games, the 6-foot-2 guard had four contests in which he had no turnovers, including a recent three-game stretch versus UCF, Tulsa and Tulane (15 assists-0 turnovers). In that eight-game stretch, Kemp averaged 30 minutes of action.

With his seven assists in the Tigers' win over Tulane Feb. 17, the senior went over the 100-assists mark for the season, and now has 109 dimes. Kemp is closing in on 300 assists for his career and needs five more to reach that milestone.

For most players, they love playing at home more than on the road. That, however, has not been the case for Memphis sophomore guard Elliot Williams in Conference USA play. The following numbers show how much Williams enjoys playing away from home in C-USA action (also includes road game at Tulane in which he missed the last 13 minutes due to injury):

Conference USA Games Only
Home Stat Away

15.3 Scoring 24.5
4.0 Rebounding 3.2
1.2 Steals/Gm 1.7
3.3 Turnovers/Gm 2.5
50.0 FG Pct. 51.8
40.0 3-pt. FG Pct. 50.0
78.9 FT Pct. 72.4
30-of-38 FTM-Att. 42-of-58

For more notes on the Memphis-Houston game, click on the psf link at the top of the page.



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