Feb. 26, 2014
|| #21/22 Memphis (21-6, 10-4) at Houston (13-14, 5-9)
||Thursday, February 27 - 8 p.m. CT | Hofheinz Pavillion (Houston, Texas)
|| How to Follow
Tigers On TV/Radio/Web
Television: CBS Sports Network (Mark Followill, play-by-play; Chris Walker, analyst)/Memphis Comcast channel 222
Radio: WREC 600 AM (Dave Woloshin, play-by-play; Matt Dillon, color analyst; Forrest Goodman, studio host)
SETTING THE SCENE
Memphis (21-6, 10-4 The American) takes to the road Feb. 27 when it travels to Houston, Texas, to face the Cougars (13-14, 5-9 The American).
CBS Sports Network is televising Thursday's 8 p.m. (CT) American Athletic Conference encounter from Hofheinz Pavilion. The Memphis-Houston game is not available via the web.
The Tigers bring a two-game win streak into Thursday's contest after league victories over Rutgers 64-59 Feb. 20 and Temple 82-79 in overtime Feb. 22.
The Tigers remained in the Associated Press (AP) poll released Feb. 24 in the No. 21 spot. Memphis has appeared in all 17 AP polls this season. For a third-straight week, Memphis also remained in the USA Today coaches poll at No. 22. Houston is not ranked.
Memphis enters Thurday's encounter having won eight of its last 10 games. The Tigers' two setbacks in their last 10 contests were road games at SMU and Connecticut.
The Tigers are 5-3 in true road games and 8-4 in contests played away from FedExForum (road/neutral) this season.
Memphis returns three starters, but only five letterwinners from last year's squad.
Houston is 10-4 in games played at Hofheinz Pavilion this season. The Cougars have a 4-3 record at home in league play.
Houston returns three starters and nine letterwinners from last season's squad.
WHAT THE COUGARS DID A YEAR AGO
Houston posted a 20-13 overall record and a 7-9 Conference USA (C-USA) mark in 2012-13.
The Cougars tied for seventh place in the C-USA regular-season standings.
Houston advanced to the C-USA Tournament quarterfinal round, where it dropped an 80-69 decision to UTEP.
The Cougars played in the 2013 College Basketball Invitational (CBI) and advanced to the CBI quarterfinal round (lost to George Mason).
SCOUTING THE COUGARS
Houston enters Thursday's American Athletic Conference match-up with a 13-14 overall record and a 5-9 league mark.
The Cougars have dropped seven of their last nine games, but five of those setbacks were on the road.
Houston has a 10-4 record in games played at Hofheinz Pavilion this season. The Cougars are 4-3 at home in conference play and have won their last two league home contests.
Houston was picked to finish seventh in the 2013-14 preseason American Athletic Conference coaches poll.
TaShawn Thomas was a preseason All-American Athletic Conference second team pick.
Thomas leads three Cougars averaging double figures at 15.7 ppg (seventh in The American).
Danuel House (13.2 ppg) and Jherrod Stiggers (10.3 ppg) also average double digits for Houston.
Thomas is the Cougars' top rebounder at 8.4 rpg. House is the team's second-leading rebounder at 4.8 rpg.
L.J. Rose is the squad's top playmaker with 114 total assists (5.2 apg; second in The American).
Thomas is tops on the team with 35 steals.
Four Cougars -- Brandon Morris (44.3 percent), Tione Womack (40), Rose (39.1) and Danrad Knowles (36.4) -- all shoot 35 percent or better from the arc.
Houston is shooting 45.1 percent from the field, 35.2 percent from the arc and 66 percent from the free throw line.
Opponents are out-rebounding the Cougars by an average margin of +2.1 boards (34.3-36.4).
The Last Meeting
January 23, 2014
No. 23/22 Memphis Defeats Houston, 82-59
Shaq Goodwin scored 20 points and pulled down six boards while Joe Jackson added 18 points and seven assists to help the No. 23/22 University of Memphis men's basketball team (14-4, 4-2 American) to an 82-59 victory over Houston (11-8, 3-3 American) on Thursday night at FedExForum.
TIGERS IN TOP FIVE/LOOKING TO MOVE UP
With its 82-79 overtime victory over Temple Feb. 22, Memphis secured a top-five spot in the league standings and an American Athletic Conference Tournament opening-round bye.
For the tournament, the league's top-six squads in the standings will earn an opening-round bye.
With their 10-4 record, the Tigers can finish no worse than fifth place in The American regular-season standings.
TIGERS LOVE THOSE DOUBLE-DIGIT WINS IN LEAGUE PLAY
With their 82-79 overtime win over Temple Feb. 22, the Tigers won their 10th conference game of 2013-14. Memphis' league record now stands at 10-4.
Memphis' 10th conference victory gives the Tigers double-digit wins in league play for the ninth season in a row.
The nine-straight seasons of double-digit conference wins is the longest streak of its kind in Tigers history.
Since 2000-01, Memphis has posted double-digit conference wins 13 of the 14 seasons. The only season the Tigers did not have double-digit wins in conference play was 2004-05 when they went 9-7 in Conference USA.
Over the last 14 years (includes 2013-14), Memphis has averaged nearly 13 conference wins per season (12.8 wins per season, to be exact).
PASTNER VS. THE HOMETOWN SCHOOLS
For the second time this season, Memphis head coach Josh Pastner is facing a school from his hometown area when the Tigers play at Houston Thursday.
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 team during his high school and collegiate days.
PASTNER RECORD VS. HOUSTON TEAMS
In his five seasons (includes 2013-14), Josh Pastner has faced three NCAA Division I schools from the city of Houston.
The Tigers have played Houston, Houston Baptist and Rice.
Memphis has an 8-3 record (.727 winning percentage) versus Houston area schools under Pastner.
* Pastner has won his last five games versus Houston-based schools.
The last time a Pastner-coached team lost to a school from Houston was in 2010-11. The Tigers, a predominantly freshmen-led squad that season, fell to Rice 67-52 in Houston.
BATTLE FOR CITY PRIDE
Thursday's game is not only an American Athletic Conference game, it's also a contest for city pride as both teams have several players on their rosters from the respective cities.
On the Tigers' side, eight players hail from the Bluff City area. Chris Crawford, Markel Crawford, Trey Draper, Joe Jackson, Nick King and Jake McDowell all are from Memphis. Anthony Cole (Arlington, Tenn.) and Austin Nichols (Collierville, Tenn.) are from the Memphis suburbs.
Six Cougars call the Houston area home. Valentine Izundu, Danrad Knowles, Lawrence Paye and L.J. Rose are from Houston. Danuel House (Sugar Land) and J.J. Richardson (Missouri City) are from just outside Houston.
Memphis and Houston have a connection, and it's through current Tigers assistant coach Robert Kirby.
Kirby joined head coach Josh Pastner's staff this past summer, but one of his previous coaching stints was at Houston from 1993-98.
During Kirby's time at Houston, the program transitioned from the Southwest Conference (SWC) to Conference USA after the 1995-96 season.
In the their final season in the SWC in 1995-96, Kirby helped guide the Cougars to a 17-10 overall record and a 10-3 league mark.
The 17 overall wins were the most since 1992-93, and the 10 conference victories were the most since 1991-92.
In his five seasons in Houston, Kirby coached six all-league performers and two conference all-defensive team selections.
KIRBY VS. FORMER TEAMS
Prior to Memphis, Robert Kirby coached at UALR (1985-88), Houston (1993-98) and LSU (2012-13).
This season, Kirby and Memphis face all three programs a total of four times.
And, so far, Kirby and the Tigers have been successful in the three of the four regular-season meetings.
Memphis posted wins over LSU 76-69 Nov. 29 (Old Spice Classic semifinal), UALR 73-59 Dec. 13 and Houston 82-59 Jan. 23.
Thursday's game at Houston is the final regular-season meeting between Kirby and a former school.
PASTNER AMONG NCAA FIRST-FIVE YEAR WINNINGEST COACHES
Yes, Josh Pastner is already the winningest head coach for the first five years in Memphis basketball history.
But, even Tigers fans may not know that Pastner's 127 victories also place him among the winningest head coaches for the first five years in NCAA history.
Pastner now is tied for the No. 6 spot on that list which is below:
Head Coach/Team First 5 Years Wins Total
Brad Stevens/Butler 2008-12 139
Everett Case/N.C. State 1947-51 137
Mark Few/Gonzaga 2000-04 133
Roy Williams/Kansas 1989-93 132
Jamie Dixon/Pittsburgh 2004-08 132
Josh Pastner/Memphis* 2010-14 127
Dave Rose/BYU 2006-10 127
Bruce Stewart/MTSU, 1983-87 126
West Va. Wesleyan#
Forddy Anderson/Drake, 1947-51 123
Mark Fox/Nevada 2005-09 123
*Pastner's fifth season still in progress
#half of his first five seasons were at NCAA Division I
DOUBLE YOUR PLEASURE
Freshman Austin Nichols recorded the Tigers' latest double-double with his 17-point, 12-rebound performance in the 82-79 overtime win over Temple Feb. 22.
Nichols' double-double performance was the first of his career. His 12 rebounds were a season best.
The following tracks Memphis' double-doubles this season:
Johnson/Austin Peay* 11-10
*first career double-double
DIXON'S "CLUTCH" FEBRUARY
When Michael Dixon Jr. transferred to Memphis in the summer of 2013, he and Chris Crawford quickly struck up a friendship.
So, Crawford won't mind if Dixon Jr. takes over his nickname, "Clutch" -- especially with his timely plays in recent Tigers wins.
The following details some of Dixon Jr.'s recent "clutch" moments:
Temple/Feb. 22/82-79 win (OT)
Hits two FT with :18 left in overtime to extend an 80-79 lead to 82-79, which was the final score
Rutgers/Feb. 20/64-59 win
With Memphis clinging to a 56-51 lead with under 1:30 left, swishes a three-pointer at the 1:16 mark to extend the lead to 59-51 and put the game out of reach
Gonzaga/Feb. 8/60-54 win:
With the Tigers down 52-43,nets five points (trey, jumper) in a 7-0 Memphis run to cut the lead to 52-50
Hits layup with 1:12 left to give Memphis 55-54 lead; it was Tigers' first lead since 12-11 at 9:23 of first half
Hits two FT with :33 left to extend lead to 57-54
Memphis enters Thursday's conference match-up against Houston with a 7-2 record in single-digit outcome games in 2013-14.
On the other side, the Cougars are 5-5 in single-digit outcome games this season.
Under head coach Josh Pastner, Memphis has been successful in single-digit outcome games.
Overall, Pastner's teams have a 46-22 record (.676 winning percentage) in games decided by single digits. His squads are 29-14 (.674 winning percentage) in games decided by five or fewer points.
The following charts Memphis' success in "close-call" games in the Pastner era:
Year 5 or Fewer Single-Digits
2013-14 3-2 7-2
2012-13 5-1 10-3
2011-12 4-5 6-7
2010-11 13-2 16-3
2009-10 4-4 7-7
Total 29-14 46-22
Pct. .674 .676
CRAWFORD, JACKSON: A RARE PAIR
Everyone knows that Chris Crawford
and Joe Jackson
both are from Memphis.
And, everyone also knows that both played together four seasons for the Tigers
And, finally, both have scored over 1,000 points in their careers.
What everyone may not know is that Crawford and Jackson are only the second pair of teammates from Memphis to play all four seasons together and score 1,000 points.
The other pair of former Tigers to do the same were Andre Turner
(1,442 points) and Baskerville Holmes (1,112), both of whom called Memphis home and played together from 1982-86.