Feb. 27, 2012
Memphis Game Notes vs UCF
** NOTE: "Senior Day" ceremonies will begin at approximately 7:55 p.m. (CT) prior to the start of Tuesday's contest. **
Student Game Promotions For Tuesday
First 1,000 students receive t-shirts
First 1,000 students receive pom pons
First 50 students will create a tunnel on the floor to welcome the team (the last time the team comes on floor before tipoff)
Free parking for the first 250 cars in a special student lot (on the corner of Danny Thomas & Beale)
Tigers On TV/Radio/Web
Television: Comcast Sports Southeast (CSS)/Comcast digital channel 22 (Greg Gaston, play-by-play; Brian Oliver, color analyst)
Radio: WREC 600 AM (Dave Woloshin, play-by-play; Matt Dillon, color analyst; Forrest Goodman, studio host)
Web: Fans in certain states can watch the Memphis vs. UCF game live in All-Access. Please note that video is not available for streaming in the CSS broadcast territory states (AR, KY, WV, NC, VA, TN, SC, GA, FL, AL, MS, LA and TX) due to television broadcast restrictions.
SETTING THE SCENE
Memphis (21-8, 11-3 C-USA) returns to FedExForum Tuesday, Feb. 28 to host its regular-season home finale against UCF (20-8, 9-5 C-USA). The Conference USA showdown, to be televised on Comcast Sports Southeast (Comcast digital channel 22), is slated for an 8 p.m. (CT) start.
The Tigers appeared in the Also Receiving Votes category of both national polls this week (No. 35 AP, No. 37 coaches). UCF was not ranked in either national poll.
Memphis enters Tuesday's encounter having won 15 of its last 18.
The Tigers bounced back after their Feb. 18 loss to UTEP with consecutive victories over East Carolina 70-47 and Marshall 87-67.
Prior to the narrow 60-58 loss to UTEP, Memphis had won four straight with victories over Xavier 72-68, East Carolina 70-59, UAB 79-45 and Tulane 82-64.
The Knights have won five of their last seven, including a 63-45 win over UTEP Feb. 25.
UCF has a 3-6 road record and lost its last two road contests at Southern Miss and Rice.
WHAT'S UP NEXT...
Memphis closes regular-season play Saturday, Mar. 3 when it travels to Tulsa, Okla., to meet the Golden Hurricane. Game time is 11 a.m. (CT) at the Reynolds Center.
UCF hosts UAB in the regular-season finale for both teams Saturday. Game time is 6 p.m. (CT) at UCF Arena.
WHAT THE KNIGHTS DID LAST YEAR
UCF posted a 21-12 overall record and a 6-10 Conference USA mark (ninth in C-USA).
UCF lost to East Carolina 75-60 in the C-USA Tournament first round.
The Knights received a bid to the College Basketball Invitational (CBI) and advanced to the CBI semifinal round. UCF defeated St. Bonaventure and Rhode Island, before falling to Creighton.
SCOUTING THE KNIGHTS
UCF brings a 20-8 overall record and a 9-5 Conference USA mark into Tuesday's C-USA contest.
The Knights are 5-2 in their last seven with wins over Palm Beach Atlantic, SMU, Marshall, East Carolina and UTEP.
UCF's two setbacks were single-digit losses at Southern Miss (78-74) and Rice (83-74).
Keith Clanton leads a trio of double-figure scorers with a 15.0 average.
Marcus Jordan (14.5 ppg) and Isaiah Sykes (12.5 ppg) also average double digits for UCF.
Clanton leads the Knights on the glass with an 8.6 rebounding average (fifth in C-USA).
Clanton is also tops on the team with 54 blocked shots (fourth in C-USA).
A.J. Rompza leads the Knights with 66 assists (4.1 apg) and 41 steals.
Tristan Spurlock is UCF's top threat from the arc, hitting 34 percent of his three-pointers.
The Knights are shooting 43.5 percent from the field, 30.4 percent from the arc and 63 percent from the free throw line.
UCF is out-rebounding its opponents by an average margin of +4.4 boards per game (37.3-32.9).
THE RACE IS ON; TIGERS CAN CLINCH SHARE OF TITLE WITH WIN
Conference USA is in its final two games of regular season action, and four teams are still in the running for the league crown.
With a win over UCF Tuesday, Memphis would claim a share of the Conference USA regular season title.
If they win Tuesday, the Tigers would earn their seventh Conference USA regular season crown. Memphis won four-straight outright C-USA regular season titles from 2006-09 and tied for the crown in the 1995-96 and 2003-04 seasons.
The following shows the top-four standings and the remaining schedule for each team:
Team C-USA Rec. What's Left
Memphis 11-3 UCF, @TLS
Southern Miss 10-4 SMU, @MU
Tulsa 10-4 @UAB, UM
UCF 9-5 @UM, UAB
TIGERS TO CELEBRATE "SENIOR DAY" TUESDAY
Prior to Tuesday's game versus UCF (approximately 7:55 p.m. CT), Memphis will honor its two four-year seniors, Preston Laird and Wesley Witherspoon, in "Senior Day" ceremonies (senior Charles Carmouche will petition the NCAA for a fifth year in 2012-13).
Laird and Witherspoon both are on pace to graduate in May 2012. The graduation ceremonies will take place at FedExForum.
TIGERS' RECENT "SENIOR DAY" SUCCESS
Since the 1994-95 season, the Tigers have been quite successful in "Senior Day" games. Memphis has a 15-2 record (.882 winning percentage) in its last 17 "Senior Day" contests, including winning the last six (2006-11).
The lone two "Senior Day" setbacks in the previous 17 seasons both were to Cincinnati in the 1998-99 and 2004-05 campaigns.
Last year, the Tigers defeated Tulane 66-61 on "Senior Day."
FIRST TIME SINCE ...
Memphis will play its final regular-season home game, which also is "Senior Day," during the mid-week -- on Tuesday -- this season.
It is the first time since the 2003-04 campaign that the Tigers will play its final home game of the regular season during the week instead of the weekend.
In that 2003-04 regular season finale, Memphis defeated TCU 83-56 on Mar. 3, 2004, at The Pyramid.
It is also the first time the Tigers will play a non-weekend "Senior Day" game in their eight-year history at FedExForum.
NO SENIORS ALLOWED TUESDAY
Despite it being "Senior Day" for Memphis, that may be the sign on FedExForum for Tuesday's Memphis-UCF contest.
On the two rosters combined, there are only six seniors, and of the six seniors, only three may see action in Tuesday's game.
The three seniors that may play Wednesday are Memphis' Wesley Witherspoon (Preston Laird may not play due to injury) and UCF's A.J. Rompza and P.J. Gaynor.
On the other hand, there are 14 freshmen and sophomores combined on the two rosters (eight Memphis, six UCF).
DE - FENSE, DE - FENSE
Tuesday's game could be a defensive battle and the following shows that (C-USA rank follows stat):
UofM/Rank Statistic UCF/Rank
38.7/1st FG Pct. Def. 41.7/6th
32.6/5th 3-pt. FG Pct. Def. 30.4/1st
5.8/1st Blocks 4.5/4th
7.9/2nd Steals 6.8/6th
TIGERS BOARD BATTLIN'
Since Conference USA play began, Memphis has done a better job on the glass. The Tigers have a +2.6 rebound margin in league action only (fourth in C-USA).
For the sixth time in the C-USA season, Memphis faces a foe that does a tremendous job on the boards.
UCF is fourth in the conference in rebound margin at +4.4 in overall games and third in C-USA games only at +4.6. Memphis is eighth in C-USA in rebound margin at +1.2 (overall games).
However, in four of their previous five match-ups with dominant rebounding teams in league play, the Tigers have held their own, and the following shows that:
Opponent Opp. Reb. Margin Reb. Margin
Going Into Gm In Gm
UCF +4.4 ------
at Marshall +7.6 34-31, MU
at Southern Miss +5.5 36-23, USM
Marshall +9.5 33-31, UM
at UCF +5.1 32-27, UM
Southern Miss +6.7 36-36, Tie
TIGERS SUCCESS AT FEDEXFORUM
The Tigers have a 141-17 overall record (.892 winning percentage) at FedExForum since moving into the arena for the 2004-05 campaign.
Since the 2005 Conference USA Tournament, Memphis has won 131 of its last 142 home games (.923 winning percentage).
TIGERS TOUGH AT HOME IN C-USA
Since moving to FedExForum in 2004-05, Memphis has turned its homecourt into one of toughest arenas for opponents to play, and that is seen in the Tigers' 141-17 overall record.
But, it is even tougher for Conference USA foes since conference realignment in 2005-06.
Memphis has an incredible 63-3 record (.955 winning percentage) at FedExForum versus C-USA opponents (regular season and conference tournament) since 2005-06.
The following shows the nation's top-10 conference homecourt records since 2005-06 (regular season and conference tournament; credit to Bryan McEldowney for compiling this list):
Best Homecourt Records In
Conference Play Only (Reg. Season & Tourney)
1. Gonzaga 51-2 (.962)
2. Memphis 63-3 (.955)
3. Kansas 53-3 (.946)
4. BYU 51-5 (.911)
5. Utah St. 50-5 (.909)
Xavier 50-5 (.909)
7. Butler 60-7 (.896)
8. Belmont 59-7 (.894)
9. Ohio State 53-8 (.869)
10. Wisconsin 51-8 (.864)
BEST HOMECOURT ADVANTAGE
Since 2004-05, Memphis has won 141 games at FedExForum, the most home wins in the country over that span of time.
The following are the top five programs with the most home wins since 2004-05 (credit to Bryan McEldowney for compiling this list):
Most Home Wins Since 2004-05
1. Memphis 141
2. Ohio State 136
3. Kansas 133
4. Louisville 130
PASTNER FOURTH-QUICKEST TO 70 WINS
With the Tigers' 87-67 win over Marshall Feb. 25, Josh Pastner reached the 70-victory milestone the fourth-quickest of any Memphis head coach.
Head Coach/Years Game # for 70th Win
Bob Vanatta/1957-60 92 (70-22)
Gene Bartow/1971-74 93 (70-23)
Wayne Yates/1975-78 96 (70-26)
Josh Pastner/2010-12 98 (70-28)
John Calipari/2001-03 99 (70-29)
Larry Finch/1987-90 101 (70-31)
Dana Kirk/1980-83 108 (70-38)
Eugene Lambert/1952-56 108 (70-38)
MOST WINS FIRST THREE YEARS
Of course, head coach Josh Pastner will pass on credit to the current players, former players, current assistant coaches, former head coaches and, yes, even Tiger Nation.
But, what's on the horizon is Pastner is close to becoming the winningest head coach in Tigers hoops history for the first three years.
After the 2010-11 campaign, Pastner had 49 wins, the most victories by a Tigers head coach in his first two years.
The following shows the head coaches' win totals for their first three seasons since 1949:
Head Coach First 3 Years Wins Total
John Calipari 2001-03 71
Josh Pastner** 2010-12 70
Larry Finch 1987-89 67
Gene Bartow 1971-73 63
Wayne Yates 1975-77 61
Bob Vanatta 1957-59 56
Dana Kirk 1980-82 50
Eugene Lambert 1952-54 50
Dean Ehlers 1963-65 43
McCoy Tarry 1949-51 40
Moe Iba 1967-69 31
**Pastner's third season still on-going
NO SOPHOMORE JINX
Tiger Nation is so happy Will Barton didn't suffer from a subpar season as a sophomore.
In fact, the 6-foot-6 guard has thrived in his second year, and his scoring numbers prove it.
The Baltimore, Md., native is the team's leading scorer at 18.3 ppg and is also Conference USA's leading scorer.
Barton also is closing in one of the top sophomore scorers in the program's history. The following lists the top five sophomore scorers in Tigers history and where Barton stands:
Player/Soph. Season Points
1. Elliot Perry/1988-89 620
2. Elliot Williams/2009-10 610
3. Anfernee Hardaway/1991-92 590
4. Keith Lee/1982-83 581
5. Chris Douglas-Roberts/2006-07 538
Will Barton/2011-12 532
TIGERS ONE OF THREE IN TOP-25
Memphis is one of three teams in the nation to be ranked in the top-20 in both field goal percentage and field goal percentage defense (NCAA stats released Feb. 27).
Team FG Pct. Rank FG Pct. Def. Rank
Memphis 6 15
Kentucky 11 1
Kansas 18 7