Feb. 28, 2014
|| #21/22 Memphis (21-7, 10-5) at #7/4 Louisville (24-4, 13-2)
||Saturday, March 1 - 1 p.m. CT | FedExForum | Memphis, Tenn.
|| How to Follow
Tigers On TV/Radio/Web
Television: CBS Sports (Andrew Catalon, play-by-play; Mike Gminski, analyst)/Memphis Comcast channel 3
Radio: WREC 600 AM (Dave Woloshin, play-by-play; Matt Dillon, color analyst; Forrest Goodman, studio host)
SETTING THE SCENE
Memphis (21-7, 10-5 The American) returns home Mar. 1 to host longtime rival Louisville (24-4, 13-2 The American).
CBS Sports is televising Saturday's 1 p.m. (CT) American Athletic Conference encounter from FedExForum. The Memphis-Louisville game can be viewed via the web at www.cbssports.com/collegebasketball/video/cbk-live.
The Tigers are looking to bounce back Saturday after suffering a 77-68 setback at Houston Feb. 27. Prior to the Feb. 27 loss, Memphis had wins over Rutgers Feb. 20 and Temple 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. Louisville is ranked No. 7 in the AP poll and No. 4 in the coaches poll.
Memphis enters Saturday's encounter having won seven of its last 10 games. All three Tigers' setbacks in their last 10 contests were road games at SMU, Connecticut and Houston.
The Tigers are 13-2 at FedExForum this season, with both losses coming in league play.
Memphis returns three starters, but only five letterwinners from last year's squad.
Louisville is 8-1 in true road games and 9-2 in contests played away (road/neutral) from the KFC Yum! Center this season.
The Cardinals are a perfect 7-0 in road games in American Athletic Conference play.
Louisville returns two starters and seven letterwinners from last year's squad.
The Last Meeting
January 9, 2014
No. 24/22 Memphis Upsets No. 12/8 Louisville on the Road
A 7-0 run by the No. 24/22 University of Memphis men's basketball team (11-3, 2-1 American) in the final 1:24 lifted the Tigers to a 73-67 win over No. 12/8 Louisville (13-3, 2-1 American) on Thursday night at the KFC Yum! Center. The win over the Cardinals was the first for Memphis since the 2004-05 season when the Tigers won 85-68.
WHAT THE CARDINALS DID A YEAR AGO
Louisville posted a 35-5 overall record and a 14-4 BIG EAST Conference mark in 2012-13.
The Cardinals tied for the BIG EAST Conference regular-season title.
Louisville won BIG EAST Conference Tournament crown.
The Cardinals were the NCAA Tournament Midwest Region No. 1 seed.
Louisville won the 2013 NCAA title with an 82-76 victory over Michigan in the championship game.
SCOUTING THE CARDINALS
Louisville enters Saturday's rivalry match-up with a 24-4 overall record and a 13-2 American Athletic Conference mark.
Louisville has won seven straight and 11 of its last 12 contests.
In its last seven victories, the Cardinals have won by an average margin of 21.9 points.
The Cardinals were picked to win the 2013-14 American Athletic Conference title in the league's preseason coaches poll.
Russ Smith was named to the 2013-14 preseason all-conference first team, and Montrezl Harrell to the all-league second team.
Smith leads four Cardinals averaging double figures in the scoring column at 17.7 ppg (third in The American).
Harrell (13.3 ppg), Luke Hancock (11.7 ppg) and Chris Jones (10.1 ppg) also average double digits for Louisville.
Harrell is Louisville's top rebounder at 8.1 rpg (third in The American). Stephan Van Treese is the team's second-leading rebounder at 5.1 rpg.
Smith is the squad's top playmaker with 125 total assists (4.5 apg; fifth in The American) and the team's leader in steals (54 total/1.9 spg/second in The American).
Blackshear is the team's top three-point threat at 43.2 percent from the arc. Five Cardinals, including Blackshear, shoot 35 percent or better from the three-point line.
Louisville is shooting 48 percent from the field, 37.1 percent from the arc and 65.5 percent from the free throw line.
The Cardinals are out-rebounding their opponents by a margin of +3.0 boards per game (37.8-34.8).
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 earn opening-round byes.
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 10-5.
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).
SECOND IS ACTUALLY FIRST
The numbers say the Memphis-Louisville series is the second longest in Tigers basketball history.
But for Tiger Nation, the series with the Cardinals is first in terms of importance.
As for those numbers, Memphis and Louisville meet for the 89th time Saturday.
The Tigers-Cardinals series is the second-longest in Memphis basketball history.
The longest is Memphis' series with Southern Miss, which stands at 91 games.
BACK TO NORMAL
After playing the previous two seasons as non-conference opponents, Memphis and Louisville return to action as familiar foes in conference action -- at least for one season.
Memphis and Louisville became charter members of the American Athletic Conference July 1, 2013.
Prior to the two non-league encounters in 2011-12 and 2012-13, the Tigers and Cardinals had met 72 times as conference rivals.
The series began in 1948-49, but heated up when the two programs became league rivals in 1967-68 as members of the Missouri Valley Conference.
The two schools were members of the Missouri Valley Conference (1968-73), Metro Conference (1976-91) and Conference USA (1996-2005).
TIGERS HOPE FOR DEJA VU SATURDAY
While the Feb. 27 loss at Houston hurts, it also set up a possible case of déjà vu for the Tigers entering Saturday's match-up with Louisville.
The scenario is somewhat eerily similar to when the Tigers and Cardinals met Jan. 9 in Louisville, Ky.
The following details Memphis' possible déjà vu scenario Saturday:
Jan. 9 Stat/Note Mar. 1
73-67, UM Game Result ------
69-53 loss (UC) UofM Game 77-68 loss (UH)
Result Prior to
WHEN BOTH ARE RANKED
5-2 UofM 7-Game 5-2
Record Prior to
7-1 UofL 8-Game 7-1
Record Prior to
24.9 UofL Avg. Margin 21.9
of Victory in the
Considering the storied histories of both programs, it's quite amazing that Memphis and Louisville have met only 13 previous times when both teams were ranked.
The 14th encounter with both the Tigers and Cardinals ranked is set for Saturday.
The last time both teams were ranked when they played was earlier this season. No. 24 Memphis posted a 73-67 victory over the No. 12 Cardinals at the KFC Yum! Center Jan. 9.
Louisville leads the series 9-4 when both teams are in the national rankings.
The last 10 meetings with both teams ranked all were decided by single digits.
The average margin of victory in the last 10 encounters (all single-digit outcomes) was 4.7 points.
The average margin of victory in all 13 games in which both teams were ranked was 6.3 points.
The following shows the results of those ranked encounters:
Year UM Rank UL Rank Result
2013-14 21 7 ------
24 12 73-67, UM
2003-04 19 21 66-60, UL
2002-03 16 20 78-75, UL
1995-96 19 21 57-54, UM
1985-96 10 11 *88-79, UL
7 13 70-69, UL
6 17 73-71, UM
1982-83 17 3 #64-62, UL
13 9 75-66, UL
1975-76 19 8 ^79-74, UL
1971-72 11 4 %83-72, UL
20 2 80-65, UM
1955-56 15 10 85-75, UL
*Metro Tournament title game
%Missouri Valley Conference playoff game
TIGERS, CARDINALS AMONG ELITE GROUP
Memphis is among the winningest NCAA Division I programs since 2000-01 and 2005-06, but it doesn't end there.
With their victory over Rutgers Feb. 20, the Tigers posted a 20-win season and remained a member of another elite group at the NCAA Division I level.
Memphis is one of eight programs that has won 20 or more games each of the last 12 seasons (including 2013-14).
Louisville is also a member of this NCAA Division I elite group.
The following lists the eight NCAA Division I programs that have 20 or more wins the each of the last 12 years (2002-03 to 2013-14):
PASTNER VERSUS PITINO
Although this Saturday's game is the fourth time Josh Pastner
and Rick Pitino face off as head coaches, the two were on opposing sidelines two times prior to the last three match-ups.
The most memorable of the two previous Pastner-Pitino meetings came in the 1997 NCAA Tournament championship game. Pastner was a player on the Arizona squad that defeated Pitino's Kentucky team 84-79 for the NCAA title.
The next Pastner-Pitino encounter was in the 2006-07 season. Pastner was an assistant coach at Arizona that year when the Wildcats defeated Pitino's Louisville squad 72-65 in the 2006 Jimmy V Classic in New York City.
PASTNER VERSUS HALL OF FAMERS
For the seventh time in his young head coaching career, Josh Pastner is facing a Hall of Fame coach in Louisville's Rick Pitino.
Pastner is 2-4 in his previous six match-ups.
Earlier this season, Pastner posted his first win over Hall of Famer Rick Pitino when the Tigers defeated Louisville 73-67 Jan. 9.
Pastner is 1-2 in his encounters with Pitino.
Last season, Pastner led the Tigers to a 60-52 win over Hall of Famer Larry Brown's SMU squad in Dallas.
The first time Pastner faced a Hall of Fame head coach came in his first season in 2009-10.
That season, Pastner's Tigers dropped a 74-57 decision to Hall of Famer Jim Boeheim and Syracuse.
IT'S AN NCAA RING THING
Both head coaches in Saturday's Memphis-Louisville match-up have NCAA title rings.
Memphis head coach Josh Pastner won his NCAA title as a player on the 1996-97 Arizona squad. Arizona defeated Rick Pitino's Kentucky team for the championship.
The year before (1996-97), Louisville head coach Rick Pitino led Kentucky to the NCAA championship. Pitino won his second NCAA title with the Cardinals last season (2012-13).
A TRIP DOWN MEMORY LANE
Around 31 years before Memphis hired a young 32-year-old Josh Pastner to take over the Tigers hoops program in 2009, an even younger 25-year-old Rick Pitino was hired as the head coach at Boston University.
In his first four seasons at Memphis, Pastner guided the Tigers to a 106-34 record, two C-USA regular-season crowns, three C-USA Tournament titles and four-straight postseason tournaments (2011, 2012, 2013 NCAA; 2010 NIT).
In his first four years at Boston University, Pitino put together a 70-41 record and made one NIT appearance (1980).
The city of Memphis and its surrounding communities will be well represented in Saturday's contest between the Tigers and Cardinals.
The squads combine to have nine players from Memphis area on the two rosters.
Louisville has one player -- Chris Jones (Melrose HS) -- that calls the Bluff City home.
On the Tigers' side, eight players hail from the Memphis area. Chris Crawford, Markel Crawford, Trey Draper, Joe Jackson, Nick King and Jake McDowell all are from Memphis. Sophomore Anthony Cole is from Arlington and freshman Austin Nichols is from Collierville, both suburbs of Memphis.
DIMIN' AND SWIPIN'
Two reasons why Memphis and Louisville have two of the nation's top scoring offenses are both share the ball well and cause havoc on the defensive end that leads to points.
Memphis averages 17.8 assists and 8.8 steals per game. Louisville averages 15.5 assists and 9.7 steals per game.
The following shows where the Tigers and Cardinals rank nationally and in The American in assists and steals:
Team Stat Nat'l Rank Conf. Rank
Memphis Ast/Stl 3rd/8th 1st/2nd
Louisville Ast/Stl 31st/3rd 2nd/1st
BATTLE OF RANKED (SCORING) TEAMS
Saturday's game features a battle between top-30 ranked teams -- ranked teams in terms of the nation's top scoring offenses.
In the latest NCAA rankings released Feb. 24, Memphis is No. 26 in the nation in scoring offense and Louisville is No. 12.
The Tigers are second in the American Athletic Conference with a 78.8 scoring average.
The Cardinals lead The American with an 82.3 scoring average.
FOLLOWING A LOSS UNDER PASTNER
The Tigers dropped an 86-81 overtime decision at Connecticut Feb. 15.
However, Memphis has proven to be quite resilient after a loss in the Josh Pastner era, and the Tigers bounced back Feb. 20 with a 64-59 win over Rutgers.
The Tigers now have a 36-4 record (.900 winning percentage) after a loss under Pastner.
The last time Memphis suffered back-to-back losses under Pastner was in 2011-12.
The Tigers dropped single-digit outcome decisions to Murray State 76-72 at FedExForum Dec. 11, 2011, and Louisville 95-87 at the KFC Yum! Center Dec. 17, 2011.