Memphis Basketball Notes
March 3, 2009
TIGERS TO TRAVEL TO HOUSTON FOR A WEDNESDAY C-USA SHOWDOWN
The Tigers clinched their fourth-straight Conference USA regular season title with their victory over UAB on Feb. 26.
Memphis enters Wednesday's encounter on a 20-game win streak, which is currently the longest in the nation. The win streak began on Dec. 22 with an 87-49 victory over Drexel. The streak also includes wins over Cincinnati 60-45, Northeastern 80-48, Lamar 108-75, Marshall 80-57, UCF 73-66, Tulsa (away) 55-54, UAB (home) 81-68, Rice 80-52, Tennessee 54-52, East Carolina 85-64, Houston (home) 83-68, SMU (away) 79-66, No. 18/18 Gonzaga 68-50, Tulsa (home) 63-37, Southern Miss (away) 72-47, SMU (home) 90-47, UTEP 70-63, UAB (away) 71-60 and Southern Miss (home) 58-42.
Houston has won six of its last eight games entering Wednesday's encounter. The Cougars are still battling for a first-round bye in the Conference USA Tournament. After a Jan. 31 setback to Memphis, Houston won four-straight games and then has gone 2-2 in its last four outings. The Cougars defeated cross-town rival Rice 56-51 in their last game on Feb. 28.
SCOUTING THE COUGARS
Four of the Cougars' five starters average double figures in the scoring column. Junior Aubrey Coleman leads the squad with a 19.7 average (third in C-USA). Kelvin Lewis (18.2 ppg; fourth in C-USA), Marcus Cousin (11.5 ppg) and Qa'rraan Calhoun (10.1 ppg) also average double digits for Houston. Cousin leads the Cougars on the glass at 8.7 rpg (third in C-USA), while Coleman is a close second at 7.9 rpg (fourth in C-USA). Desmond Wade is tops on the team with 100 assists (3.7 apg). Lewis (36.9 percent) and Calhoun (37.4 percent) are Houston's top threats from the arc.
Houston is shooting 42.7 percent from the floor, 32.3 percent from the three-point line and 75.2 percent from the free throw line. Opponents are out-rebounding the Cougars by a narrow margin of +0.9 boards per game (37.9-38.8).
CALIPARI A FINALIST FOR IBA, PHELAN NATIONAL COACH OF THE YEAR AWARDS
It is the second-straight year Calipari is a finalist for both awards. Last year, Calipari was named the 2007-08 Naismith National Coach of the Year for the second time in his career. Calipari and Duke's Mike Krzyzewski are the only two-time recipients of the Naismith National Coach of the Year honor.
In addition to Calipari, the coaches nominated for the Iba Award are: Mike Anderson (Missouri), Jeff Capel (Oklahoma), Jamie Dixon (Pittsburgh), Mike Montgomery (California), Stew Morrill (Utah State), Matt Painter (Purdue), Oliver Purnell (Clemson), Bill Self (Kansas) and Brad Stevens (Butler).
Joining Calipari as finalists for the Phelan Award are: Jim Calhoun (Connecticut), Dixon (Pittsburgh), Darrin Horn (South Carolina), Trent Johnson (LSU), Lorenzo Romar (Washington), Self (Kansas), Stevens (Butler), Bruce Weber (Illinois) and Roy Williams (North Carolina).
TIGERS CLAIM FOURTH-STRAIGHT OUTRIGHT C-USA TITLE
With the win over UAB, the Tigers claimed the C-USA regular season title outright for a fourth-straight year. This is the first time in school history that the Memphis basketball program has won four-consecutive league titles outright.
The Conference USA regular season crown is Memphis' fourth-straight and fifth in the last six seasons. Memphis shared the 2003-04 C-USA regular season title and then claimed the league's outright championships in 2005-06, 2006-07, 2007-08 and 2008-09.
TIGERS TIE A C-USA RECORD
The Bearcats won four-straight C-USA outright regular season titles from 1997-2000. The Tigers have tied the feat, winning the last four C-USA regular season championships.
MEMPHIS GETS TOURNEY'S TOP SEED
SCORE COULD BE SOARING ON WEDNESDAY...
The Cougars lead the league in scoring offense at 77.2 ppg. Memphis is second in Conference USA in scoring offense at 75.4 ppg. The teams also are at the top in scoring margin in C-USA, with Memphis first (+16.8) and Houston second (+9.4).
IF THERE IS AN ADVANTAGE...
For the Cougars, their advantage comes at the charity stripe. Houston is first in the league from the free throw line at 75.2 percent, while Memphis is 10th at 69.2 percent.
BATTLE OF THE TURNOVER WILLS
However, both squads also do great jobs at protecting the ball. Houston leads C-USA in the fewest turnovers per game at 9.9. Memphis is not far behind, averaging 12.8 miscues per game (fifth in C-USA).
In the Jan. 31 meeting (83-68 Tiger win), Memphis forced 13 Houston turnovers. The Cougars forced 17 Tiger miscues.
A HOMECOMING FOR A TIGER
The son of legendary Houston Hoops AAU coach Hal Pastner, Josh played and coached Houston Hoops while in high school. He continued to coach the Houston Hoops squad during his college days and led the team to the 1999 Nike National summer championship and 2000 Global World championship.
A MEMORABLE LAST TRIP TO HOFHEINZ
The Lithonia, Ga., native scored his 21 points on 9-of-13 field goals, 1-of-3 treys and 2-of-2 free throws. The nine field goals made are a career high.
This year, Dozier set a new career high in scoring with 23 points in a 63-37 victory over Tulsa on Feb. 11.
WHICH DEFENSE IS BETTER?
2007-08 Stat 2008-09
WE'RE TALKING DEFENSE
Opp FG Pct. 3P Pct. Reb Blk Stl
FEBRUARY FRIENDLY FOR TIGERS...
Last year, the Tigers posted a 7-1 record in February, and the program's February win streak reached 20 straight before a Feb. 23, 2008, setback to Tennessee. Also included in that 55-12 overall mark is a 16-game winning streak in the month of February from 2001-02 through 2003-04.
...BUT MARCH IS WHAT IT'S ALL ABOUT
Calipari has an 85-27 record (.759 winning percentage) in games played in March. Last year, Memphis posted a perfect 10-0 record in the month of March.
In his previous 16 years as a collegiate head coach, Calipari guided his teams to 15 postseasons (10 NCAA, five NIT). He led UMass to the 1996 NCAA Final Four and Memphis to the 2008 NCAA title game and 2002 NIT championship.
For more notes on the Memphis-Houston game, click on pdf link at the top of the page.