* NOTE: Saturday Senior Day ceremonies to start at 10:40 a.m. (CT) prior to the Memphis-UAB game, which begins at 11 a.m. (CT).*
Tigers On TV/Radio/Web Television: CBS Sports Network/Comcast digital channel 222 (Dave Ryan, play-by-play; Pete Gillen, analyst) Radio: WREC 600 AM (Dave Woloshin, play-by-play; Matt Dillon, color analyst; Forrest Goodman, studio host) Web:None
SETTING THE SCENE Memphis (26-4, 15-0 C-USA) closes regular-season play Saturday, Mar. 9 when it hosts rival UAB (15-15, 7-8 C-USA) in a Conference USA encounter. The game, scheduled for an 11 a.m. (CT) start, is slated for a CBS College Sports (Memphis Comcast channel 222) telecast. The Tigers remained in the national polls for a fourth-straight week. Memphis dropped to the No. 25 spot in the Associated Press poll and No. 20 in the ESPN/USA Today coaches poll. Memphis bounced back after its Feb. 26 setback at Xavier with consecutive road wins at UCF 76-67 Mar. 2 and UTEP 56-54 Mar. 5. The Mar. 2 UCF win clinched the outright Conference USA regular season title for the Tigers. Prior to its win at UCF, Memphis had its 18-game winning streak snapped Feb. 26 when it dropped a narrow 64-62 decision at Xavier. The Tigers' previous loss came 72 days before on Dec. 15 to No. 6/6 Louisville. UAB has won six of its last eight games, including road wins at Tulsa, Marshall and Tulane. The Blazers are 4-9 on the road this season, but have won three of their last four away from Bartow Arena.
WHAT'S UP NEXT The Tigers open Conference USA Tournament action Thursday, Mar. 14 in the quarterfinal round. Opponent and game time are to be determined. The contest is slated for a CBS Sports Network telecast. The Blazers open C-USA Tournament play either Wednesday, Mar. 13 or Thursday, Mar. 14. UAB is still in a battle for fifth place, which earns a first-round bye in this year's tournament.
WHAT THE BLAZERS DID A YEAR AGO UAB posted a 15-16 overall record and a 9-7 Conference USA mark. The Blazers finished in fifth place in the C-USA regular-season standings. UAB defeated Tulane 72-64 in its C-USA Tournament opening-round game, before dropping a 64-54 decision to UCF in the quarterfinal.
SCOUTING THE BLAZERS UAB enters Saturday's rivalry showdown with a 15-15 overall record and a 7-8 Conference USA mark. The Blazers are 6-2 in their last eight outings, including road victories at Tulsa Feb. 6, Marshall Feb. 23 and Tulane Feb. 27. UAB is 4-9 overall on the road this season, but has won three of its last four games away from Bartow Arena. Junior Rod Rucker leads a trio of double-figure scorers with a 14.4 average. Jordan Swing (13.9 ppg) and Fahro Alihodzic (10.0 ppg) also average double figures. Rucker (8.3 rpg) and Robert Williams (6.0 rpg) lead the Blazers on the glass. Terence Jones leads the team with 114 total assists (3.8 apg). Four Blazers -- Williams (37.5 percent), Swing (36.7), Preston Purifoy (36.4) and Quincy Taylor (35.7) -- all shoot over 35 percent from the three-point line. UAB is shooting 43.4 percent from the floor, 33.6 percent from the three-point line and 73.4 percent from the charity stripe. The Blazers are out-rebounding their opponents by an average margin of +2.7 boards per game (37.3-34.6).
TIGERS TO CELEBRATE "SENIOR DAY" SATURDAY Prior to Saturday's game versus UAB (approximately 10:40 a.m. CT), Memphis will honor its four seniors -- Ferrakohn Hall, Charles Holt, Stan Simpson and D.J. Stephens -- in "Senior Day" ceremonies. All four seniors are on pace to graduate in May 2013. 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 16-2 record (.889 winning percentage) in its last 18 "Senior Day" contests, including winning the last seven (2006-12). The lone two "Senior Day" setbacks in the previous 18 seasons both were to Cincinnati in the 1998-99 and 2004-05 campaigns. Last year, the Tigers defeated UCF 84-55 on "Senior Night" Feb. 28, 2012. The last time UAB was Memphis' "Senior Day/Night" opponent was the 2007-08 campaign. The Tigers won that match-up 94-56 Mar. 8, 2008.
MEMPHIS "SENIOR DAY" SUCCESS UNDER PASTNER Prior to this week's "Senior Day/Night" tour, the Tigers played six "Senior Day/Night" games -- either their own or opponents -- under head coach Josh Pastner. After UCF's "Senior Day" game Mar. 2 and UTEP's "Senior Night" game Mar. 5, Memphis has played in eight "Senior Day/Night" contests under Pastner. Memphis has a 7-1 record (.875 winning percentage) in those "Senior Day/Night" games. To take it further, the Tigers are 14-1 (.933 winning percentage) in "Senior Day/Night" games since Conference USA realigned prior to the 2005-06 campaign. The following shows Memphis' "Senior Day/Night" games success since 2005-06:
Year Opponent Result
2012-13 at UTEP 56-54, W
at UCF 76-67, W
2011-12 at Tulsa 78-66, W
vs. UCF# 84-55, W
2010-11 vs. Tulane# 66-61, W
at East Carolina 57-68, L
2009-10 vs. Tulsa# 75-53, W
at UAB 70-65, W
2008-09 vs. Tulane# 74-47, W
2007-08 vs. UAB# 94-56, W
at SMU 72-55, W
2006-07 at SMU 64-61, W
at UTEP 78-67, W
vs. Houston# 77-64, W
2005-06 vs. Houston# 69-62, W
# home "Senior Day/Night" games
TIGERS SECURE OUTRIGHT RECORD SIXTH C-USA TITLE With its 76-67 win over UCF Mar. 2, Memphis claimed its sixth outright Conference USA regular season championship. The six outright regular season titles are a Conference USA record. Overall, the Tigers have eight C-USA regular season crowns, which ties them with Cincinnati for the most league regular season titles. The following breaks down Memphis' and Cincinnati's C-USA regular season crowns:
GOING FOR PERFECTION TIMES FOUR For the fourth time in the last seven seasons, Memphis is eyeing a perfect Conference USA record. Memphis enters Saturday's regular-season finale with a 15-0 league mark. If successful, the 2012-13 Tigers would tie four other teams in C-USA history to have a perfect 16-0 league regular season. The other four teams to do so are the 2008-09, 2007-08 and 2006-07 Memphis teams and the 1999-2000 Cincinnati squad.
ONE OF THREE With a win Saturday, the Tigers would finish the Conference USA season with a perfect 16-0 league mark. If successful, Memphis would be only the third team at the NCAA Division I level to finish the 2012-13 season undefeated in league play and the following shows that:
Team Conference Record
Norfolk State MEAC 16-0
Gonzaga West Coast 16-0
Memphis* Conference USA 15-0
*regular season still in progress
PASTNER HAS WIN NO. 100 With the Tigers' 76-67 win at UCF Mar. 2, head coach Josh Pastner recorded the 100th victory of his career. Pastner's record stands at 101-33. Pastner is the sixth head coach in Tigers basketball history to record 100 career wins. The other five Memphis head coaches are Larry Finch (220 wins), John Calipari(214), Zach Curlin (173), Dana Kirk (158) and Bob Vanatta (109).
TIGERS SENIORS EARN WIN NO. 100 With the Tigers' 76-67 win over UCF Mar. 2, four-year seniors Charles Holt and D.J. Stephens won their 100th game wearing the Blue and Gray (seniors Ferrakohn Hall and Stan Simpson are two-year seniors for the Tigers). The Tigers' current four-year senior class has a record of 101-33 (.754 winning percentage). The following lists the top-five winningest four-year senior classes in school history:
Four-Year Class Wins
2005-06 to 2008-09 137*
2006-07 to 2009-10 127
2004-05 to 2007-08 126
1983-84 to 1986-87 111
2002-03; 2004-05 to 2006-07 111
2009-10 to present 101
SEVEN IN A ROW Winning 100 games in a four-year playing career is becoming common in Tigers hoops. When this season's four-year seniors won their 100th game Mar. 2, it marked the seventh-consecutive, four-year senior class to reach the 100-win milestone. (Note: The 2010-11 team did not have a four-year senior; Will Coleman was a two-year senior after transferring from Miami Dade College) The following shows the Tigers' seven-straight, four-year senior classes that won 100 games:
2009-10 to 2012-13 101
2008-09 to 2011-12 108
2006-07 to 2009-10 127
2005-06 to 2008-09 137*
2004-05 to 2007-08 126
2002-03; 2004-05 to 2006-07 111
2002-03 to 2005-06 100
GET YOUR TRACK SHOES ON Saturday's hoops contest could turn into a track meet. Memphis and UAB both rank among the top-five scoring offenses in Conference USA. In the C-USA statistical leaders, the Tigers are third in scoring offense (74.5), while the Blazers have C-USA's fifth-leading scoring offense (72.2).
DISHIN' AND THIEVIN' The winner of Saturday's Memphis-UAB match-up could depend on which team shares and takes care of the ball. The Tigers and Blazers rank among the top-four in C-USA in both assists and steals. Memphis is second in both assists (16.9) and steals (8.9). UAB is third in assists (16.4) and fourth in steals (8.9).
IT'S AN NCAA RING THING Both head coaches in Saturday's Memphis-UAB match-up have NCAA title rings. Memphis head coach Josh Pastner won his NCAA title as a player on the 1996-97 Arizona squad. UAB head coach Jarod Haase won his NCAA rings as the Director of Operations on Roy Williams' staff at North Carolina in 2004-05 and 2008-09.
A 1997 NCAA TOURNAMENT REUNION Saturday's game is a reunion of a 1997 NCAA Tournament regional contest played in Birmingham, and both head coaches were involved in that contest. On Mar. 23, 1997, Kansas, the Southeast Region No. 1 seed, faced the region's No. 4 seed Arizona in a regional semifinal match-up at the Birmingham Jefferson Convention Complex. On the opposing benches -- as collegiate players -- that night were Josh Pastner for Arizona and Jarod Haase for Kansas. In an upset, Pastner's Arizona squad defeated Haase's Kansas team 85-82. Arizona went on to win the 1997 NCAA title.
C-USA WINNINGEST PROGRAMS MEET SATURDAY Saturday's contest features Conference USA's top-two winningest programs in the league's history. Memphis has the most league victories in C-USA history with 214 wins. On Jan. 9, the Tigers became the first program in C-USA history to reach the 200-win milestone. UAB is C-USA's second-winningest program with 165 all-time league victories.
THE FIRST TO NO. 200 With their Jan. 9 win over East Carolina, the Tigers made both program and Conference USA history. It was Memphis' 200th C-USA victory, becoming the first school in league history to reach that milestone. Memphis' C-USA wins are the most victories in any league in the program's history. The Tigers' second-most wins in conference play were 111 in the Metro Conference from 1976-91. The following lists the top-five winningest programs in Conference USA play (league wins only):
Southern Miss 126
TIGERS SUCCESS AT FEDEXFORUM The Tigers have a 161-18 overall record (.899 winning percentage) at FedExForum since moving to the arena for the 2004-05 campaign. Since the 2005 Conference USA Tournament, Memphis has won 151 of its last 163 home games (.926 winning percentage). Against Conference USA foes (regular season and tournament) at FedExForum since 2004-05, the Tigers have an 82-7 mark (.921 winning percentage). Under head coach Josh Pastner, Memphis is 31-3 (.912 winning percentage) against C-USA opponents.
BEST HOMECOURT ADVANTAGE Since 2004-05, Memphis has won 161 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 former Memphis Athletics Communications Assistant Bryan McEldowney for compiling this list; credit to Travis Chell for updates):
Most Home Wins Since 2004-05
(as of Mar. 8)
1. Memphis 161
2. Ohio State 151
3. Kansas 150
4. Syracuse 149
5. Louisville 145
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' 161-18 overall record. But, it is even tougher for Conference USA foes since conference realignment in 2005-06. Memphis has an incredible 74-3 record (.961 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 and Travis Chell for its updates this season):
Best Homecourt Records In
Conference Play Only (Reg. Season & Tourney)
1. Gonzaga 59-2 (.967)
2. Memphis 74-3 (.961)
3. Kansas 62-4 (.939)
4. Belmont 67-7 (.905)
5. Xavier 57-7 (.891)
6. Butler 66-9 (.880)
7. BYU 56-8 (.875)
8. Utah State 55-8 (.873)
9. Ohio State 60-9 (.870)
10. Wisconsin 60-10 (.857)
MARCH IS WHAT IT'S ALL ABOUT The month of March is what all college basketball teams play for, so squads want to be playing their best at that time. The Tigers have had a long history of success in March, and they hope to continue that this year. Since 1999-2000, Memphis has an impressive 72-26 record (.735 winning percentage) when playing in March. The Tigers' record is even better in March since 2004-05, as they are 53-15 (.779 winning percentage). The Tigers are 14-5 (.737 winning percentage) in March under Josh Pastner.