Memphis/Conference USA Tournament Notes
Go Tigers! Robert Dozier and the Tigers open C-USA Tournament play on Thursday.
Go Tigers!
Robert Dozier and the Tigers open C-USA Tournament play on Thursday.
Go Tigers!

March 11, 2009

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NO. 4/3 TIGERS TO MEET EAST CAROLINA-TULANE WINNER IN C-USA TOURNEY QUARTERFINAL THURSDAY
The University of Memphis squad (28-3, 16-0 C-USA), ranked No. 4 in the Associated Press poll and No. 3 in ESPN/USA Today poll, opens Conference USA Tournament play Thursday, Mar. 12 in the quarterfinal round. The Tigers are the tournament's No. 1 seed and will meet either No. 8 seed Tulane (13-16, 7-9 C-USA) or No. 9 seed East Carolina (13-16, 5-11 C-USA) in that quarterfinal game.

The contest, to be televised by Comcast Sports Southeast (CSS; Memphis cable channel 6), is slated for a 6:00 p.m. (CT) start.

Memphis finished the 2008-09 C-USA regular season with a perfect 16-0 league mark. It was the Tigers' fourth-straight C-USA regular season title, and the third-consecutive year they posted an unblemished record in league play.

Memphis enters the C-USA Tournament on a 22-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, Southern Miss (home) 58-42, Houston (away) 69-60 and Tulane 74-47.

Tulane has won three of its last four games entering the C-USA Tournament. The Green Wave won three straight with victories over Marshall, Southern Miss and UTEP from Feb. 21-28, before a regular-season finale setback to Memphis Mar. 7. East Carolina is on a five-game skid entering the Conference USA Tournament. The Pirates dropped a narrow 74-71 decision at UCF in their regular-season finale Mar. 7. East Carolina's last victory was a 91-88 overtime win over Rice Feb. 14.

SCOUTING THE PIRATES
East Carolina brings a 13-16 overall record into the Conference USA Tournament. The Pirates posted a 5-11 C-USA mark and finished ninth in the league standings. East Carolina is on a five-game skid entering the tournament. The Pirates dropped a narrow 74-71 decision at UCF in their regular-season finale Mar. 7. East Carolina's last victory was a 91-88 overtime win over Rice Feb. 14.

The Pirates have a record of 0-5 in Conference USA Tournament play.

Four of East Carolina's five starters average double figures. Sam Hinnant leads the way with a 14.9 ppg, followed by James Legan at 12.1 ppg, Brock Young at 10.9 ppg and Jamar Abrams at 10.0 ppg. Darrius Morrow leads the squad with a 6.5 rebounding average, while Young is tops on the team with 221 assists (7.6 apg; leads C-USA). Four Pirates -- Abrams (43.8 percent), Legan (40.9 percent), Jontae Sherrod (39.5 percent) and Hinnant (36.4 percent) -- all shoot better than 35 percent from the three-point line.

East Carolina is shooting 44.3 percent from the field, 38.1 percent from the arc and 73.3 percent from the free throw line. Opponents are out-rebounding the Pirates by an average margin of +2.1 boards per game (34.0-36.1).

SCOUTING THE GREEN WAVE
Tulane enters the Conference USA Tournament with a 13-16 overall record. The Green Wave have a 7-9 league record and finished eighth in the conference standings.

Tulane has won three of its last four games entering the tournament. The Green Wave won three straight with victories over Marshall, Southern Miss and UTEP from Feb. 21-28, before a regular-season finale setback to Memphis Mar. 7.

The Green Wave have a 6-13 record in their history in the C-USA Tournament.

The trio of Kevin Sims, Kris Richard and Robinson Louisme paces the Green Wave offense. Sims leads the team with a 13.0 scoring average, while Richard (10.9 ppg) and Louisme (10.6 ppg) also average double figures in the scoring column. Louisme leads Tulane on the glass with a 6.9 rebounding average, and Sims is tops on the team with 115 assists (4.0 apg). Sims (39.7 percent) and Eric Vianney (36 percent) are the Green Wave's top three-point threats.

Tulane is shooting 42.5 percent from the floor, 32.6 percent from the arc and 67.6 percent from the free throw line. Opponents are out-rebounding the Green Wave by a narrow margin of +1.4 boards per contest (33.5-34.9).

CALIPARI IN NINTH YEAR AT HELM OF TIGER PROGRAM
John Calipari (Clarion State, 1982) is in his ninth season at the helm of the Memphis Tiger basketball program. He has a 247-68 record (.784 winning percentage) at Memphis.

The 2008-09 season is his 17th as a collegiate head coach. The Moon, Pa., native has an overall collegiate coaching record of 440-139 (.760 winning percentage). While at Memphis, Calipari has led the Tigers to nine-straight 20-win seasons and eight-consecutive postseason berths.

Memphis-East Carolina Notes

BATTLE AT THE (THREE-POINT) ARC
Thursday's game features a battle of wills at the three-point line. East Carolina enters the contest as the second-best, three-point shooting team in Conference USA at 38.1 percent. The Pirates lead the league in treys made at 8.79 per game. Furthermore, senior guard James Legan is second C-USA in three-point field goal percentage at 40.9 percent, and senior guard Sam Hinnant is ranked sixth at 36.4 percent.

On the other side, the Tigers are second in three-point field goal percentage defense in C-USA at 30.4 percent.

East Carolina also defends the three-point line well, as its opponents are shooting only 32.2 percent from the arc (fifth in C-USA).

COULD BE AN OFFENSIVE SHOOTOUT, BUT...
Memphis and East Carolina are two of the highest scoring teams in Conference USA. The Tigers are third in scoring offense in C-USA at 75.1 ppg, and the Pirates are fourth at 73.0 ppg.

However, East Carolina is facing the top scoring defense in C-USA. The Tigers are first in scoring defense in the league, holding the opposition to 58.2 ppg. On the other side, the Pirates are 12th in scoring defense in C-USA at 74.0 ppg.

IF THERE IS AN ADVANTAGE...
For the Tigers, it will come on the glass. Memphis is second in Conference USA in rebound margin at +5.8. East Carolina ranks 11th in the league in rebound margin at -2.1.

For the Pirates, their advantage comes at the charity stripe. East Carolina is third in the league from the free throw line at 73.3 percent, while Memphis is ninth at 69.3 percent.

TOUGH TO TURN OVER
Head coach John Calipari enjoys defense, and the 2008-09 Tiger defense has created havoc for its opponents, which can be seen in its turnover numbers. Memphis leads Conference USA in forcing turnovers at 16.1 miscues per game.

However, the Tigers face a tough job on Thursday when they meet East Carolina. The Pirates only turn the ball over 12.2 times per contest, which is the fourth-lowest in C-USA.

NOT A CLOSE SERIES IN FEDEXFORUM
Although the Pirates played the Tigers close in their 2004-05 encounter (72-66 win), the average margin of victory in the three meetings in the Bluff City is over 20 points for the home team. Memphis' average margin of victory over East Carolina in FedExForum is 23.7 ppg.

Last year, the Tigers posted a 41-point win over the Pirates (99-58).

Memphis-Tulane Notes

LOPSIDED SERIES OF LATE
The Memphis-Tulane series has had some close calls in its history, but not in recent meetings. The Tigers have won the last eight encounters by an average of 28.3 points per win. The closest outcomes in the last eight games were two 19-point Memphis victories (both 75-56 scores) in the 2006 and 2008 Conference USA Tournament quarterfinals.

In the 2008-09 regular-season finale Mar. 7, Memphis posted a 74-47 win over Tulane.

DEFENSIVE SIMILARITIES...
Thursday's game may get a little defensive as both Memphis and Tulane are near the top of Conference USA in a couple of defensive categories, and the following shows that (C-USA rank follows stat):

	Memphis	Stat	Tulane
58.2/1st Scoring Defense 67.1/5th
6.16/1st Blocks 3.28/6th
9.03/1st Steals 7.59/3rd
16.1/1st TO Forced 15.4/3rd

...AND DEFENSIVE DIFFERENCES
While the teams have their similarities, there are a couple of statistical categories in which Memphis and Tulane are different. The following shows those differences (C-USA rank follows stat):

	Memphis	Stat	Tulane
36.8/1st FG Pct. Defense 44.4/8th
30.4/2nd 3-pt. FG Pct. Defense 35.0/8th
+5.9/2nd Rebound Margin -1.4/10th

Memphis/C-USA Tournament Notes

MEMPHIS IN C-USA TOURNEY
The Tigers have played in every Conference USA Tournament since 1996, and have a 16-10 record (.615 winning percentage) in the league's postseason classic. This is the eighth time in the last nine years that Memphis earned a first-round bye in the tournament. The 2005 tournament was the only time in the last nine years that the Tigers had to play a first round game.

Memphis is this year's C-USA Tournament No. 1 seed, and it is the fourth-straight season the Tigers are the tournament's top seed. Memphis has been the No. 1, No. 2, No. 3, No. 4, No. 7, No. 8 and No. 11 seed in past C-USA Tournaments.

In Conference USA Tournaments held in Memphis (1996, 2000, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008), the Tigers have a 14-3 mark (.824 winning percentage). The Tigers won the championship in 2006, 2007 and 2008, and reached the semifinals in 1996, the second round in 2000 and the championship game in 2005.

Under head coach John Calipari, the Tigers have a 14-5 record (.737 winning percentage) in the C-USA Tournament. The following shows the Tigers' seed and record in the C-USA Tournament year-by-year:

Year	Seed	Record
2009 1 ----
2008# 1 3-0
2007# 1 3-0
2006# 1 3-0
2005^ 7 3-1
2004 2 0-1
2003* 2 1-1
2002 3 0-1
2001* 4 1-1
2000 11 1-1
1999 8 0-1
1998 3 0-1
1997 4 0-1
1996* 2 1-1
Totals -- 16-10
Under Calipari -- 14-5
# C-USA champion
* Advanced to the C-USA semifinals
^ Advanced to the C-USA Championship Game

MEMPHIS IN THE POSTSEASON IN THE BLUFF CITY
The Tigers have an all-time record of 27-8 (.771 winning percentage) in conference postseason tournament games played in the Bluff City. Memphis is 14-3 (.824 winning percentage) in Conference USA Tournament games played on its homecourt.

The Tigers have hosted one Mississippi Valley Conference Tournament (1930), five Metro Conference Tournaments (1977, 1979, 1982, 1984, 1988), one Great Midwest Conference Tournament (1993) and seven Conference USA Tournaments (1996, 2000, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009). Memphis won the 1982 and 1984 Metro Conference and the 2006, 2007 and 2008 Conference USA titles on its homecourt.

TIGERS GOING FOR C-USA TOURNEY TITLE TIE
If Memphis can win the 2009 C-USA Tournament crown, it would be the Tigers' fourth tournament championship. The four tourney titles would tie Cincinnati's four postseason crowns.

The Bearcats won the 1996, 1998, 2002 and 2004 C-USA Tournaments. Memphis has the second-most C-USA Tournament titles with three (2006, 2007, 2008). The Tigers are the only C-USA program to have won three-straight league tournament championships.

Memphis Notes

THIRTY TIMES FOUR/PART I
With two more victories, Memphis will go down in the record books as the first school in NCAA Division I history to record four-consecutive 30-win seasons. The Tigers enter the C-USA Tournament with a 28-3 overall record.

Last season, Memphis became only the second school in NCAA Division I history to have three-straight 30-win campaigns. The Tigers joined Kentucky (1947-49; 1996-98) in that select group. Last year's UCLA squad also joined the club after Memphis did so.

THIRTY TIMES FOUR/PART II
If the Tigers can win two more games, their head coach will be the first to join an elite club in NCAA Division I history. With two more wins, Memphis would reach 30 victories for the fourth-consecutive year under head coach John Calipari. The four-straight 30-win seasons would make Calipari the first in NCAA Division I history to accomplish the feat.

Last year, Calipari became the second coach in NCAA Division I history to have three-straight 30-win seasons, joining Kentucky's Adolph Rupp (1947-49). UCLA's Ben Howland became the third coach to join the club.

Calipari led the Tigers to 33-4 records in 2005-06 and 2006-07 and an NCAA record 38-2 mark in 2007-08. Memphis enters the C-USA Tournament with a 28-3 mark.

For more Memphis/C-USA Tournament notes, click on pdf link at the top of the page.

 

 

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