**NOTE: Tigers fan, click on 2011-12 Memphis Yearbook at bottom of this page.**
Tigers On TV/Radio/Web Television: TBS/Comcast digital channel 27 (Tim Brando, play-by-play; Mike Gminski, color analyst; Otis Livingston, sideline reporter) Radio: WREC 600 AM (Dave Woloshin, play-by-play; Matt Dillon, color analyst; Forrest Goodman, studio host) Web: www.ncaa.com
SETTING THE SCENE
Memphis (26-8, 13-3 C-USA) opens play in the 2012 NCAA Tournament West Region Friday, Mar. 16 when it faces Saint Louis (25-7, 12-4 A-10) in Columbus, Ohio. The NCAA Tournament second-round contest, to be televised on TBS (Comcast digital channel 27), is slated for a 5:50 p.m. (CT) start at Nationwide Arena.
The Tigers appeared in the Also Receiving Votes category of both national polls this week (No. 29 AP, No. 29 coaches). Saint Louis appeared in the Also Receiving Votes category of this week's coaches poll (No. 36).
The Tigers swept the C-USA regular season and tournament championships.
Memphis is on a seven-game win streak with four regular-season wins over East Carolina, Marshall, UCF and Tulsa and three C-USA Tournament victories over UTEP, UCF and Marshall. The seven-game win streak is the longest of the season for the Tigers.
The Billikens enter the NCAA Tournament having won three of their last four and nine of their last 11.
Saint Louis has a 4-1 record in neutral site games in 2011-12, including a 3-0 mark in the 76 Classic tournament back in November.
WHAT'S UP NEXT...
The winner of Friday's Memphis-Saint Louis NCAA Tournament second-round game advances to the third round Sunday, Mar. 18 to face the Michigan State-LIU Brooklyn winner. Game time is TBA at Nationwide Arena.
Saint Louis Notes
WHAT THE BILLIKENS DID LAST YEAR
Saint Louis posted a 12-19 overall record and a 6-10 A-10 Conference mark (T10th place).
The Billikens lost to Rhode Island 70-61 in the opening round of the Atlantic 10 Tournament.
Saint Louis did not participate in any of the 2011 postseason tournaments.
SCOUTING THE BILLIKENS
Saint Louis, the West Region No. 9 seed, enters the NCAA Tournament with a 25-7 record.
The Billikens finished second in the Atlantic 10 regular season with a 12-4 league record.
Saint Louis was the A-10 Tournament No. 2 seed and defeated La Salle in the quarterfinal round before falling to Xavier in the semifinal.
Of the Billikens seven setbacks, six were by single digits. The average margin of loss in the six single-digit losses was 5.3 points.
Senior forward Brian Conklin leads a trio of double-figure scorers with a 13.9 scoring average.
Kwamain Mitchell (12.1 ppg) and Cody Ellis (10.5 ppg) also average double digits for the Billikens.
Sophomore Dwayne Evans leads Saint Louis on the boards with a 7.3 rebounding average (seventh in A-10). Conklin is second on the team with a 4.8 rebounding average.
Mitchell leads the squad with 122 assists (3.8 apg; ninth in A-10) and 42 steals. Mike McCall Jr. is second in both assists (69) and steals (39).
Ellis (39.5 percent) and Mitchell (36.4 percent) are the Billikens' top three-point threats.
Saint Louis is shooting 45.2 percent from the field, 36.2 percent from the arc and 71.6 percent from the free throw line.
The Billikens are out-rebounding their opponents by an average margin of +1.6 boards per game (32.8-31.2).
FORMER CONFERENCE FOES MEET
For the first time since the 1988-89 season, Memphis and Saint Louis meet as non-conference foes on the basketball court.
The Tigers and Billikens were longtime conference rivals in the Missouri Valley (1968-73), Metro (1976-82), Great Midwest (1992-95) and Conference USA (1996-2005) leagues.
Memphis and Saint Louis have played nine previous times as non-league opponents, and the Tigers hold a narrow 5-4 edge in those meetings.
THE SERIES LAST TEN
Prior to Conference USA realignment in 2005, the Memphis-Saint Louis series was a "close-call" one.
Of the last 10 meetings, eight were decided by single digits.
The average margin of victory in those 10 contests was 7.9 points. Memphis holds a 6-4 lead in the last 10 encounters.
TIGERS-BILLIKENS POSTSEASON BATTLES
The Tigers and Billikens have met eight previous times in postseason play, with all the encounters coming in conference tourmament action.
Memphis holds a 7-1 series lead in those eight postseason meetings.
Memphis won the first six postseason encounters, but Saint Louis won the 2004 tournament meeting (72-61 win). The Tigers won the 2005 tourney game 79-59 in Memphis.
Four of the eight encounters have been decided by single digits, with two other games won by only 11 points. The average margin of victory in the eight games is 10.3 points (82 total points).
The following are the previous postseason results between the two programs:
TIGERS VERSUS MAJERUS
The Tigers have faced a Rick Majerus team on two occasions in the 2000-01 campaign. However, Majerus was not on the sideline in either meeting.
The Tigers played Majerus' Utah team in the Puerto Rico Shootout in November of 2000 and then faced the Utes again in the postseason NIT.
Memphis and Utah split the meetings, with the Utes taking a 61-58 decision in Puerto Rico and Memphis winning 71-62 in an NIT first-round contest at Utah.
Majerus, though, did not coach in either game as he took a personal leave of absence after the 2000-01 season opener.
IT'S A RING THING
Friday's NCAA Tournament second-round game features two head coaches with NCAA national championship rings. One won his as a player, while the other as an assistant.
Memphis head coach Josh Pastner was a freshman on the 1996-97 Arizona squad that won the 1997 NCAA championship.
Saint Louis head coach Rick Majerus was an assistant coach on Al McGuire's Marquette staff that helped the Golden Eagles (then Warriors) to the 1977 NCAA title with an emotional victory over North Carolina. The game was McGuire's final as a head coach as he retired after the NCAA title game.
Pastner also made another trip to the NCAA Final Four in 2001 as a member of Lute Olson's staff. The Wildcats finished as NCAA runner-up, losing in the title game to Duke.
Majerus made another NCAA Final Four trip in 1998 as Utah's head coach. The Utes advanced to the NCAA title game, losing to Kentucky.
PASTNER VS. MAJERUS IN NCAA
Friday's NCAA Tournament second-round game is the first time Josh Pastner and Rick Majerus will face off as head coaches.
However, Pastner and Majerus were on opposite benches in a previous NCAA Tournament encounter, and Majerus' squad won the game.
The meeting came in the 1998 NCAA Tournament West Region final with Pastner a sophomore on the defending NCAA champion Arizona team and Majerus coaching his Utah squad.
Led by Andre Miller and Michael Doleac, Majerus' Utah team posted an impressive 76-51 win over Arizona to advance to the NCAA Final Four in San Antonio.
Pastner's Arizona team finished the year with a 30-5 overall record and a Pac-10 regular season championship (17-1 league record).
MEMPHIS VERSUS THE ATLANTIC 10
Memphis has an all-time record of 64-64 against current members of the Atlantic 10 Conference.
The Tigers have played Charlotte (8-6), Dayton (7-12), Duquesne (0-2), Fordham (2-1), George Washington (0-1), La Salle (1-1), Massachusetts (1-2), Rhode Island (0-1), Richmond (4-0), St. Bonaventure (1-1), Saint Joseph's (1-1), Saint Louis (32-25), Temple (5-5) and Xavier (2-6).
The last time the Tigers played an Atlantic 10 foe was earlier this season. In fact, the Tigers played two A-10 foes in 2011-12.
Memphis defeated Charlotte 67-58 on Dec. 31 and Xavier 72-68 on Feb. 4 at FedExForum.
PASTNER VERSUS THE ATLANTIC 10
Josh Pastner has coached the Tigers against three Atlantic 10 opponents in his three seasons and is 2-1 in those contests.
In addition to playing Charlotte and Xavier in 2011-12, Pastner's Tigers faced UMass in Boston in the 2009-10 campaign. Memphis dropped a narrow 73-72 decision to the Minutemen.
BATTLE OF (SCORING) WILLS
Friday's game may come down to which team can continue its consistent play. For Memphis, it's on the offensive end, and for Saint Louis, it's defense.
The following shows the battle and where the teams rank in their respective conferences:
MEMPHIS IN THE NCAA TOURNEY
The Tigers are playing in their 24th NCAA Tournament in 2012. Memphis has an overall NCAA Tournament record of 32-23 (.582 winning pct.).
In last year's NCAA Tournament, the Tigers, the West Region No. 12 seed, fell to No. 5 seed Arizona by a narrow 77-75 margin in the second round in Tulsa, Okla.
The Tigers program made its first NCAA Tournament appearance in 1955.
Memphis advanced to the 1973 and 2008 NCAA Tournament championship games, falling to UCLA and Kansas, respectively.
The Tigers advanced to the 1985 Final Four, dropping a 50-45 decision to Villanova in the national semifinals.
Memphis earned five-straight NCAA Tournament bids from 1982-86.
TIGERS SEEDS IN NCAA TOURNEY
For the first time in their NCAA Tournament history, the Tigers are a No. 8 seed.
It is only the second time in its NCAA Tournament history that Memphis is playing in the 8-9 game. The Tigers played in the 8-9 game in the 1988 "Big Dance" and posted a 75-60 win over Baylor in South Bend, Ind.
Last year, Memphis was a No. 12 seed in the West Region.
In the 2006 NCAA Tournament, Memphis earned a No. 1 seed, marking the first time in school history the Tigers were a top seed. The 2007-08 Tigers also earned a No. 1 seed.
Overall, the Tigers have been a top-four seed eight times. In addition to its No. 1 seeds in 2006 and 2008 and four No. 2 seeds in 1982, 1985, 2007 and 2009, Memphis was a No. 3 seed in 1986 and a No. 4 seed in 1983.
GO WEST, TIGERS!
For the seventh time overall and the fourth time in the last seven years, Memphis was placed in the NCAA Tournament West Region.
Prior to this year, the Tigers were West Region participants in 1976, 1996, 2003, 2006, 2009 and 2011 (5-6 record).
The following shows Memphis' West Region results in its history:
Year Opponent Result
2011 Arizona 75-77, L
2009 Missouri 91-102, L
Maryland 89-70, W
Cal State Northridge 81-70, W
2006 UCLA 45-50, L
Bradley 80-64, W
Bucknell 72-56, W
Oral Roberts 90-74, W
2003 Arizona State 71-84, L
1996 Drexel 63-75, L
1976 Pepperdine 77-87, L
THERE'S A FIRST TIME FOR EVERYTHING
For the first time in school history, Memphis plays an NCAA Tournament game in the state of Ohio Friday when the Tigers face Saint Louis in Columbus.
The most visited state by the Tigers in NCAA Tournament play is Texas. Memphis has played 17 NCAA Tournament games in the Lone Star state.
TIGERS HAVE EXPERIENCED NCAA TOURNAMENT STAFF
Despite only being together for three seasons (for Stoudamire and Williams only one year), the Memphis coaching staff brings plenty of NCAA Tournament experience into this year's "Big Dance."
As a staff member or assistant coach, the Tigers' staff -- Josh Pastner, Jack Murphy, Damon Stoudamire and Jimmy Williams -- has combined for 26 NCAA Tournament appearances. If collegiate playing/undergraduate careers are added, then the number of NCAA Tournament appearances climbs to 34.
Among the staff, there is one NCAA title, three NCAA Final Fours, five Elite Eights and seven Sweet Sixteens.
MEMPHIS VERSUS NCAA FIELD
The Tigers played seven teams in the NCAA Tournament field during the 2011-12 regular season and posted a 3-6 record in those encounters.
Memphis defeated Belmont (97-81) and Xavier (72-68) and split Conference USA meetings with Southern Miss (60-58 win in Memphis; 75-72 loss in Hattiesburg).
The Tigers dropped two decisions to Georgetown (91-88/OT in Maui; 70-59 in Washington, D.C.) and also fell to Louisville (95-87), Michigan (73-61 in Maui) and Murray State (76-72).
MEMPHIS SWEEPS C-USA CROWNS
In a span of a week, the Tigers won both the Conference USA regular season and tournament championships.
On Mar. 3, Memphis claimed the C-USA regular-season crown outright with a 78-66 win at Tulsa. The Tigers finished the regular season with a 13-3 league mark.
Then, a week later, Memphis capped off an impressive run through the C-USA Tournament with an 83-57 title game victory over Marshall.
The Tigers won their three C-USA Tournament games by an average of 25 points.
DID YOU KNOW?
Memphis is the only team among the top-10 rated leagues in the nation to win its conference regular season title outright and also claim the league's tournament crown.
Two other schools -- Michigan State (Big Ten and New Mexico (Mountain West) -- among the top-10 rated leagues shared their regular-season championship and then won their league tourney.
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, the bottom line is Pastner is the winningest head coach in Tigers hoops history for the first three years.
He became the winningest head coach for the first three seasons with the Tigers' regular-season finale victory at Tulsa Mar. 3.
The following shows the head coaches' win totals for their first three seasons since 1949:
Head Coach First 3 Years Wins Total
Josh Pastner** 2010-12 75 John Calipari 2001-03 71
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
THE "NO-NAME" DEFENSE
After a Feb. 18 loss to UTEP, head coach Josh Pastner took the players' names off the back of their jerseys, wanting them to focus on playing for the name on the front of the uniform -- Memphis.
If the tactic was to wake up the Tigers, it has worked, especially on the defensive end. The following are Memphis' defensive numbers in the last seven games:
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 18.1 ppg and is also Conference USA's leading scorer.
Barton moved into the top-five among sophomore scorers in the program's history with his 18-point game versus UCF Feb. 28. The following lists the top-six sophomore scorers in Tigers history:
Player/Soph. Season Points
1. Elliot Perry/1988-89 620
2. Will Barton/2011-12 615
3. Elliot Williams/2009-10 610
4. Anfernee Hardaway/1991-92 590
5. Keith Lee/1982-83 581
6. Chris Douglas-Roberts/2006-07 538