March 19, 2014
|| Memphis (23-9, 12-6) vs George Washington (24-8, 11-5)
||Friday, March 21 - 5:55 p.m. CT | PNC Arena | Raleigh, N.C. | NCAA Second Round
|| How to Follow
Tigers On TV/Radio/Web
Television: TBS (Kevin Harlan, play-by-play; Len Elmore/Reggie Miller, analysts; Rachel Nichols, sideline reporter)/Memphis Comcast channel 27
Radio: WREC 600 AM (Dave Woloshin, play-by-play; Matt Dillon, color analyst; Forrest Goodman, studio host)
SETTING THE SCENE
Memphis (23-9, 12-6 The American) opens play in the 2014 NCAA Tournament Mar. 21 against George Washington (24-8, 11-5 Atlantic 10).
TBS is televising Friday's 5:55 p.m. (CT) NCAA Tournament second-round contest from PNC Arena. The Memphis-George Washington game can be viewed via the web at www.ncaa.com/march-madness.
The Tigers enter Friday's NCAA Tournament second-round match-up having won four of their last seven games. In that stretch, Memphis posted wins over Rutgers, Temple, No. 7/4 Louisville and No. 18/18 SMU and dropped decisions to Houston, No. 15/15 Cincinnati and No. 21/21 Connecticut.
The Tigers dropped to the Also Receiving Votes category (No. 26/26) of both national polls that were released Mar. 17. It is the first time in 2013-14 that Memphis was unranked in the Associated Press (AP) poll. Memphis had appeared in all 19 previous AP polls. George Washington does not appear in the AP poll, but is No. 38 (ARV) of the coaches poll.
The Tigers are 3-1 in neutral games and 8-6 in contests played away from FedExForum (road/neutral) this season.
George Washington is 4-2 in neutral games and 10-7 in encounters played away from the Charles E. Smith Center (road/neutral).
The Colonials returns all five starters and nine letterwinners from their 2012-13 squad.
WHAT THE TIGERS DID A YEAR AGO
Memphis posted a 31-5 overall record and a perfect 16-0 Conference USA mark in 2012-13.
The Tigers swept the 2012-13 Conference USA titles, taking both the regular-season and tournament crowns. It was the sixth time in the last eight years that Memphis swept the C-USA championships.
The 30-win season was the sixth in the program's history, and the 31 victories are tied for the fifth-most in school history.
The 16-0 league record was the fourth time in the last seven seasons the Tigers went unbeaten in conference action.
Josh Pastner and Joe Jackson swept C-USA's top two honors, winning the league's Gene Bartow Coach of the Year and Player of the Year Awards, respectively. Chris Crawford was named C-USA's Sixth Man of the Year.
Crawford was voted the C-USA Tournament MVP after leading the Tigers to the postseason title with a 91-79 double-overtime win over Southern Miss. Crawford hit a C-USA Tournament record 19 three-pointers in three games.
The Tigers earned C-USA's automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament and advanced to the third round with a 54-52 second-round victory over Saint Mary's. Memphis fell to Michigan State 70-48 in the third round.
WHAT THE COLONIALS DID A YEAR AGO
George Washington posted a 13-17 overall record and a 7-9 Atlantic 10 Conference mark in 2012-13.
The Colonials tied for 11th in the 2012-13 Atlantic 10 Conference regular-season standings.
George Washington lost to UMass 77-72 in the A-10 Tournament opening round.
SCOUTING THE COLONIALS
George Washington brings a 24-8 overall record into Friday's NCAA Tournament second-round match-up.
The Colonials posted an 11-5 Atlantic 10 Conference record and tied for third in the league's regular-season standings.
George Washington is celebrating its 100th season of basketball in 2013-14.
The Colonials enter NCAA Tournament play having won four of their last five.
In that stretch, George Washington had wins over George Mason, Saint Joseph's, Fordham and UMass and a loss to VCU.
In the A-10 preseason coaches poll, the Colonials were picked 10th.
Senior Isaiah Armwood was named to the All-Atlantic 10 Conference second team, and Maurice Creek and Patricio Garino both were all-league third team picks.
Armwood and Garino both were selected to the Atlantic 10 Conference All-Defensive Team.
Kevin Larsen was named the Atlantic 10 Conference/Chris Daniels Most Improved Player.
Creek leads five Colonials averaging double figures at 14.3 ppg.
Kethan Savage (12.7 ppg), Armwood (12.5 ppg), Garino (12.2 ppg) and Larsen (11.3 ppg) also average double digits in the scoring column.
Four of the five double-figure scorers -- Creek, Armwood, Garino and Larsen -- rank among the top-30 in the Atlantic 10 Conference (Savage is not ranked because he has not played in 75 percent of the Colonials' games).
Armwood (8.5 rpg) and Larsen (7.0 rpg) lead George Washington on the glass. Both are ranked among the top-10 rebounders in the A-10 (Armwood, 3rd; Larsen, 10th).
Joe McDonald is tops on the team in both assists (128 total; 4.1 apg) and steals (48; 1.5 spg). He is ranked among the top-10 in the A-10 in both statistical categories.
Four Colonials -- Creek (40.6 percent), McDonald (39.7), Nemanja Mikic (36.0) and Garino (35.3) -- all shoot over 35 percent from the arc.
George Washington is shooting 46.4 percent from the field, 36.9 percent from the arc (third in A-10) and 65.4 percent from the free throw line.
The Colonials are out-rebounding their opponents by a margin of +3.7 boards per game (37.4-33.7; second in A-10).
Head coach Mike Lonergan is in his third season at George Washington. He has a 47-46 record at the school.
MEMPHIS VERSUS THE ATLANTIC 10
Memphis has a 54-50 all-time record against current members of the Atlantic 10 Conference.
The Tigers have played Dayton (7-12), Duquesne (0-2), Fordham (2-1), George Mason (1-0), 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 (32-26) and VCU (4-2).
The last time the Tigers played an Atlantic 10 foe was near the start of the 2012-13 season. Memphis dropped a 78-65 decision to VCU at the Battle 4 Atlantis in The Bahamas Nov. 22, 2012.
Memphis is 2-3 in its last five encounters with Atlantic 10 Conference schools, dating back to the 2007-08 season.
Since the 2000-01 season, the Tigers are 0-2 versus Atlantic 10 Conference schools in postseason play. Memphis dropped a 61-54 decision to Saint Louis in the 2012 NCAA Tournament second round and fell to Saint Joseph's 70-58 in the 2005 NIT semifinal round.
MEMPHIS VERSUS THE D.C.
The Tigers have played three of the four NCAA Division I basketball schools located in Washington, D.C.
Memphis has played Georgetown, George Washington and Howard. American is the only Washington, D.C., area program the Tigers have not played.
The Tigers have a 3-11 record versus those three NCAA Division I programs located in the nation's capital.
TIGERS' "LUCKY" NUMBER 100
On Friday, the Tigers are playing their second opponent -- George Washington -- that is celebrating its 100th year of basketball in 2013-14.
Memphis has a 2-0 record against foes celebrating their 100th year of basketball in 2013-14.
The other opponent that is celebrating its 100th year of basketball in 2013-14 is longtime rival Louisville.
Memphis swept the Cardinals this season with a 73-67 win at Louisville Jan. 9 and a 72-66 victory in Memphis Mar. 1.
HEY, I KNOW Y'ALL!
For one Tiger, Friday's Memphis-George Washington encounter is a reunion.
Memphis graduate student David Pellom was a member of the Colonials program from 2009-13.
Pellom, who earned his bachelor's degree in sociology from George Washington in 2013, played three seasons from 2009-12, but was sidelined the entire 2012-13 season with a wrist injury.
In the summer of 2013, Pellom used the NCAA graduate transfer rule to come to Memphis and play immediately in the 2013-14 season.
Former teammates that Pellom will see on the court Friday are Kethan Savage, Patricio Garino, Kevin Larsen, Joe McDonald, Nemanja Mikic, Isaiah Armwood, Paris Maragkos and John Kopriva.
IN MY MIND, I'M GOING TO CAROLINA
Well, for David Pellom, this NCAA Tournament trip is going to be memorable one.
First, it is Pellom's first trip to the NCAA Tournament.
Second, as mentioned in the previous note, the 6-foot-7 forward will be reunited with several former teammates from George Washington, where he played for the Colonials from 2009-13.
And, finally (cue James Taylor), the Wilmington, N.C., native is coming come to his home state.
Pellom's hometown is located approximately two hours southeast of Raleigh.
THE LAST MEETING/A GOOD OMEN
The 1994-95 early-season, 69-60 loss to George Washington obviously wasn't good for the Tigers.
The setback came in late November (Nov. 25, 1994) in the Preseason NIT third-place game.
But, the good part of that 1994-95 season came in the postseason when Memphis put together a memorable run to the NCAA Tournament Sweet Sixteen.
NOT THE FIRST TIME
Friday's NCAA Tournament second-round game won't be the first time George Washington head coach Mike Lonergan has been on the bench opposite the Tigers.
In the 2004-05 season, Lonergan was an assistant on Gary Williams' staff at Maryland.
That season, the Terrapins defeated Memphis 84-61 in the Hall of Fame Tip-Off Classic in Springfield, Mass.
Memphis and Maryland also advanced to the NIT semifinals that same season, but did not play each other.
HIDE YOUR EYES!
If fans are expecting solid free throw shooting in Friday's NCAA Tournament second-round game, they may be disappointed.
Friday's contest features the two teams that are near the bottom of their respective leagues in free throw percentage.
Memphis is ninth in The American in free throw percentage at 64.9 percent.
On the other side, George Washington is 11th in the Atlantic 10 with a 65.4 percent clip from the charity stripe.
BATTLE AT THE ARC
Friday's NCAA Tournament second-round game may come down to which team wins the battle at the three-point line.
Memphis has The American's second-best three-point field goal percentage defense, holding opponents to 30.8 percent from the arc.
However, the Tiger face a stiff test at the arc from George Washington. The Colonials are third in the Atlantic 10 Conference from the arc, hitting 36.9 percent of their trey attempts.
MEMPHIS VERSUS NCAA FIELD
This season, the Tigers played six opponents that earned NCAA Tournament berths.
Memphis' 2013-14 opponents that made the NCAA Tournament were Cincinnati, Connecticut, Florida, Gonzaga, Louisville and Oklahoma State.
The Tigers went 4-7 against NCAA Tournament teams on their schedule in 2013-14.
MEMPHIS IN THE NCAA TOURNEY
The Tigers are playing in their 26th overall and fourth-straight NCAA Tournament in 2014. Memphis has an overall NCAA Tournament record of 33-25 (.569 winning pct.).
In last year's NCAA Tournament, the Tigers, the Midwest Region No. 6 seed, advanced to the third round in Auburn Hills, Mich.
Memphis posted a 54-52 win over No. 11 seed Saint Mary's in the second round, but lost to No. 3 seed Michigan State in the third round.
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.
TIGERS SEEDS IN NCAA TOURNEY
For only the second time in their NCAA Tournament history (also second time in last three postseasons), the Tigers are a No. 8 seed. Memphis is the No. 8 seed in the East Region.
Memphis also was a No. 8 seed in the 2012 NCAA Tournament and was placed 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.
The NCAA Tournament began seeding teams in 1979.
LOOK EAST, TIGERS
For the only the third time in its history, Memphis is playing in the NCAA Tournament East Region.
The Tigers also were placed in the NCAA East Region in 1982 and 2004.
The following shows what the Tigers in their previous visits to the NCAA Tournament East Region:
Year Opponent/Round Result
2004 Oklahoma State/Second 53-70, L
South Carolina/First 59-43, W
1982 Villanova/Regional Semis 66-70, L*
Wake Forest/Second Round 56-55, W
TIGERS' raleigh record
For the first time since the 1997-98 season, Memphis is playing a game in Raleigh.
The Tigers have a 1-2 overall record when playing in Raleigh.
Memphis is 1-1 versus N.C. State and 0-1 versus Villanova (1982 NCAA Tournament Sweet Sixteen).
All three previous Tigers' trips to Raleigh were played at the Wolfpack's on-campus arena, Reynolds Coliseum.
MEMPHIS JUST OVER EVEN IN CAROLINA
The Tigers are making their 18th trip to play in the Tar Heel state this weekend.
Memphis has a 9-8 record (.529 winning percentage) when playing in the Old North State.
The Tigers have played Charlotte (1-5), East Carolina (6-1) and N.C. State (1-1) in regular-season match-ups.
In postseason play, Memphis made a trip to the 1982 NCAA Tournament in North Carolina.
The Tigers went 1-1 in that NCAA Tournament appearance, defeating Wake Forest in the second round and falling to Villanova in the Sweet Sixteen.
ONE OF NINE IN THE POLLS
When the final regular-season Associated Press (AP) poll was released Mar. 10, the Tigers found themselves in the No. 19 spot.
With that No. 19 ranking, Memphis finished the 2013-14 regular season ranked in all 18 AP polls (Nov. 11-Mar. 10).
The Tigers were one of nine programs in the nation to be ranked in all 18 regular-season AP polls this season.
The other eight programs were Arizona, Duke, Florida, Kansas, Louisville, Michigan State, Syracuse and Wichita State.
THERE'S A FIRST TIME FOR EVERYTHING
Memphis plays its first postseason contest Friday -- in the 2014 NCAA Tournament -- as a member of its new conference, the American Athletic Conference.
Friday's NCAA Tournament appearance is the fourth-straight time Memphis made the "Big Dance" in its inaugural season in a new league.
The Tigers earned NCAA Tournament berths in their first seasons in Conference USA (1995-96), Great Midwest Conference (1991-92) and Metro Conference (1975-76).
The following shows the results of Memphis' NCAA Tournament appearances in its new leagues:
First Season In New League/First Postseason
Conference/First Season Postseason/Result
American Athletic/2013-14 ------/------
Conference USA/1995-96 NCAA/First Round
Great Midwest/1991-92 NCAA/Elite Eight
Metro/1975-76 NCAA/First Round
Missouri Valley/1967-68 None/None
Mississippi Valley/1927-28 No postseason
FOLLOWING A LOSS UNDER PASTNER
The Tigers dropped a 97-84 decision at Cincinnati Mar. 6.
However, Memphis has proven to be quite resilient after a loss in the Josh Pastner era, and the Tigers bounced back Mar. 8 with a 67-58 win over SMU.
The Tigers now have a 38-4 record (.905 winning percentage) after a loss under Pastner.
The last time Memphis suffered back-to-back losses under Pastner was near the start of the 2012-13 campaign -- or 64 games ago.
The Tigers dropped consecutive decisions to VCU 78-65 Nov. 22, 2012, and Minnesota 84-75 Nov. 23, 2012, at the 2012 Battle 4 Atlantis in The Bahamas.
TIGERS AMONG NCAA 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).
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):
SIX TIMES TWO EQUALS ONE
The equation made not add up to many who see it, but it did for Michael Dixon Jr.
On Mar. 12, the 6-foot-1 guard was named the American Athletic Conference Sixth Man of the Year, as voted on by the league's coaches.
It is the second time in his career that he earned the Sixth Man of the Year honor. But, what makes it special is that both Sixth Man of the Year awards were in different leagues.
In addition to this season's honor from The American, Dixon received the same accolade from the Big 12 Conference in 2011-12 when he played at Missouri.
Dixon is the first player among the high-major NCAA Division I conferences (The American, Atlantic Coast, BIG EAST, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-12, Southeastern) to earn the Sixth Man of the Year honor in two different leagues.
Memphis enters Friday's NCAA Tournament second-round match-up against George Washington with a 9-3 record in single-digit outcome games in 2013-14.
On the other side, the Colonials are 12-3 in single-digit outcome games this season.
Under head coach Josh Pastner, Memphis has been successful in single-digit outcome games.
Overall, Pastner's teams have a 48-23 record (.676 winning percentage) in games decided by single digits. His squads are 29-14 (.674 winning percentage) in games decided by five or fewer points.
The following charts Memphis' success in "close-call" games in the Pastner era:
Year 5 or Fewer Single-Digits
2013-14 3-2 9-3
2012-13 5-1 10-3
2011-12 4-5 6-7
2010-11 13-2 16-3
2009-10 4-4 7-7
Total 29-14 48-23
Pct. .674 .676