Memphis Basketball Notes
Go Tigers! Antonio Anderson and the Tigers open their 2008-09 season Saturday versus Fairfield.
Go Tigers!
Antonio Anderson and the Tigers open their 2008-09 season Saturday versus Fairfield.
Go Tigers!

Nov. 13, 2008

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The University of Memphis squad (0-0, 0-0 C-USA), ranked No. 13 in the Associated Press poll and No. 12 in ESPN/USA Today poll, opens regular season play Saturday, Nov. 15 when it hosts Fairfield (0-0, 0-0 MAAC). Game time is 7 p.m. (CT) at FedExForum.

The contest is the season opener for both teams, and the home opener for the Tigers. The encounter is also an opening round game in the second annual O'Reilly Auto Parts Puerto Rico Tip-Off. Regardless of Saturday's outcome, both Memphis and Fairfield will advance to the eight-team tournament field in San Juan, Puerto Rico. The quarterfinal round of the Puerto Rico Tip-Off begins Nov. 20.

Both teams won their lone exhibitions in early November. Memphis defeated Christian Brothers 83-52 on Nov. 4, and Fairfield posted a 74-66 victory over Bridgeport on Nov. 6.

Memphis, the 2008-09 preseason pick to win Conference USA, returns two starters and eight letterwinners from last year's squad that won an NCAA record 38 games (38-2 record) and advanced to the NCAA Tournament national championship game. En route to the title contest, the Tigers swept the Conference USA regular season and tournament crowns and the NCAA Tournament South Region championship.

Fairfield was picked to finish second behind Siena in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC) preseason poll by the league's coaches. The Stags return four starters from last year's squad that posted a 14-16 overall record and an 11-7 conference mark.

Saturday's game is the season opener for Fairfield. The Stags defeated Bridgeport 74-66 in their only exhibition contest on Nov. 6.

Fairfield, which was picked to finish second behind Siena in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC) preseason poll by the league's coaches, returns four starters from last year's team that went 14-16 overall and 11-7 in the MAAC.

Senior guard Jonathan Han, who was a preseason All-MAAC team pick, is the squad's top returning scorer at 11.7 ppg. Han also led the Stags with 186 assists (6.2 apg) and 50 steals (1.7 spg) last year. Junior forward Anthony Johnson was the team's leading rebounder a year ago at 7.3 rpg.

Head coach Ed Cooley is in his third season at Fairfield. He compiled a 27-35 record in his first two years.

The University of Memphis basketball program opens its 88th year of play Saturday when the Tigers host Fairfield in an opening round game of the 2008 O'Reilly Auto Parts Puerto Rico Tip-Off at FedExForum. Memphis has an all-time record of 1350-806-1 (.626 winning percentage).

The Tigers host Fairfield in both their 2006-07 season and home opener Saturday in an opening round game of the 2008 O'Reilly Auto Parts Puerto Rico Tip-Off. In its history, Memphis has rather impressive marks in season and home openers.

The Tigers have a 59-28 record in season openers for a 67.8 winning percentage. Under head coach John Calipari, Memphis is 6-2 in season openers.

In home openers, Memphis is even more impressive with a 66-21 mark for a 75.9 winning percentage. Under Calipari, the Tigers are 6-2 in home openers.

While the Tigers have stellar marks in season and home openers, the record is even better when the season and home openers are the same game.

Memphis is 51-13 (.797 winning percentage) when its season opener is also its home opener. The last time the Tigers played a season/home opener was last year when they defeated Tennessee-Martin 102-71 in the opening round of the 2k Sports College Hoops Classic/Memphis Regional.

In the John Calipari era, the Tigers are 5-1 in season/home openers. Memphis dropped its first season/home opener in Calipari's first season in the Bluff City (2000-01), but won the next five season/home openers.

The Tigers have an all-time record of 6-4 against current members of the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC). Memphis has played Canisius (0-2), Iona (2-0), Manhattan (2-1), Marist (1-0) and Siena (1-1).

The last time Memphis played a MAAC school was the 2007-08 season, and the Tigers posted a 102-58 win over Siena on Jan. 3, 2008, at FedExForum. The Saints went on to win the MAAC title and earn a bid to the 2008 NCAA Tournament, where they posted a first-round upset over Vanderbilt.

The Tigers have an overall record of 80-54 in regular season tournaments in the program's history. Memphis has won 16 in-season tournament titles/classics.

The last time the Tigers carried home the trophy from an in-season tournament (more than one game) was last year. Memphis won the 2k Sports College Hoops Classic (Benefiting Coaches vs. Cancer) with an 81-70 win over Connecticut at Madison Square Garden last November. The Tigers also posted a narrow 62-58 overtime win over Southern Cal in the Jimmy V Classic in New York City last December.

Under head coach John Calipari, Memphis is 15-7 in regular season tournaments (more than one game). Prior to last year's 2k Sports College Hoops Classic championship, the Tigers placed third in EA Sports Maui Invitational in 2006-07, and was runner-up in the NIT Season Tip-Off in 2005-06 and Coaches vs. Cancer Classic in 2004-05.

The Tigers are competing in only their second tournament in Puerto Rico in the program's history. The last time Memphis played in a tournament in Puerto Rico came in head coach John Calipari's first season in 2000-01. That year, the Tigers played in the Puerto Rico Shootout in November and posted a 1-2 record for a fourth-place finish.

For the 22nd time in the John Calipari era, the Tigers will face a first-time opponent when they host Fairfield Saturday. And, Memphis has been quite successful against first-time foes under Calipari.

The Tigers have a 19-2 record (.905 winning percentage) against first-time opponents under Calipari. The last time Memphis faced a first-time foe was last year when it defeated Connecticut 81-70 in the 2k Sports College Hoops Classic title game.

The only two setbacks a Calipari Memphis squad suffered to first-time foes were to Duke (70-67) in 2005-06 and Stanford (83-60) in 2000-01.

The Tigers played two first-time opponents -- Miami, Ohio and Stanford -- when they last played in a Puerto Rico tournament in 2000-01. In this year's Puerto Rico Tip-Off, Fairfield is the only first-time opponent for Memphis.

After a rough first year at their new home in 2004-05, the Tigers have bounced back quite nicely and made FedExForum one of the toughest arenas for opponents to play in. Since the 2005 Conference USA Tournament, Memphis has won 64 of its last 67 home games (.955 winning percentage).

Overall, the Tigers have a 74-9 record (.892 winning percentage) at FedExForum. Memphis had a perfect 19-0 home mark in 2006-07, and was 20-1 at FedExForum in 2007-08.

While head coach John Calipari focuses on March and prepares teams to make postseason runs, his Tiger squads have done quite well in the month of November. Since taking over in 2000-01, Memphis has a 30-11 record (.732 winning percentage) in November.

One reason for the 11 early setbacks is the rugged national schedule the Tigers have played in the Calipari era. Of the 11 November losses, nine were to nationally-ranked teams.

The Tigers were 19-4 in November the past four seasons, with all four setbacks coming to ranked opponents.

Memphis has had a long history of success in non-league games, and that has continued under head coach John Calipari. Since Calipari took over in 2000-01, the Tigers have a non-conference record (including postseason) of 110-34 for a 76.4 winning percentage. In 2007-08, Memphis had a 22-2 record against non-conference opponents (including postseason).

Head coach John Calipari will tie former Tiger mentor Larry Finch as the winningest coach in Memphis basketball history. Calipari enters 2008-09 with 219 wins at Memphis, and needs only one more victory to tie Finch for the top spot. The following shows the top-five winningest coaches in Tiger basketball history:

Coach/Years	Wins
Larry Finch/1986-97 220
John Calipari/2000-pres. 219
Zach Curlin/1924-48 173
Dana Kirk/1979-86 158
Bob Vanatta/1956-62 109

The injury bug hit the Tigers hard in October and early November, but it seems as if they are getting well with the season opener approaching Saturday. Two Tigers -- Antonio Anderson and Tyreke Evans -- are expected to return for Saturday's season opener.

In the final week of October, Anderson sat out three-straight days of practice -- a first for him in his career -- with shin splits. Anderson sat out the Tigers' Nov. 4 exhibition, but returned Nov. 6 and has practiced every day since.

Evans suffered a sprained ankle in a team scrimmage Nov. 1 and missed Memphis' Nov. 4 exhibition contest. The 6-foot-6 guard returned to practice Nov. 12 and may see limited time Saturday.

In early October, freshman C.J. Henry underwent foot surgery, and is expected to practice with the Tigers at the end of November. On the second day of preseason practice (Oct. 19), freshman Angel Garcia suffered a knee injury and has not seen action since.

Saturday's game will be a reunion for two former Iowa State Cyclones in Memphis' Shawn Taggart and Fairfield's Mike Evanovich. Both players were members of the 2005-06 Iowa State squad before transferring to their current schools.

Taggart played in all 30 games as a Cyclone and averaged 5.6 points and 3.6 boards. Evanovich made eight appearances for Iowa State and averaged 0.6 points and 0.4 rebounds.

Iowa State finished that season with a 16-14 overall record and a 6-10 Big 12 Conference mark.

One of Tiger Nation's favorite television analysts is a graduate of Fairfield. CBS College Sports' Pete Gillen played for Fairfield from 1965-68, and earned his bachelor's degree in English Literature in 1968. Gillen also played baseball at Fairfield.

This past summer, Gillen was inducted into the New York City Basketball Hall of Fame along with Memphis Director of Basketball Operations Rod Strickland.

Senior Robert Dozier was named to the 2008-09 John R. Wooden Award preseason top-50 list on Nov. 7. This is the fourth time in the last five years that a Tiger is a Wooden Award preseason candidate. Chris Douglas-Roberts (2007-08), Rodney Carney and Darius Washington Jr. (2005-06) and Sean Banks (2004-05) all made the Wooden Award preseason list.

Last year, Douglas-Roberts and Derrick Rose were selected to the 2008 Wooden Award All-America squad.

A 2008-09 All-Conference USA preseason team pick, Dozier is one of the Tigers' two returning starters from last year's squad that won an NCAA record 38 games (38-2 mark) and advanced to the NCAA title game. The 6-foot-9 forward is the team's leading returning scorer (9.2 ppg), rebounder (6.8 rpg) and shot blocker (68 blocks).

Dozier enters 2008-09 closing in on the Memphis 1,000-point club. The Lithonia, Ga., native has 903 career points and needs 97 to reach the milestone. Dozier also has 684 rebounds and 167 blocks for his career, and can move up on the school's all-time lists this season. When he reaches 1,000 points and 750 boards, Dozier will become only the seventh Tiger in the program's history to do so. The other Tigers in the 1,000-point, 750-rebound club are Keith Lee, Forest Arnold, Kelly Rise, Ronnie Robinson, David Vaughn and Don Holcomb.

For more notes on the Memphis-Fairfield match-up, click on pdf link at the top of the page.



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