Memphis Basketball Notes
Nov. 16, 2009
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TIGERS TO FACE NO. 1 KANSAS IN HALL OF FAME SHOWCASE IN ST. LOUIS TUESDAY
Memphis and Kansas both opened the 2009-10 regular season with victories last Friday (Nov. 13). The Tigers defeated Jackson State 82-53 at FedExForum, and the Jayhawks posted a 101-65 win over Hofstra at Allen Fieldhouse.
Memphis, picked to finish between second and fourth in Conference USA in most preseason polls, returns only one starter and six letterwinners from last year's squad that won 33 games (33-4 record) and advanced to the NCAA Tournament West Region semifinal (Sweet Sixteen). En route to the Sweet Sixteen, the Tigers swept the Conference USA regular season and tournament crowns.
Kansas, ranked No. 1 in both national polls and the preseason favorite to win the Big 12 Conference crown, returns all five starters from last year's squad that went 27-8, won the Big 12 Conference title and advanced to the NCAA Midwest Region semifinal (Sweet Sixteen).
SCOUTING THE JAYHAWKS
The Jayhawks won their regular season opener last Friday, a 101-65 victory over Hofstra at Allen Fieldhouse. Kansas also swept its two exhibition contests with wins over Fort Hays State 107-68 and Pittsburg State 103-45.
Freshman guard Xavier Henry leads a trio of Jayhawks averaging double figures with a 27.0 scoring average. Seniors Sherron Collins (23.0 ppg) and Cole Aldrich (11.0 ppg) also average double figures. Aldrich is tops on the team with an 8.0 rebounding average, while sophomore Tyshawn Taylor leads Kansas with a 6.0 assists average. Henry is the team's top threat from the arc, hitting 62.5 percent of his three-point attempts.
Head coach Bill Self is in his seventh season at the helm of the Jayhawk program and his 17th overall on the collegiate level. Self has a 170-40 record at Kansas and a 377-145 overall mark.
PASTNER IN FIRST YEAR AT HELM OF TIGER PROGRAM
Pastner has a 1-0 record at Memphis after posting an 82-53 victory over Jackson State in his head coaching debut Nov. 13.
Prior to joining the Memphis basketball family for the 2008-09 season, Pastner spent the previous 12 years of his college basketball life at Arizona as a player, staff member and assistant coach. While in Tucson, Pastner was a member of Wildcat squads that made 12-straight NCAA Tournament appearances and posted a 290-103 record (1997-2008). Pastner was a player on the 1996-97 Arizona team that won the NCAA title.
MEMPHIS VS. THE BIG 12 CONFERENCE
The last time Memphis played a Big 12 Conference opponent was during last year's NCAA Tournament. The Tigers dropped a 102-91 decision to Missouri in the NCAA Tournament West Region semifinal (Sweet Sixteen) on Mar. 26, 2009.
The last time Memphis posted a victory over a Big 12 Conference foe came in the 2008 NCAA Tournament. The Tigers defeated Texas 85-67 in the 2008 NCAA Tournament South Region championship game. The win propelled Memphis to the 2008 NCAA Final Four.
REMATCH OF 2008?
For Memphis, an entirely new coaching staff is in place with Josh Pastner in his first year as head coach. Furthermore, only three Tigers -- seniors Pierre Henderson-Niles, Willie Kemp and Doneal Mack -- remain from that 2008 squad, and that trio combined to play only seven minutes in the title game.
On the Kansas side, senior Sherron Collins played the lone major role in that game. Collins saw 34 minutes of action and had 11 points and six assists. Cole Aldrich played only four minutes.
JUST WIN BABY!
Kansas is the second-winningest program of the 21st century with 282 wins, while Memphis is third with 267 victories. Duke is the winningest program over that period of time with 291 wins.
TIGERS VERSUS NO. 1 TEAMS
The last time the Tigers faced a No. 1 team was the 2007 NCAA Tournament in the South Region championship game. Memphis dropped a 92-76 decision to No. 1 Ohio State.
The last time Memphis played a No. 1 foe in the regular season was in the 2005-06 season. The Tigers lost a hard-fought 70-67 game to then-No. 1 Duke in the championship game of the NIT Season Tip-Off. That game was played at Madison Square Garden in New York City.
MEMPHIS IN SAINT LOUIS
The Tigers are 7-19 versus the Billikens all-time in the city of St. Louis and are 1-3 in postseason games. Memphis dropped its first round game in the 1997 Conference USA Tournament in St. Louis and also lost to Houston in the 1984 NCAA Sweet Sixteen.
The Tigers' only postseason victory in St. Louis was a 98-85 victory over Providence in the NCAA national semifinal (Final Four) in 1973. Two nights later, Memphis lost to UCLA 87-66 in the NCAA title contest.
PASTNER VERSUS SELF?
In 2000-01, Pastner served as an undergraduate assistant coach on Olson's staff, and the Wildcats advanced all the way to the 2001 NCAA title game. En route to the championship game, Arizona defeated Self and the Fighting Illini in the Midwest Region final 87-81.
Ironically, Illinois beat Kansas 80-64 in the Midwest Region semifinal to move on and face Arizona. The 2001 NCAA Midwest Regional was held in San Antonio, Texas.
PASTNER VERSUS KANSAS?
In his time in Tucson, Pastner and the Wildcats played Kansas seven times, with the Jayhawks holding a narrow 4-3 series edge. The last time a Pastner-associated Arizona squad met Kansas was in the 2007-08 season, and the Jayhawks posted a 76-72 overtime victory in Lawrence on Nov. 25, 2007. The last Arizona win was a 61-49 victory in the Maui Invitational on Nov. 21, 2005.
PASTNER'S MEMORABLE MOMENT VS. KANSAS
As a freshman in 1996-97, Pastner and his Arizona teammates got on a roll in the NCAA Tournament, and went up against the tournament's overall No. 1 seed in Kansas in the Southeast Region semifinal (Sweet Sixteen) in Birmingham, Ala. The Jayhawks were 34-1 and faced a 21-9 Arizona squad, and the Wildcats pulled the 85-82 upset.
Arizona went on to win the 1997 NCAA title, and en route to the championship, became the first team in tournament history to defeat three No. 1 seeds to win the title. In addition to No. 1 seed Kansas, the Wildcats defeated No. 1 North Carolina in the national semifinal and No. 1 Kentucky in the championship game.
OTHER TIGER COACHES VS. KANSAS
HEY, WE KNOW YOU!
As a result of injuries, Henry did not see any game action last year, but did travel with the Tigers.
TIGERS IN NOVEMBER
One reason for the 14 early setbacks is the rugged national schedule the Tigers have played. Of the 14 November losses, nine were to nationally-ranked teams.
The Tigers are 24-5 in November since 2004-05, with four of the five setbacks coming to ranked opponents.
In 2008-09, Memphis had a 17-4 record against non-conference opponents (including postseason).
Coleman is the first Tiger to post a double-double in his collegiate debut since Joey Dorsey did so as a freshman in the 2004-05 season opener. In that game, Dorsey had 10 points and 16 rebounds in a win over Savannah State on Nov. 12, 2004.
TIGER GUARDS HIT THE GLASS
The Tiger guards combined for 17 of the team's 43 boards (39.5 percent). Leading the way was junior Roburt Sallie, who grabbed a career-high seven rebounds.
A transfer from Duke University, Williams scored 19 points in his first game wearing the Blue and Gray. His previous career high was 15 points against Maryland last season.
For Witherspoon, his 13-point performance bested his previous career best of 10 points versus Houston in the Tigers' 2009 Conference USA Tournament semifinal win last March. Ironically, both times Witherspoon set career highs came on Friday the 13th (vs. Houston, Mar. 13, 2009; vs. Jackson State, Nov. 13, 2009).
For more notes on the Memphis-Kansas match-up, click on pdf link at the top of the page.