Memphis Basketball Notes
Nov. 21, 2008
TIGERS TO FACE SETON HALL IN SEMIFINAL ROUND OF PUERTO RICO TIP-OFF FRIDAY
Memphis advanced to the semifinals of the championship bracket with an 83-71 win over Chattanooga Nov. 20. Seton Hall moved to the semifinals with a 63-61 upset of No. 20 Southern Cal. The Tigers began action in the tournament on Nov. 15 with a 90-63 opening-round victory over Fairfield at FedExForum (see tournament bracket on page 4).
Prior to traveling to Puerto Rico to continue play in the second annual Tip-Off, the Tigers defeated UMass 80-58 on Nov. 17. The game tipped off ESPN's marathon of college basketball in which the network televised 23 hours of games.
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.
Seton Hall, picked to finish in the bottom half of the Big East in the 2008-09 coaches' preseason poll, is off to a quick 3-0 start. The Pirates opened 2008-09 with home victories over St. Francis, N.Y., and Columbia before their upset win over Southern Cal Thursday.
SCOUTING THE PIRATES
Last year, Seton Hall finished with a 17-15 overall record and a 7-11 Big East mark.
Sophomore guard Jeremy Hazell leads the Pirates with a 19.6 scoring average. Senior John Garcia and junior Eugene Harvey average 11.3 points apiece. Garcia is the team's top rebounder at 13.3 rpg, and Harvey is tops on the squad with a 5.7 assists average.
Seton Hall is shooting 43.4 percent from the field, 35.2 percent from the three-point line and 65.4 percent from the free throw line. The Pirates are out-rebounding their opponents by an average of 4.6 boards per game (40.3-35.7).
MEMPHIS VS. THE BIG EAST
Memphis has played 14 of the 16 Big East schools, leaving Notre Dame and Rutgers as the only two the Tigers have not faced. Most of the contests versus Cincinnati, DePaul, Louisville, Marquette and USF were league games (Missouri Valley, Metro, Great Midwest, Conference USA).
Since the start of the 2005-06 campaign (when the Big East realigned), Memphis is a perfect 6-0 against teams from the Big East. Last year, the Tigers defeated Connecticut, Georgetown and Cincinnati.
Seton Hall is the first of four Big East foes for Memphis in 2008-09. The Tigers travel to Georgetown Dec. 13 and then hosts Syracuse Dec. 20 and Cincinnati Dec. 29 at FedExForum.
CALIPARI VS. THE BIG EAST
TIGER HISTORY VERSUS THE HALL
The next meeting most Tiger fans may remember is Memphis' 73-72 win over Seton Hall in an opening round game of the NIT at Madison Square Garden on Mar. 17, 1974. The contest was the next-to-last game that Gene Bartow coached as the Tiger mentor. Bartow, who also followed his Memphis tenure with coaching stints at Illinois, UCLA and UAB, is in attendance at this week's O'Reilly Auto Parts Puerto Rico Tip-Off.
TIGERS 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 are 22-4 in November since the 2005-06 campaign, with all four setbacks coming to ranked opponents. Memphis is currently on an 11-game win streak in November games, dating back to the 2006-07 season.
THE RETURN OF THE MACK
The 6-foot-5 guard did what he does best and that was shooting the trey. Mack hit five three-pointers en route to scoring a team-high 19 points. He netted his 19 points on 7-of-12 shooting from the field and 5-of-9 from the arc.
The Charlotte, N.C., native also added three boards, four assists and two steals in his second start of the season. Mack had no turnovers while playing a career-high tying 26 minutes.
"TAG" ON A TEAR
Taggart is averaging 11.3 boards per game and has grabbed double-digit rebounds in all three contests. He started the year with 12 boards versus Fairfield and then followed with 11 rebounds in games against UMass and Chattanooga.
The Richmond, Va., has also shown his ability to score and has two double-doubles in his first three games. He posted a double-double of 14 points and 12 rebounds in the season-opening win over Fairfield on Nov. 15. It was his first double-double in a Memphis uniform. Five days later (Nov. 20), Taggart had his second double-double as a Tiger with 16 points and 11 boards in the victory over Chattanooga.
"BULL-DOZIER"-ING THE COMPETITION
Well, Dozier showed the nation a little of that in the Tigers' 80-58 victory over UMass before a national ESPN audience. The 6-foot-9 forward scored 18 points, grabbed five boards and blocked four shots. He also had one assist and one steal in 30 minutes of play.
Dozier stepped up early in the UMass game, especially when the Tiger offense was struggling. In the game's first 13 minutes, the Lithonia, Ga., native netted 10 of the team's first 17 points, with four points coming on two emphatic dunks.
Dozier continued his strong early season play in the victory over Chattanooga Nov. 20. He finished the game with 18 points, eight rebounds, four assists, two blocks and three steals.
For more notes on the Memphis-Seton Hall match-up, click on the pdf link at the top of the page.