Radio: WREC 600 AM (Dave Woloshin, play-by-play; Matt Dillon, color analyst; Forrest Goodman, studio host)
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SETTING THE SCENE
Memphis meets VCU Thursday, Nov. 22 in a 2012 Battle 4 Atlantis quarterfinal match-up. Game time is 6 p.m. (CT) at the Imperial Arena in Nassau, The Bahamas.
Thursday's game is the Tigers' second contest in the 2012 Battle 4 Atlantis. Memphis opened play in the Battle 4 Atlantis with a 65-54 victory over Samford at FedExForum Nov. 17.
The Tigers are ranked in both national polls, coming in No. 19 in the Associated Press poll and No. 17 in the ESPN/USA Today coaches poll.
Memphis opened its 2012-13 campaign with an 81-66 win over North Florida Nov. 12.
Memphis returns four starters and 11 letterwinners from last year's squad.
VCU started the 2012-13 campaign with a 2-1 record. The Rams posted wins over Florida Gulf Coast and Winthrop and dropped a narrow decision to Wichita State.
VCU returns 10 letterwinners and four starters from its 2011-12 squad that went 29-7 and advanced to the NCAA Tournament third round.
WHAT'S UP NEXT
The Tigers continue play in the Battle 4 Atlantis Friday, Nov. 23. Memphis will play either Duke or Minnesota at 12 or 6 p.m. (CT).
VCU also continues play in the Battle 4 Atlantis Friday, Nov. 23. The Rams will play either Duke or Minnesota at 12 or 6 p.m. (CT).
WHAT THE TIGERS DID A YEAR AGO
Memphis finished 2011-12 with a 26-9 overall record and a 13-3 Conference USA mark (1st place).
The Tigers swept the 2011-12 Conference USA titles, taking both the regular season and tournament crowns. It was the fifth time in the last seven years that Memphis swept the C-USA championships.
Joe Jackson was named the C-USA Tournament MVP for a second-straight year. Jackson became the first player in league history to receive consecutive C-USA Tournament MVP honors.
The Tigers earned C-USA's automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament and dropped a 61-54 decision to Saint Louis in the second round.
WHAT THE RAMS DID A YEAR AGO
VCU posted a 29-7 overall record and a 15-3 Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) mark.
The Rams finished third in the CAA regular season and won the CAA Tournament title.
VCU received the CAA's automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament and advanced to the "Big Dance's" third round.
SCOUTING THE RAMS
VCU brings a 2-1 record into Thursday's match-up.
The Rams have wins over Florida Gulf Coast and Winthrop and a loss to Wichita State.
Juvonte Reddic (16.3 ppg), Darius Theus (10.7 ppg) and Treveon Graham (10.7 ppg) all average in double figures.
Reddic leads VCU on the glass with an 8.7 rebounding average, while Theus is tops on the team with 16 assists (5.3 apg).
The Rams have four players that shoot over 40 percent from the arc.
VCU is shooting 44.6 percent from the floor, 37.7 percent from the arc and 64.9 percent from the free throw line.
The Rams are out-rebounding their foes by an average margin of +5.4 boards per contest (37.7-32.4).
VCU is forcing its opponents to turn the ball over nearly 20 times per game (19.7).
MEMPHIS VS. THE ATLANTIC 10
Memphis has an all-time record of 68-66 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 (32-26), Temple (5-5), VCU (4-1) and Xavier (2-6).
The last time the Tigers played an Atlantic 10 foe was last season. In fact, Memphis played three Atlantic 10 schools in 2011-12. The Tigers defeated Charlotte 67-58 and Xavier 72-68 in regular-season play and fell to Saint Louis 61-54 in the NCAA Tournament second round.
MAKING THE MOVE
Thursday's Memphis-VCU match-up features two schools that will or have changed conferences.
VCU made its conference move this year, changing from the Colonial Athletic Association to the Atlantic 10 Conference.
Next year (2013-14), Memphis makes its move from Conference USA to the BIG EAST Conference.
The third team in the 2012 Battle 4 Atlantis that made a conference shift is Missouri, which moved to the Southeastern Conference from the Big 12 Conference this year.
ODD, BUT NOT THE FIRST TIME
Thanksgiving Day is usually one for watching the NFL players "work," with the rest of us relaxing and eating turkey and dressing.
But, for only the second time in school history, the Tigers basketball program will "work" on Thanksgiving Day when Memphis meets VCU Thursday in a 2012 Battle 4 Atlantis contest.
The only previous time Memphis played on Thanksgiving Day was in 2000-01.
That season, the Tigers opened play in the Puerto Rico Shootout with a 60-59 victory over Miami (Ohio) on Nov. 23, 2000.
A TEAM USA U18 REUNION THURSDAY
Thursday's Memphis-VCU contest features a reunion of this past summer's Team USA U18 squad.
Memphis freshman Shaq Goodwin and VCU head coach Shaka Smart were part of the Team USA that played at the 2012 FIBA Americas U18 Championship in Sao Sebastiáo do Paraiso, Brazil.
Goodwin and Smart, who served as an assistant to head coach Billy Donovan, helped lead the U.S. to a perfect 5-0 record and the gold medal.
THE TIE THAT BINDS
Although the two programs have met sparingly through the years, Memphis and VCU have a strong tie.
Dana Kirk served as head coach at both schools.
Kirk was VCU's head coach from 1976-79 and led the Rams to two 20-win campaigns and one National Invitation Tournament (NIT).
After his three years at VCU, Kirk came to Memphis, where he coached the Tigers from 1979-86.
Kirk guided the Tigers to five 20-win campaigns, three Metro Conference regular-season titles, three Metro Conference Tournament crowns and five NCAA Tournaments.
Kirk was the second coach in Memphis history to lead the Tigers to the NCAA Final Four in 1985.
Kirk's 1984-85 Tigers squad went 31-4, posting the first 30-win season in school history.
Kirk passed away Feb. 15, 2010, from a heart attack.
A FINAL FOUR "FEEL" ON THURSDAY
When Memphis and VCU take the floor Thursday, the game will have an NCAA Final Four "feel" to it, as both head coaches have Final Four experience.
For the Tigers head coach Josh Pastner, he has been on two NCAA Final Four teams -- both at Arizona -- in 1997 and 2001. Pastner was a player on the 1997 Wildcats squad that won the NCAA title. In 2001, Pastner was on Lute Olson's staff at Arizona, which finished as the NCAA runner-up.
For VCU head coach Shaka Smart, he directed his 2011 Rams squad to the NCAA Final Four in Houston, Texas.
PASTNER, SMART AND NCAA TOURNEY HISTORY
Head coaches Josh Pastner and Shaka Smart not only made it to the NCAA Final Four, they also made NCAA Tournament history in doing so.
Pastner and his Arizona teammates made NCAA Tournament history in 1997, becoming the first team to defeat three No. 1 seeds in the same tournament (Arizona won the title).
Smart's 2011 VCU team became the first to win five games to reach the Final Four in NCAA Tournament history.
TIGERS IN IN-SEASON TOURNAMENTS/ CLASSICS
Thursday's encounter with VCU is the Tigers' quarterfinal contest in the 2012 Battle 4 Atlantis.
The Tigers have an overall record of 91-59 in regular season tournaments/classics in the program's history, including their 65-54 victory over Samford in a Battle 4 Atlantis opening game Nov. 17.
Last season, Memphis was 2-3 in regular-season tournaments/classics. The Tigers were 2-2 in the 2011 EA Sports Maui Invitational and 0-1 in the Basketball Hall of Fame Shootout (vs. Louisville).
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) came in the 2010-11 campaign. Memphis won the Global Sports Challenge with wins over Centenary, Northwestern State, LSU and UT Martin.
TIGERS IN OFF-THE-MAINLAND TOURNEYS
Memphis' participation in the Battle 4 Atlantis is the fifth different event played outside the contiguous 48 states in the program's history.
The Tigers' previous non-mainland tournaments were the Maui Invitational five times (1988, 1992, 1999, 2006, 2011), Puerto Rico Shootout twice (2000, 2009), Pearl Harbor Classic (1985) and Rainbow Classic (1996).
Memphis' all-time record in the non-continental U.S. tournaments is 13-13. The following is a breakdown of the Tigers' record in those tournaments:
Pearl Harbor Classic
Puerto Rico Shootout
TIGERS' ALL-TIME, OFF-THE-MAINLAND RECORD
Memphis has an all-time record of 14-15 when playing regular-season contests off the mainland.
In addition to their non-continental tournament participation, the Tigers played at Hawaii three times and have a 1-2 record in those games.
Memphis played at Hawaii in the 1951-52 and 1973-74 campaigns. The Tigers and Rainbow Warriors played back-to-back games in early March in the 1973-74 season.
FIRST TIME SINCE ...
With its participation in this week's Battle 4 Atlantis, Memphis will play regular-season contests outside the continental United States in consecutive years. Last season, the Tigers competed in the EA Sports Maui Invitational.
It is only the second time in school history that Memphis has played regular-season contests off the mainland in back-to-back years.
The first time the Tigers played games outside the contiguous United States was in the 1999-2000 and 2000-01 campaigns. Memphis participated in the 1999 Maui Invitational and the 2000 Puerto Rico Shootout.
BACK TO THE BAHAMAS FOR TIGERS
For the second time in three seasons, Memphis is making a trip to The Bahamas. However, this time the games count.
In August of 2010, Memphis schedule a foreign tour to The Bahamas to play two exhibition contests. The Tigers won both games.