Nov. 22, 2012
SETTING THE SCENE
- Memphis (2-1) meets Minnesota (4-1) in a Battle 4 Atlantis (B4A) consolation semifinal contest Friday, Nov. 23 at 12 p.m. (CT).
- The Tigers dropped their B4A quarterfinal game to VCU 78-65 Thursday. The Golden Gophers fell to Duke 89-71 in their quarterfinal game.
- The overall series is tied at 2-2, with the programs protecting the two games on their respective homecourts.
- Friday's contest is the first between the two programs at a neutral site.
- The last meeting came in the 1992-93 campaign, and the Golden Gophers won that contest by a 70-55 score on New Year's Eve (Dec. 31, 1992) in Minneapolis.
MEMPHIS VERSUS THE BIG TEN CONFERENCE
- The Tigers have an overall record of 16-17 versus current members of the Big Ten Conference.
- Memphis has played 11 of the 12 Big Ten schools. The only Big Ten hoops program the Tigers have not faced is Northwestern.
- The last Tigers victory over a Big Ten foe came in the 2008 NCAA Tournament. Memphis defeated Michigan State 92-74 in an NCAA Tournament South Region semifinal en route to NCAA title game.
THE TIE THAT BINDS
- Memphis and Minnesota have a connection through current Tigers assistant coach Jimmy Williams.
- Williams served as a Golden Gophers assistant coach from 1971-86 and finished the 1985-86 campaign as the program's interim head coach.
- With Williams on staff, Minnesota won two Big Ten championships (1972, 1982) and advanced to six postseason tournaments (2 NCAA, 4 NIT). The 1979-80 squad was the NIT runner-up.
- In his time at Minnesota, Williams coached Mychal Thompson and Kevin McHale, both of whom were top-three NBA Draft picks. He also coached Dave Winfield, who had a Hall of Fame baseball career.
A 2009 WHITE STATION STATE TITLE REUNION
- Friday's game is a reunion of the 2008-09 White Station High School squad that won the Tennessee Class AAA state championship.
- Three members of that Spartans squad - Memphis' Ferrakohn Hall and Joe Jacksonand Minnesota's Andre Hollins -- will be on the court Friday.
IT'S A (NCAA) RING THING
- Both head coaches in Friday's Memphis-Minnesota match-up have NCAA championship rings.
- Memphis head coach Josh Pastner won his NCAA title as a player on the 1996-97 Arizona squad.
- The following season (1997-98), Minnesota head coach Tubby Smith led Kentucky to the NCAA championship.
JOHNSON SUSPENSION OVER
- For the first time in regular-season action, junior Geron Johnson will be able to suit up for the Blue and Gray.
- Johnson had to sit the first three games as a result of an NCAA-imposed suspension. The suspension was the result of extra benefits received by Johnson from a family friend who assisted the family with his educational expenses prior to his enrollment at the University of Memphis.