Memphis Drops Contest, 95-87, at No. 4 Louisville LOUISVILLE, Ky. -Memphis fell to Louisville on the road Saturday evening, 95-87. Will Barton recorded 28 points and 15 rebounds, both career-highs. With the double-double against the Cardinals, Barton now has four on the season and three in the last four games. Joe Jackson added 22 points, five rebounds and four assists for the Tigers.
Tigers On TV/Radio/Web Television: FSN-SportSouth/Comcast digital channel 52 (Ron Thulin, play-by-play; Mike Gminski, color analyst; Jenn Hildreth, sideline reporter)
Radio: WREC 600 AM (Dave Woloshin, play-by-play; Matt Dillon, color analyst; Forrest Goodman, studio host)
SETTING THE SCENE
Memphis (6-2) hosts No. 6/6 Louisville (8-1) Saturday, Dec. 15 at FedExForum. The game, to be televised on Fox Sports Net (SportSouth), is scheduled for a 1:30 p.m. (CT) start.
The Tigers did not appear in either national poll this week. The Cardinals are ranked No. 6 in both the Associated Press and ESPN/USA Today coaches polls.
The Tigers' return to the mainland has been a successful one with three-straight home victories over UT Martin 93-65 Nov. 29, Ohio 84-58 Dec. 5 and Austin Peay 83-65 Dec. 8.
Prior to the Nov. 29 contest, Memphis went 2-2 in the 2012 Battle 4 Atlantis, posting wins over Samford and Northern Iowa and falling to VCU and Minnesota.
Memphis returns four starters and 11 letterwinners from last year's squad.
Louisville has also posted three-consecutive wins since its return to the mainland after finishing as the Battle 4 Atlantis runner-up. The Cardinals defeated Illinois State, College of Charleston and Missouri-Kansas City.
Louisville's lone setback was a narrow 76-71 loss to Duke in the Battle 4 Atlantis championship game.
The Cardinals return three starters and 11 letterwinners from last year's squad that went 30-10.
WHAT'S UP NEXT
The Tigers return to action Thursday, Dec. 20 with a 7 p.m. (CT) contest versus Lipscomb at FedExForum. SportSouth is slated to televise the game.
The Cardinals return home to Louisville, Ky., to host Florida International Wednesday, Dec. 19. Game time is 6 p.m. (CT) at the KFC Yum! Center.
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 C-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 titles.
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 CARDINALS DID A YEAR AGO
Louisville posted a 30-10 overall record and a 10-8 BIG EAST Conference mark.
The Cardinals finished seventh in the BIG EAST Conference regular-season standings.
Louisville won the BIG EAST Conference Tournament.
The Cardinals earned the BIG EAST's NCAA Tournament automatic bid and advanced to the NCAA Final Four, losing to rival Kentucky in the national semifinal round.
SCOUTING THE CARDINALS
Louisville brings an 8-1 overall record into Saturday's rivalry match-up.
The Cardinals' lone loss was a narrow 76-71 setback to Duke in the Battle 4 Atlantis title game Nov. 24.
The backcourt tandem of Russ Smith (20.3 ppg) and Peyton Siva (10.9 ppg) paces the Cardinals offense.
Gorgui Dieng leads Louisville on the glass (8.0 rpg), but may miss Saturday's contest as he recovers from a wrist fracture suffered versus Missouri Nov. 23.
Chane Behanan is the Cardinals' second-leading rebounder at 7.8 rpg.
Siva is the squad's top playmaker, averaging 5.7 assists (51 total).
Smith is Louisville's top three-point threat, hitting 38.5 percent from the arc.
The Cardinals are shooting 44.9 percent from the field, 31.4 percent from the arc and 68 percent from the free throw line.
Louisville is out-rebounding its foes by an average margin of +8.9 boards per game (40.3-31.4).
The Cardinals average over 12 steals per game (12.4 spg) and force opponents to turn the ball over 20 times per contest (22.1).
MEMPHIS VS. THE BIG EAST
The Tigers are 126-142 all-time versus current members of the BIG EAST Conference.
Memphis has played Cincinnati (31-36), Connecticut (1-0), DePaul (14-12), Georgetown (2-10), Louisville (34-52), Marquette (14-12), Pittsburgh (1-1), Providence (2-3), St. John's (1-1), Seton Hall (3-1), Syracuse (1-3), USF (18-3) and Villanova (4-8).
Memphis has played 13 of the 15 BIG EAST schools, leaving Notre Dame and Rutgers as the only two league programs the Tigers have not faced.
Most of the contests versus Cincinnati, DePaul, Louisville, Marquette and USF were former league games (Missouri Valley, Metro, Great Midwest, Conference USA).
Since the start of the 2005-06 campaign (when the BIG EAST realigned), Memphis is 9-7 against teams from the BIG EAST.
The last time the Tigers played a BIG EAST opponent was last season. In fact, Memphis had three games against BIG EAST foes in 2011-12. The Tigers lost to Georgetown twice (91-88 ot in EA Sports Maui Invitational; 70-59 in Washington, D.C.) and Louisville 95-87.
A GOOD OMEN?
The Tigers hope so, as they have a 3-3 record versus Louisville when Memphis is unranked and the Cardinals are ranked since 2000-01.
To take it further, Memphis is 3-2 versus the Cardinals when the Tigers are unranked and Louisville is in the top-10.
The following shows the meetings since 2000-01 that involved an unranked Memphis team versus a ranked Louisville squad:
Year UM Rank UL Rank Result
2012-13 NR 6 --
2011-12 NR 4 95-87, UL
2004-05 NR 6 75-74, UL
NR 11 53-44, UL
NR 9 85-68, UM
2003-04 NR 6 62-58, UM
2002-03 NR 4 80-73, UM
TIGERS, CARDINALS AMONG ELITE GROUP
Memphis is among the winningest NCAA Division I programs since 2000-01 and 2005-06, but it doesn't end there.
The Tigers are a part of another elite group at the NCAA Division I level.
Memphis is one of nine programs that has won 20 or more games each of the last 10 seasons.
Louisville is also a part of this elite group in NCAA Division I hoops.
The following lists the nine NCAA Division I programs that have 20 or more wins the each of the last 10 years (2002-03 to 2011-12):
Kansas Utah State
PASTNER VERSUS PITINO
Although this is the second time Josh Pastner and Rick Pitino face off as head coaches, the two were on opposing sidelines two times prior to the Dec. 17, 2011, match-up.
The most memorable of the two previous Pastner-Pitino meetings came in the 1997 NCAA Tournament championship game. Pastner was a player on the Arizona squad that defeated Pitino's Kentucky team 84-79 for the NCAA title.
The next Pastner-Pitino encounter was in the 2006-07 season. Pastner was an assistant coach at Arizona that year when the Wildcats defeated Pitino's Louisville squad 72-65 in the 2006 Jimmy V Classic in New York City.
IT'S A (NCAA) RING THING
Both head coaches in Saturday's Memphis-Louisville match-up have NCAA title rings.
Memphis head coach Josh Pastner won his NCAA title as a player on the 1996-97 Arizona squad. Arizona defeated Rick Pitino's Kentucky team for the championship.
The year before (1996-97), Louisville head coach Rick Pitino led Kentucky to the NCAA championship.
YOUNG COACH #1 VS. YOUNG COACH #2
Around 31 years before Memphis hired a young 32-year-old Josh Pastner to take over the Tigers hoops program, an even younger 25-year-old Rick Pitino was hired as the head coach at Boston University.
In his three-plus seasons at Memphis (currently in fourth year), Pastner has guided the Tigers to an 81-31 record, a C-USA regular-season crown, two C-USA Tournament titles and three-straight postseason tournaments (2011, 2012 NCAA; 2010 NIT).
In his first four years at Boston University, Pitino put together a 70-41 record and made one NIT appearance (1980).
BEST HOMECOURT ADVANTAGE
Since 2004-05, Memphis has won 150 games at FedExForum, the most home wins in the country over that span of time.
Louisville is tied for the No. 5 spot on the list with 136 homecourt victories since 2004-05.
The following are the top-five programs with the most home wins since 2004-05 (credit to former Memphis Athletics Communications Assistant Bryan McEldowney for compiling this list):
Most Home Wins Since 2004-05
(as of Dec. 13)
1. Memphis 150
2. Ohio State 141
3. Kansas 138
5. Louisville 136
WIN NO. 150 IN THE BANK
Last Saturday (Dec. 15), Memphis reached a milestone in its time at FedExForum, winning its 150th contest in the arena with an 83-65 victory over Austin Peay.
The Tigers now have a 150-17 record at FedExForum since 2004-05.
TIGERS SUCCESS AT FEDEXFORUM
The Tigers have a 150-17 overall record (.898 winning percentage) at FedExForum since moving to the arena for the 2004-05 campaign.
Since the 2005 Conference USA Tournament, Memphis has won 140 of its last 151 home games (.927 winning percentage).
Against non-conference foes (regular-season only) at FedExForum since 2004-05, the Tigers have a 68-10 mark (.872 winning percentage).
Under head coach Josh Pastner, Memphis is 32-4 (.889 winning percentage) against non-league foes at FedExForum (includes 5-0 record so far this year).
TIGERS LOVE THOSE LONG HOMESTANDS
The Tigers opened a seven-game homestand Nov. 29 when they hosted UT Martin at FedExForum. The seven-game home stretch continues Saturday, Dec. 15 against No. 6/6 Louisville.
After Saturday, Memphis hosts Lipscomb Dec. 20, Oral Roberts Dec. 28 and Loyola, Md., Dec. 30.
This seven-game homestand is the longest since 2008-09 when the Tigers also played seven-straight home games in December and early January. Memphis posted a 6-1 record in that homestand, with the lone loss coming to No. 11 Syracuse.
To find a longer homestand in Tigers history, one has to go all the way back to the 1979-80 campaign when the Tigers played nine-straight at home from Dec. 1, 1979-Jan. 3, 1980. Memphis went 7-2 in that homestand.
The following are the longest Memphis homestands since 1974-75 and the Tigers' record during those homestands:
Longest Homestands Since 1974-75
Year No. of Games Record
1979-80 9 7-2
1975-76 9 9-0
1974-75 8 7-1
2012-13 7 3-0*
2008-09 7 6-1
1995-96 7 7-0
2005-06 6 5-1
*current homestand started Nov. 29
`BOUNDING AND STEALIN'
Saturday's contest may come down to which team wins the board game and which squad can protect the ball.
Memphis and Louisville both enter Saturday's encounter at or near the top of their respective leagues in both rebound margin, steals and turnovers forced. The following shows that:
Memphis/Rank Stat Louisville/Rank
+7.2/3rd Reb. Margin +8.9/3rd
9.9/1st Steals 12.4/2nd
17.8/1st TO Forced 22.1/1st
+3.4/2nd TO Margin +9.2/1st