MEMPHIS RETURNS TO ACTION TONIGHT
January 29, 2014INDIANA SPORTS PAGE
SETTING THE SCENE
• After a four-game homestand the past two weeks, Memphis takes to the road for two league contests this week. The Tigers (15-4, 5-2 The American) start their American Athletic Conference road trip at UCF (9-8, 1-5 The American) Jan. 29.
• ESPNU is televising Wednesday's 6 p.m. (CT) contest from CFE Arena in Orlando, Fla. The Memphis-UCF game also can be viewed via the web at ESPN3.com/WatchESPN.
• The last two weeks, Memphis had a four-game homestand in which it posted a 3-1 record. The Tigers defeated LeMoyne-Owen College 101-78 Jan. 18, Houston 82-59 Jan. 23 and USF 80-58 Jan. 26, but lost to Connecticut 83-73 Jan. 16.
• The Tigers remained in both national polls released Jan. 27. Memphis has appeared in all 13 polls in the 2013-14 season. Memphis is No. 22 in both the Associated Press (AP) and USA Today coaches polls. UCF is not ranked.
• Memphis enters Wednesday's encounter having won eight of its last 10 games. The Tigers' two setbacks in the last 10 games were to Cincinnati 69-53 and Connecticut 83-73.
• The Tigers are 3-1 on the road this season and 6-2 away from FedExForum (road/neutral games).
• Memphis returns three starters, but only five letterwinners from last year's squad.
• The Knights are 8-3 at CFE Arena in 2013-14, but only 1-2 in American Athletic Conference contests at home.
• UCF returns four starters and eight letterwinners from last season's squad.
WHAT THE KNIGHTS DID A YEAR AGO
• UCF posted a 20-11 overall record and a 9-7 Conference USA mark in 2012-13.
• The Knights finished seventh in the Conference USA regular-season standings.
• UCF was banned from 2012-13 postseason play due to NCAA sanctions.
SCOUTING THE KNIGHTS
• UCF enters Wednesday's American Athletic Conference contest with a 9-8 overall record and a 1-5 league mark.
• The Knights have lost four straight and five of their last six contests coming into Wednesday's game.
• UCF is 8-3 overall at home, but only 1-2 in league play at CFE Arena.
• The Knights were picked to finish ninth in the 2013-14 American Athletic Conference preseason coaches poll.
• Isaiah Sykes was named to the 2013-14 preseason American Athletic Conference second team.
• Sykes leads four Knights in double figures with a 15.1 scoring average (ninth in The American).
• Calvin Newell (12.3 ppg), Tristan Spurlock (11.1 ppg) and Kasey Wilson (10.2 ppg) also average double digits scoring for UCF.
• Sykes (6.4 rpg) and Spurlock (6.1 rpg) both average over six rebounds.
• Sykes leads the Knights with 60 assists (3.5 apg; 11th in The American), while Newell is tops on the team with 33 steals (2.1 spg; first in The American).
• Four Knights -- Wilson (43.4 percent), Sykes (38.5), Matt Williams (35.8) and Spurlock (35.1) -- all shoot over 35 percent from the three-point arc.
• The Knights are shooting 44.1 percent from the field, 34.6 percent from the arc and 59.5 percent from the free throw line.
• UCF is out-rebounding its opponents by a margin of +4.8 boards per game (39.9-35.1; second in The American).
• Donnie Jones is in his fourth season at UCF. He has a 75-53 record at the school.
NICE TO SEE A FAMILIAR FOE
• Not that the Tigers don't enjoy meeting new league opponents and getting reacquainted with former conference foes from years back, but it's always good to see a familiar face.
• And, Memphis will see another familiar opponent Wednesday when it meets UCF in Orlando.
• The Tigers and Knights played every season from 2005-06 through 2012-13 as members of Conference USA.
• Memphis and UCF made the conference shift in the summer of 2013, with both schools becoming charter members of the American Athletic Conference.
• Wednesday's match-up is the first between the Tigers and Knights as American Athletic Conference foes.
• UCF is the Tigers' second familiar league foe this season, as they played Houston Jan. 23.
HIDE YOUR EYES!
• If fans are coming to Wednesday's game to see good free throw shooting, they may go away disappointed.
• Wednesday's game features the two worst free throw shooting teams in the American Athletic Conference.
• Memphis is ninth in The American in free throw percentage (64.6) and UCF is 10th (59.5).
BATTLE ON THE GLASS
• Memphis enters this week's play facing the American Athletic Conference's top-two teams in rebound margin in UCF and SMU.
• The Knights are second in the league with a +4.8 rebound margin, while SMU is first at a whopping +8.2 rebound margin.
• But, the Tigers have held their own on the boards in league games only.
• In league games only (seven games), Memphis is second in rebound margin at +4.4 (SMU is first at +4.9).
• The Tigers have won the battle on the glass in six of their seven conference games.
21ST CENTURY SUCCESS VERSUS STATE OF FLORIDA SCHOOLS
• In the 21st century, Memphis has been rather successful playing NCAA Division I schools from the state of Florida.
• The Tigers have a 25-4 record (.862 winning percentage) when playing NCAA Division I programs from the Sunshine State since 2000-01.
• Memphis is 11-1 versus UCF, 0-1 versus Florida, 2-1 versus Miami, Fla., 1-0 versus North Florida and 11-1 versus USF.
• All four losses were single-digit setbacks, with three by two or fewer points.
• Under head coach Josh Pastner, Memphis is 12-2 (.857 winning percentage) against NCAA Division I schools from the state of Florida since 2000-01.
21ST CENTURY SUCCESS IN THE STATE OF FLORIDA
• In the 21st century, Memphis has been rather successful playing inside the Sunshine state lines.
• The Tigers have a 13-2 record (.867 winning percentage) when playing NCAA Division I programs inside the Florida state lines since 2000-01.
• Memphis is 5-0 versus USF, 4-1 versus UCF and 1-1 vs. Miami, Fla., and both losses were single-digit setbacks.
• The Tigers' most-recent success in the state of Florida came two months ago at the 2013 Old Spice Classic in Orlando, Fla.
• Memphis defeated Siena, LSU and No. 5/8 Oklahoma State to claim the Old Spice Classic crown (3-0 record). The tournament was played Nov. 28-Dec. 1.
MEMPHIS "MAGIC" MEMORIES/PART I
• Disney's Magic Kingdom is located in Orlando, and it's rubbed off on the Tigers recently.
• The first recent instance of Memphis magic in Orlando came near the end of the 2012-13 regular season.
• Last March, Memphis played UCF at CFE Arena in Orlando (Mar. 2, 2013).
• The Tigers posted a 76-67 win over the Knights.
• The win was Josh Pastner's 100th victory as the Memphis head coach.
• The Memphis win over UCF also gave the Tigers their sixth outright Conference USA regular-season championship. The six outright regular-season titles are a C-USA record.
MEMPHIS "MAGIC" MEMORIES/PART II
• The Tigers had more magic memories in Orlando in November of 2013.
• Memphis played in the 2013 Old Spice Classic held at the HP Field House on the Magic Kingdom's property.
• The Tigers had an incredible three-game run, claiming the Old Spice Classic title with wins over Siena, LSU and No. 5/8 Oklahoma State.
• Shaq Goodwin was named the Old Spice Classic's MVP, and Austin Nichols joined Goodwin on the Old Spice Classic All-Tournament Team.
• The in-season tournament title (bracketed tournament) was the first for Memphis under head coach Josh Pastner and the program's first since the 2007 2k Sports College Hoops Classic.
IT'S AN NCAA RING THING!
• Both head coaches in Wednesday's Memphis-UCF 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 Kentucky for the championship.
• UCF head coach Donnie Jones was a member of two NCAA championship teams at Florida. Jones was an assistant on Billy Donovan's staff when the Gators won back-to-back crowns in 2005-06 and 2006-07.
ANOTHER STREAK STILL GOING
• While their overall conference win streak is over, the Tigers still have their conference road win streak alive after wins at Louisville 73-67 Jan. 9 and Temple 79-69 Jan. 11.
• Memphis brings a 15-game conference road win streak into Wednesday's game at UCF.
• The last time the Tigers dropped a league road game was in the 2011-12 season.
• Memphis lost at Southern Miss 75-72 Feb. 1, 2012.
• The two road victories at Louisville and Temple also kept another win streak alive for Memphis.
• Memphis now has won 18 straight conference games (regular season and tournament) away from FedExForum.
• In addition to the streak of 15-straight conference true road wins, the Tigers also won three games at the 2013 Conference USA Tournament in Tulsa, Okla. (BOK Center).
CRAWFORD LOVES THE ROAD
• Head coach Josh Pastner and Chris Crawford may dismiss the notion that the 6-foot-4 guard plays better away from FedExForum than on his own homecourt.
• However, the statistics prove that "Clutch" loves the road a little better than FedExForum.
• For his career, Crawford is averaging 7.8 points and shooting 37.5 percent from the field and 34.6 percent from the arc at FedExForum.
• In games played away from FedExForum (road/neutral), Crawford is averaging 9.2 points and shooting 42.9 percent from the floor and 39.8 percent from the three-point arc.
• Also, Crawford has set eight of his 12 career highs in games played away from FedExForum.
CLOSE CALLS AT CFE ARENA
• Single-digit outcome games have been the norm of late in the Memphis-UCF contests played in Orlando.
• The Tigers and Knights have played single-digit outcome games in their last four meetings played in Orlando.
• Memphis won three of those four meetings, including last season's 76-67 victory Mar. 2, 2013.
• The average margin of victory in the last four games played at CFE Arena between Memphis and UCF was 4.5 points.