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Tuesday, January 16, 2007 Preview of Memphis vs. UAB

Preview: UAB at No. 19 Memphis

Associated Press
Mon, Jan 15, 2007

Memphis has dominated UAB at home lately, but the Tigers might want to be wary of carrying an undefeated record in Conference USA into a matchup with their league rivals.

The 19th-ranked Tigers (13-3, 3-0) face the Blazers for the first time since winning the conference tournament title in Memphis last season, and hope to avoid another regular-season letdown against UAB when the teams meet Tuesday night.

Oddsmakers have the Tigers listed as 14-point favorites. The total is set at 140 1/2.

Memphis has won seven straight home games against UAB (10-7, 2-1), including the C-USA tournament championship game 57-46 on March 11. The Blazers` last win in Memphis was 91-83 on Jan. 2, 1999.

The Tigers, however, faltered the last time they faced the Blazers with an unbeaten conference record. Memphis` only league loss last season came against UAB, 80-74 on March 2. The Tigers came into the game 12-0 in conference play.

Chris Douglas-Roberts bounced back from a sprained ankle to help the Tigers earn another conference win Saturday night, scoring nine points during a decisive 12-3 run in a 75-62 victory over Southern Miss.

Douglas-Roberts, who leads the team with 15.7 points per game, finished with 23 despite hurting his ankle in the first half. The 6-foot-6 sophomore guard used his size advantage to score consecutive baskets twice in the second period to end quick-strike spurts by Southern Miss, helping the Tigers to win their fifth straight.

It`s uncertain if Douglas-Roberts` injury will keep him from playing Tuesday.

Memphis has been using its size to its advantage throughout the season. Joey Dorsey, who employed his 260-pound frame to bull his way to 14 points, 11 rebounds and six of his team`s eight blocks Saturday, was a key reason the Tigers pulled away late.

"We`re a physical team, and when we play physical, usually we come out on top," Douglas-Roberts said.

In last season`s conference title game, Dorsey had 10 points, 12 rebounds and two blocks, and led a Tigers defensive effort that shut down the Blazers inside and held them to 27 percent shooting.

Dorsey is averaging 15.3 rebounds and 2.6 blocks in his last three games against UAB. He tops the team with 9.6 rebounds per contest.

Blazers forward Lawrence Kinnard, who averaged just 3.7 points per game as a freshman against Memphis last season, was named the Conference USA co-player of the week Monday.

Kinnard had 25 points and was 4-for-8 from 3-point range Saturday, and Paul Delaney added 21 points as UAB beat Tulane 67-60.

Kinnard had a game-high 21 points on 8-of-14 shooting from the floor and 4-of-8 from beyond the arc in a 74-64 overtime win over Central Florida on Wednesday. He also had three blocks and two steals.

Kinnard is third on Memphis with 12.8 points per game and averages a team-best 5.8 rebounds a contest. Delaney leads the Blazers with 17.6 points per game.

Memphis leads the series with UAB 22-10.

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