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Saturday, February 03, 2007

Preview #10 Memphis vs. Univ. of Central Florida

Preview: No. 11 Tigers vs. UCF

UCF Arena, Orlando Fla., 6 p.m. CST
TV, radio: Comcast Sports Southeast (Ch. 6 on Comcast cable, not available on satellite), WREC-AM (600)

Records: Memphis 17-3, 7-0 Conference USA; UCF 15-15, 4-2
Series standing: Memphis leads, 4-0

Latest line: Memphis by 81/2


The Tigers, coming off their closest Conference USA game of the season, 67-64 over Southern Miss, make their first-ever appearance at UCF Arena. ... The Tigers handled UCF last year, 94-61 at FedExForum. ... Memphis has won nine straight games and is ranked No. 11 in The Associated Press poll, its highest of the season. ... The Tigers have won 15 straight games in the month of January dating back to last season. Coach John Calipari's January record is 44-10 since coming to Memphis. ... After a five-game stretch in which the Tigers shot 51.8 percent from the floor, they've cooled off, making 39.7 percent in the past three games. Memphis has also been out-rebounded in back-to-back games, the first time that's happened this season. ... Three starters are making more than half their field goal attempts: Forward Joey Dorsey (62.1 percent), forward Robert Dozier (51.6 percent) and guard Chris Douglas-Roberts (55.9 percent). ... ... Despite shooting just 34.1 percent from the field in conference games, sophomore guard Antonio Anderson is averaging 31 minutes.

Scouting the Golden Knights

Picked seventh in the C-USA preseason poll, only two overtime losses separate the Golden Knights from being undefeated in the league. In both games, at Houston and at UAB, they lost double-digit leads in the second half. ... UCF has excelled shooting the ball, leading the league in field goal percentage (48.3) and 3-point percentage (40.4). ... Junior Mike O'Donnell has connected on a league-leading 47.4 percent of his 3-pointers while sophomore Jermaine Taylor has made 45.7 percent. ... Taylor is one of the league's most improved players. After averaging 4.3 points in 11.7 minutes last season, he's leading UCF at 14.7 points per game. ... Senior forward Josh Peppers, who played at Whitehaven, is averaging 12.8 points and 4.3 rebounds. The other Memphis native on the roster, freshman Andre Thornton from Mitchell, has appeared in just eight games. ... The Golden Knights are 10-0 this season at UCF Arena. Tonight's game is already sold out. UCF has only hosted one nationally-ranked opponent in school history, beating No. 25 College of Charleston on Dec. 12, 2002.

KEY MATCHUP: Andre Allen vs. Mike O'Donnell

This is the kind of game in which O'Donnell, a 6-foot junior, could be the key. If O'Donnell is energized by the sold-out crowd and hitting 3-pointers like crazy, the Tigers could be in trouble. Allen, a very smart defender, will need to get in O'Donnell's face early. If the Tigers can force O'Donnell to commit turnovers instead of make 3-pointers, they'll be in good shape.

-- Dan Wolken

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