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Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Cal Likely Wishes He Could Read Knight's Mind

Calipari likely wishes he could read Knight's mind

By Jim Masilak
March 20, 2007

When University of Memphis coach John Calipari and his staff visited Texas Tech coach Bob Knight in Lubbock in November, getting pointers on how to beat Texas A&M would have been the last thing on their minds.

What Calipari and the Tigers wouldn't give for the opportunity to pick Knight's brain now.

No team has given the Tigers' opponent in Thursday night's NCAA Tournament South Regional semifinal in San Antonio more fits this season than Knight's Red Raiders.
The legendary former Indiana coach helped inflict two of the Aggies' six losses this season.

Texas Tech beat Texas A&M, 70-68, in Lubbock on Jan. 24 and completed the season sweep three weeks later with a 77-75 triumph in College Station.

While Texas Tech was eliminated in the first round of the NCAAs by Boston College, thus ending its season, Calipari won't be able to call on Knight for lessons on this occasion.

"It's hard for guys within their league to do any favors for us," Calipari said Monday when asked whether he'd been in contact with Knight. "One thing you do is get the tapes of those games and study them."

On Monday afternoon, Calipari showed his players film of Oklahoma State's 57-56 Big 12 Tournament quarterfinal victory over the Aggies (27-6).

When No. 2-seeded Memphis (32-3) meets Texas A&M in San Antonio's Alamodome on Thursday at 6:27 p.m. for a spot in the Elite Eight, there's a good chance the Tigers will put bits and pieces of such previously successful game plans to use.

"The league teams know them the best. Whatever they do best, you play that way," Calipari said. "You try to mimic it, but it's tough in such a short period."

Tigers-Aggies history

The Tigers and Aggies have a bit of history between them on the hardwood, though none of it is recent.

Texas A&M holds a 4-3 series edge over Memphis, with the teams' last meeting coming 40 years ago during the 1966-67 season, with the Tigers claiming a 66-56 victory in Memphis.

Two seasons earlier, Texas A&M had provided the opposition for the Tigers in the first collegiate game ever played at the Mid-South Coliseum.

Memphis scored an 82-73 victory over the Aggies in the Dec. 1, 1964, christening.

Nine days later, however, Texas A&M turned the tables on the Tigers with an 81-71 triumph in College Station, Texas.

Memphis is 3-1 at home against the Aggies and 0-3 in College Station.

Thursday's game in San Antonio will be their first against each other at a neutral site.

Light day

The Tigers didn't practice Monday, engaging instead in an optional shootaround after film study.

They also tried to catch up on some sleep.

Sophomore guard Antonio Anderson, fresh off his first career double-double Sunday against Nevada, said he caught a few extra winks after class Monday.

"We're tired," junior point guard Andre Allen said. "I took (a nap) too, but I'll be ready (for Thursday)."

The Tigers are scheduled to practice this afternoon at the Finch Center before departing later in the day for San Antonio.

-- Jim Masilak: 529-2311

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