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Saturday, March 03, 2007

Preview - #6 Memphis Tigers vs. SMU

No. 6 Tigers at SMU

March 3, 2007
Moody Coliseum, Dallas, 8:30 p.m.
TV: CSTV (Ch. 222 on Comcast digital cable, Ch. 610 on DIRECTV, Ch. 152 on DISH Network). CSTV is not all available on every cable or satellite package

Radio: WREC-AM (600)

Records: Memphis 26-3 (15-0 Conference USA), SMU 14-15 (3-12)

Series standing: Memphis leads, 3-1

Latest line: Memphis by 14


With a victory, Memphis would finish off a perfect 16-0 conference season. In the history of the program, no Tigers team has ever gone undefeated in its league. Only one other C-USA team has run the table, as Cincinnati went 16-0 in 1999-2000. ... Perhaps more remarkable, of Memphis' 15 league games, only one has been decided by a single-digit margin (Southern Miss on Jan. 27). ... With his 21-point performance in Thursday's 78-67 victory at UTEP, sophomore guard Chris Douglas-Roberts made a strong push to claim C-USA player of the year honors. Douglas-Roberts has scored in double-figures in all 12 league games he's played (he missed three due to injury) and is averaging 15.3 points. ... Senior guard Jeremy Hunt, a lock to win the C-USA sixth man award, will average double-figures for the first time in his career. After averaging 9.0, 9.6 and 9.5 points, Hunt has bumped his contribution to 14.1 points per game. By making 4-of-7 from 3-point range at UTEP, Hunt bumped his 3-point percentage to 44.4. ... Coach John Calipari is working to find more minutes for Doneal Mack, who connected on 5-of-5 from 3-point range and scored 17 points in the first meeting with SMU.


Due to attrition and injuries, SMU is down to seven scholarship players for tonight's game. Three of SMU's starters played 37 minutes in Wednesday's 67-60 loss to Tulsa. The lack of depth means the Mustangs will likely play the same zone defense Memphis destroyed in the Tigers' 88-52 victory on Feb. 3. "We have to play a lot of zone," coach Matt Doherty said. "We play a lot of zone anyway, but (by playing man-to-man), you risk foul trouble and fatigue."... Regardless of tonight's outcome, SMU will be the 11th seed in next week's C-USA Tournament ... Senior Ike Ofoegbu is streaking to end his career, with an average of 19.7 points and 11.7 rebounds in the last six games. He's shot 53.5 percent from the field during that stretch and made 14 of 22 from 3-point range. ... Ofoegbu, Devon Pearson and Donatas Rackauskas will be playing their final home games. ... Bamba Fall, a 7-1 sophomore, is unlikely to play tonight due to a broken finger on his left hand. He has been out since Feb. 10 but might return for the conference tournament.

KEY MATCHUP: Donatas Rackauskas vs. Robert Dozier

One of Calipari's biggest frustrations has been Dozier's inability to finish strong when he bumps up against physical post players. Rackauskas, a 6-11 senior, will likely try to hack and disrupt Dozier when he gets the ball, as UTEP did Thursday. Though Dozier is slightly built, the bigger issue is his mentality, which must improve before the NCAA Tournament.

-- Dan Wolken

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