Calipari proud of Tigers' slate outside league
Memphis has early start, will face big names in non-conference schedule
By Dan Wolken
July 20, 2007
Memphis released its non-conference schedule Thursday. The opponents had already been reported, but the dates had not been released.
The Tigers will open the season Nov. 5 -- the first college basketball game in the country -- with a first-round game of the 2K College Hoops Classic Benefiting Coaches vs. Cancer at FedExForum. Though the opponent for that night has not been announced formally, Tennessee-Martin will be Memphis' opener barring a late shift in plans.
The schedule includes several highlights, including a Jan. 26 game against Gonzaga and a Feb. 23 game against Tennessee that will fall in the middle of the Conference USA season. The Georgetown and Arizona games, which will be played on consecutive Saturdays in December, are the other marquee home dates.
Memphis' league schedule has not been released, but the Tigers know they will play Houston, UAB, Southern Miss, SMU and Tulsa twice and the rest of the league once.
East Carolina, UCF and UTEP will play in Memphis, and the Tigers will travel to Marshall, Rice and Tulane.
"If it's not the best non-conference schedule in the country, you've got to show me whose schedule is (better)," coach John Calipari said. "Next year, we're adding one of the best Big East teams and one of the best Big Ten teams at home and the year after that we're adding a Big 12 team and another Big East team I think people will be excited about.
"Probably within the next month we'll announce the next two years, so it's kind of like a football schedule where it's out there (a few years in advance), which usually doesn't happen in basketball."
-- Dan Wolken: 529-2365