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Saturday, December 29, 2007

KNXV-TV, Phoenix - Memphis vs. Arizona Game Preview

Memphis vs. Arizona Game Preview
KNXV-TV, Phoenix

GAME NOTES: Still sporting a flawless record, the second-ranked Memphis Tigers close out the 2007 portion of their schedule this evening, as they play host to the 17th-ranked Arizona Wildcats in top-25 action at FedExForum. John Calipari's Tigers have looked strong throughout the season, but are coming off their most impressive victory to date, an 85-71 win over fifth-ranked Georgetown last weekend. The win moved Memphis to 10-0 on the year, one of just eight unbeaten teams left in the nation. The Wildcats have just two losses on the season and bring a six-game win streak into this game. Last weekend, it was a tough San Diego State that fell to Arizona, as UA posted a 74-58 win at home. This is the seventh all-time meeting between these two teams, with the series knotted at 3-3.

The Young Wildcats are starting to gel and that is not good news for the opposition. The team is converting nearly half its shots on the season (.494), resulting in a healthy 75.5 ppg. The defensive effort has been top-notch as well, holding foes to just 64.3 ppg and outrebounding them by 4.9 rpg. There are quite a few freshmen making headlines across the nation and Arizona has one of its own in guard Jerryd Bayless. The 6-3 youngster has done it all for the Wildcats this season, leading the way in scoring (18.5 ppg) and assists (4.2 apg). Sophomores Chase Budinger (15.6 ppg, 5.4 rpg) and Jordan Hill (13.5 ppg, team-high 7.5 rpg) have also made solid contributions. In the win over SDSU, the Wildcats shot .542 from the floor, with four players finishing in double figures. Bayless and Hill led the way with 15 points apiece. Hill recorded his second straight double-double, grabbing 10 rebounds. Budinger and Nic Wise filled out the scoring list with 13 and 12 points, respectively.

There have been several impressive victories for Memphis this season, but none better than last weekend's 14-point decision over the Hoyas. Against what was supposed to be a physical, defensive team, the Tigers shot a solid 46 percent from the floor, while dominating the boards (43-30). All-American candidate Chris Douglas-Roberts snapped out of a little slump to score a game-high 24 points. Junior forward Robert Dozier and freshman guard Derrick Rose where also instrumental offensively, pouring in 19 and 18 points, respectively. Senior forward Joey Dorsey added a double-double with 11 points and 13 boards, including eight rebounds at the offensive end. The team has gotten plenty of scoring help on the year, averaging a robust 80.5 ppg, despite having just two players boasting double-digit averages. Douglas-Roberts is the top scoring threat with 17.4 ppg. Rose, who was recently named the Conference USA Player of the Week, adds almost 16 points per game (15.9), while doling out a team- high 43 assists. Dozier (9.8 ppg, 6.9 rpg) and Dorsey (8.1 ppg, 9.8 rpg) give the team a pair of bangers in the paint.

Arizona is a young team that is starting to scratch the surface of its potential. Unfortunately for the Wildcats, Memphis is a team that has arrived and with each win, builds more and more momentum heading into conference play.

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