Tigers win No. 400 for Calipari
Undefeated, No. 1 Tigers await Vols
Originally published 12:00 a.m., February 21, 2008
NEW ORLEANS - It didn't take last-minute heroics Wednesday night, just full-time concentration.
Chris Douglas-Roberts scored 29 points to lead No. 1 Memphis to a 97-71 victory over Tulane on Wednesday night, giving coach John Calipari his 400th victory and a chance for a major sigh of relief.
"I was scared to death," Calipari said. "I had a pit in my stomach all day and I'm not worried about Saturday's game.
Memphis' win, coupled with second-ranked Tennessee's 89-70 victory against Auburn, sets up a showdown Saturday between the top two ranked teams in the country. It will be the first 1-2 meeting since No. 2 Ohio State beat No. 1 Wisconsin 49-48 on Feb. 25, 2007.
"That game has been played up to a level I can't even tell you," Calipari said.
That game, and the hype surrounding it is what sparked Calipari's concern. He was worried his players would be thinking Tennessee not Tulane. He didn't need to worry.
After remaining undefeated with a one-point victory over UAB, Memphis (26-0, 12-0 Conference USA), had no trouble against Tulane (15-10, 5-6).
Memphis was ahead 46-27 at halftime, and never allowed the Green Wave to get closer than 17 after that.
"We just got beaten by the best team in the country," Tulane coach Dave Dickerson said. "We have a long way to go to catch up to them."
The Tigers, who haven't lost a league game since March 2, 2006, ran up their impressive streaks -45 consecutive regular-season wins, 35 consecutive C-USA victories and 17 road wins in a row.
"We're not thinking of the streaks at all," Douglas-Roberts said. "Our motto is it's a one-game season."
But after beating Tulane, Douglas-Roberts was ready to look ahead to the Vols.
"We've got a good one ahead of us," he said. "We're evenly matched, it's going to be a good one."
Derrick Rose scored 17 for Memphis and had five assists, Robert Dozier and Doneal Mach each had 14 points.
David Gomez led the Green Wave with 23 points.