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Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Tigers' first contest draws near - but nobody can watch

Tigers' first contest draws near - but nobody can watch
By: Joseph Russell

The opening game for The University of Memphis men's basketball team is Saturday, but all of the action will be behind closed doors.For the second year in a row, Coach John Calipari and the Memphis Tigers will take on St. Louis University in a closed scrimmage before the start of the season. The Tigers will travel to St. Louis for the afternoon contest.The Bilikens, coached by Rick Majerus, are expected to reveal some of the Tigers' weaknesses before their Nov. 4 exhibition match-up with Christian Brothers University."They play very physical. They hold the ball offensively. They set tremendous screens. They're great in transition defense. They'll be very careful with the ball," said Calipari, going through a list of the other team's strengths.Even though last year's scrimmage gave Tiger fans a scare with Derrick Rose tweaking his knee and a shoulder injury to Joey Dorsey, Calipari said he wanted to do it again to get an idea of where his team is and where they need to be."(They're) the type of team that will give us trouble," he said. "It's exactly what we need at this point."As well as a measuring gauge, The U of M coaching staff will also use this scrimmage as a teaching exercise for some of the younger players.With so many new players coming in and looking to play significant minutes, Calipari said, it's taken more time for this year's team to get as far along as the "dream team" in 2007, but they're trying."Last year, we could buzz through a lot of stuff, and it was just refreshing," he said. "Right now we're not refreshing, we're teaching."The Tigers take to the court Saturday against St. Louis, and their exhibition opener is Nov. 4 against CBU at FedEx Forum.

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