PREVIEW: Tigers vs. UCF



Wednesday, 7 p.m., FedExForum

• The Tigers are looking to extend their winning streak to four games, their longest since starting the season 7-0. Memphis has won its only two home games in Conference USA play (over East Carolina and Marshall).

• After starting the season 14-0, UCF has plummeted to the bottom of the C-USA standings, where they are 1-4. After beating Marshall on January 5th, the Knights have lost four straight (Houston, Southern Miss, East Carolina, Rice). Nonetheless, in their first year under coach Donnie Jones, the Knights are on the verge of matching their 2009-10 win total (15).


• A pair of sophomores are the top scoring threats for UCF. Marcus Jordan (Mike’s kid) is averaging 15.8 points per game and Keith Clanton is averaging 15.6. They are 10th and 11th, respectively, on the C-USA scoring chart. Clanton ranks fifth in the league in rebounding with 8.7 per game and third in field-goal percentage at 52.9.

• As a team, UCF ranks fifth in C-USA in scoring with 73.3 points per game. (The Tigers lead the league with 78.1.) But UCF has had the stingiest defense in the conference, giving up only 60.4 points per game. (The Tigers are last in this category, giving up 71.0 points per game.) UCF also paces C-USA in scoring margin at plus-12.8 (the Tigers are plus-7.1).

• UCF had two big intra-state victories before C-USA play started. The Knights beat Florida on December 1st, then knocked off Miami on December 18th.

• The Tigers enter Wednesday’s game tied atop C-USA with UTEP, each team 4-1 in league play. At 15-4, Memphis is one game ahead of its pace a year ago.

• The Tigers have won all eight contests they’ve played against UCF, including a 76-70 win last February. These teams started playing annually when UCF joined C-USA for the 2005-06 season. They had played three times previously, all in the Seventies.

• It’s been a while since Memphis has not had a player near the top of the C-USA scoring chart. But Will Barton is currently pacing the Tigers (12.6 ppg) and ranks 20th in the league. More disturbing may be the fact the Tigers don’t have anyone in the league’s top 20 in rebounding. No Tiger is pulling down as many as five boards a game. Freshman point guard Joe Jackson is fifth in the league in assists with 4.2 per game.

• Wednesday’s game is part of a stretch that has the Tigers playing five of seven games on the road. Their only home games between January 9th and February 11th are the UCF game and February 2nd, when they host Tulsa.


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