The University of Memphis dominated Tulane Saturday night at The Pyramid, winning 91-64. The Tigers have won 10 of their last 11 games and appear ready to host arch-rival and conference power Cincinnati. The Bearcats come to Memphis Thursday night for a game on ESPN.
The [one] barrier that this team has not been able to break through has been nationally televised games at home in front of great crowds, Calipari said after watching all ten of his players score in a game that was never close. Overcoming a little bit of selfishness, where its ÔME, ME, ME because were on TV, TV, TV. So the next challenge, Thursday, is that. Nationally televised game against THE team in our league.
The difference against Tulane was Kelly Wise. The junior forward was sensational, scoring 18 points in 28 minutes. Wise made a steel at half-court then drove for a slam dunk just before halftime. He added a stick-back basket and led the Tigers off the floor with his arms raised in triumph, leading 43-26. Without Kelly were not up 17, Calipari said. Hes getting better and better.
Freshman Scotter McFadgon scored in double figures for a team-leading 10th consecutive game, with a game-high 19. Senior Shannon Forman hit seven out of 10 from the field to finish with 17 points.
The Tigers pressured the Tulane guards all night, putting their taller players, including the 6-10 Wise on the ball. Tulane turned the ball over 15 times but more importantly, the Green Wave was never able to run its offense. It was, in fact, the very type of defensive pressure that Bob Huggins teams at Cincinnati have used in dominating this league and the Great Midwest Conference before that.
This will be the first time Huggins has met Calipari in Conference USA. Calipari is 0-2 against Cincinnati, one of the few teams that he has a losing mark against.
Bob and I are friends and competitors at the same time, Calipari said. In the NBA, it was Larry Brown, who's a mentor, he knew I wanted to beat him so bad. It was the same with Rick Pittino. I think we went 3-1 against Boston. Its the same way with this game. If Bobby and I were playing one-on-one I would feel very good about our chances, but since its his team against my team -- whos going to be playing better? It should be a lot of fun.
ESPN is expected to bring its first team in for the game, meaning the return of Caliparis motor-mouth friend Dick Vitale, who broadcast the Tigers' home opener against Temple. Vitale also made a paid appearance at The Pyramid for the celebrations surrounding the opening of Tiger basketball practice in October.