Memphis Still Unbeaten

A deep roster has helped Memphis start the season unbeaten. Lack of depth in Conference USA would seem to give the Tigers a good chance to finish the regular season that way.

Second-ranked Memphis (13-0) looks to win its 41st straight at home and continue its dominance in C-USA play when it faces East Carolina in the teams' conference opener Wednesday night.

Oddsmakers from Bodog have made Memphis –29.5 point spread favorites (View College Basketball odds) for today’s game (Game Matchup). Current public betting information shows that 78% of bets for this game have been placed on Memphis –29.5 (View College Basketball bet percentages).

With nine players receiving significant minutes, the Tigers rolled through a grueling non-conference schedule that included wins over three ranked teams. Memphis coach John Calipari scheduled tougher non-conference matchups this season to help offset a traditionally weak C-USA schedule.

In their final tune-up before conference play, the Tigers got 23 points from reserve Doneal Mack and four other players scored in double figures en route to a 90-53 win over Pepperdine on Saturday. Memphis was led by a bench player for the second straight game, as Jeff Robinson had 20 points and 10 rebounds in a 102-58 victory over Siena on Thursday night.

"Teams aren't as deep, and when we continue to run and run and run, they'll wear out after a while," Tigers guard Antonio Anderson said.

Memphis will again try to carry its success into its C-USA schedule, as it is 29-1 in conference play since the start of the 2005-06 season. With a lack of big-name schools in the league, Calipari tried to make sure the Tigers got national attention by scheduling early matchups against Arizona, Georgetown and Southern California.

Calipari, though, is aware that the tough early games could result in a letdown.

"Some may say that it will be easy for us since we've won a lot in the league," he said. "All I know is that every conference gym we go to we will be the highest-ranked team to play there, so they will be up to play us. We just have to be ready to match their intensity."

Memphis, one of six unbeaten Division I teams, is winning by an average of 19.8 points. The Tigers have seven players averaging at least 7.2 points.

Mack made seven 3-pointers Saturday as Memphis extended its lengthy home winning streak. The Tigers haven't dropped a home game since losing 69-58 to Texas on Jan. 2, 2006.

Mack started in Memphis' Jan. 20 matchup with East Carolina last season, finishing with 15 points in a 61-44 Tigers win.

John Fields led the Pirates (6-7) with 14 points in that contest, and the second-year forward finished with 16 on Saturday night to help East Carolina beat North Carolina Central 79-62. Cory Farmer added 16 points for East Carolina, which has matched last season's win total.

The Pirates went 1-15 in C-USA play in 2006-07.

Thanks partly to improved long-range shooting, East Carolina has won two straight since consecutive losses. The Pirates went 10-for-24 from beyond the arc Saturday, and have made 46.7 percent (29-for-62) of their 3-point attempts in their last three contests.

East Carolina will need another strong shooting game if it hopes to have a chance against Memphis, the highest-ranked team the Pirates have faced since a 103-75 loss to then-No. 1 Duke on Nov. 25, 1991. East Carolina has lost all five meetings with the Tigers.

by: Staff Writers - Email Us

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