John Calipari has taken a new approach to help his top-ranked and undefeated Memphis Tigers deal with all the pressure: Start a new season.
Forget that the Tigers are 23-0, the best start in school history, and hold the nation's longest home-court winning streak at 46 straight games. Sure, they've won 42 consecutive regular-season games and 32 in a row in Conference USA.
Their record going into Wednesday night's game with Houston? A comparatively pedestrian 2-0, at least by Calipari's new count.
``My point to them is the only thing we can do with these streaks that we're on is add to them, because they are records,'' Calipari said Tuesday in a conference call.
``They're records within our university. They're records within our league. There are no more streaks that we can break. We broke them all. So now it's, `OK, let's get back to business at getting better.'''
nd trying to win a national title.
That is why he now counts only the most recent victories over SMU and Central Florida. Calipari said he doesn't know if that will help his Tigers better handle the attention that comes with being the country's only undefeated Division I team.
But he said practices last week were the best he's had in more than a month, which he credits for the 77-48 victory over SMU.
Calipari also switched his Thursday practice to a shooting workout, concentrating on free throws, 3-pointers and shots they usually take during a game. The extra practice could only help a team that ranks 326 (out of 328 Division I teams), hitting 58.4 percent at the free throw line.
They aren't much better beyond the arc. The Tigers are averaging 7.8 3-pointers per game, shooting 34.2 percent and ranking 197th.
Calipari said his Tigers have faced every defense possible from opponents trying to slow them down.
``We're learning about our team. We're trying to get better,'' he said.
The Tigers wrap up a four-game homestand against Houston on Wednesday night before putting their 15-road winning streak on the line with a visit to UAB on Saturday, then a trip to Tulsa on Feb. 20. Calipari keeps warning anyone who will listen that he fully expects Memphis to lose twice in Conference USA.
And he argues that any loss will hurt the Tigers.
team in the country that goes through that. UCLA lost at Washington. That's a hard game, but Washington has been struggling in the Pac-10. But, that doesn't crush them, they'll move down a spot,'' Calipari said.
``Even now, it's almost used against us and it shouldn't be.''
The Tigers will have home-court advantage Feb. 23 in a rare, late nonconference game against No. 4 Tennessee. On paper, it's the toughest test remaining on their schedule before the NCAA tournament.
Forward Robert Dozier sat out against SMU in a one-game suspension after a former girlfriend told police he hit her in the face during an argument in an intersection. Calipari said Tuesday that the junior will be off the team if he has another incident.
``If Robert screws up he's going to have to have an intervention like Jeremy Hunt did, which means you're gone,'' Calipari said.
``Jeremy Hunt's intervention was, `We gave you this, you did this and you still did something. Well, you're gone. Robert's in exactly the same boat Jeremy was in, before Jeremy was suspended for the year. So, let's hope he learns from it.''
Hunt returned to the team after his suspension and was part of the team that reached a second straight regional final last year.
Calipari said his Tigers have a pact among themselves that he only recently learned about to try and police themselves.
``If they are not responsible enough to know what we are striving for, something unique and special that will affect them the rest of their lives, then we're not winning it anyway,'' Calipari said.

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