Streaking Ahead

Memphis coach John Calipari doesn't want his team thinking about winning streaks, and he's convinced that his team will lose before the regular season ends.

The top-ranked Tigers will have a number of those winning streaks on the line on Wednesday when they host Houston in a matchup between the top two teams in Conference USA.

Oddsmakers from Bodog have made Memphis -16 point spread favorites (View College Basketball odds) for today’s game (Game Matchup). Current public betting information shows that 60% of bets for this game have been placed on Houston +16 (View College Basketball bet percentages).

At 23-0, Memphis (9-0 C-USA) is off to the best start in school history and the only remaining undefeated team in the nation. The Tigers also hold the nation's longest active home-court winning streak at 46 straight games, have won 42 consecutive regular-season games and 32 in a row in Conference USA.

But Calipari isn't using those streaks to motivate his team.

"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.

"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.'"

Wednesday's game wraps up a four-game homestand for the Tigers, who haven't lost on their own court since a 69-58 defeat against Texas on Jan. 2, 2006. And thanks to a relatively weak conference, a home date with No. 4 Tennessee on Feb. 23 could be Memphis' only real remaining hurdle as it tries to become the first team to enter the NCAA tournament unbeaten since UNLV in 1990-91.

"If we were to lose, I'd be shocked," said Chris Douglas-Roberts, who leads the team with 16.7 points per game.

However, Calipari is convinced that his team will lose during conference play before season's end.

"Every team we play, they make shots they usually don't make, they play faster and more athletic and more aggressive then anybody we play, and it's a challenge. ... That's why I'm saying that we're going to lose a couple of league games. That's what happens."

Memphis is coming off Saturday's 85-64 win over Central Florida. Robert Dozier had 11 points and six games in his return from a one-game suspension. The suspension came after a former girlfriend filed a complaint with police, saying Dozier hit her in the face after they got out of their cars and argued at an intersection.

Joey Dorsey had 12 points and 13 rebounds, and Derrick Rose had a team-high 15 points for the Tigers, who made 11 3-pointers.

"We're raising the stakes as we go forward," Calipari said. "Central Florida's a good team, but when we make 3s we become a tough team to beat."

Memphis leads the conference with 80.8 points per game, but will be up against a Houston squad that ranks second with an average of 78.8. The Cougars (18-4, 7-1) - looking for a marquee victory to bolster their chances of reaching the NCAA tournament for the first time since 1992 - have won three straight since its lone conference defeat, an 89-77 loss to Memphis on Jan. 30.

Robert McKiver had 25 points for the Cougars, who are 4-0 in C-USA road games. McKiver, the reigning Conference USA player of the week, leads the team with 21.2 points per game.

Memphis has won the last six meetings between the teams since a 66-53 loss at Houston on Feb. 5, 2005.

by: Staff Writers - Email Us

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