Saturday , Mar , 03 , 2007 C.Y. Ellis

Seeking C-USA perfection, Tigers take on Mustangs

Dallas, TX (Sports Network) – Riding the longest winning streak in the
nation, the sixth-ranked Memphis Tigers take aim at a perfect Conference USA
regular season campaign, as they tangle with the SMU Mustangs from Moody
Coliseum tonight.

The Tigers, who have already clinched their second straight outright
league title, are trying to become just the second team ever to sweep through
the C-USA regular season. The last and only other team to accomplish this feat
was Cincinnati in 1999-00 (16-0). On Thursday, Memphis improved to a perfect
15-0 in conference play with a 78-67 triumph at Texas-El Paso. The victory
stretched the Tigers’ winning streak to a nation-best 18 games and in the
process improved them to an impressive 26-3 overall. Memphis, which is in
search of a NO.1 seed in the NCAA Tournament, hasn’t dropped a game since
losing out at Arizona (79-71) all the way back on December 20th.

As for SMU, it hasn’t had much luck in league play this season, going just
3-12 thus far. The team was last in action on Wednesday, when it suffered a
67-60 setback to Tulsa. It was the third loss in a row by the Mustangs, who
dipped to 14-15 overall and 9-6 at home.

As far as the all-time series is concerned, Memphis owns a 3-1 edge over SMU,
including a convincing 88-52 triumph in an earlier meeting this season.

Memphis has dominated its opponents at both ends of the court this season, as
it is netting a healthy 80.3 ppg on 46.4 percent shooting from the field,
while holding its foes to just 62.7 ppg and a dismal 38.6 percent shooting
overall. Chris Douglas-Roberts currently leads the team in scoring with 15.3
ppg and he is also shooting 54.3 percent from the field. Jeremy Hunt follows
with 14.1 ppg and he is deadly from behind the arc, converting on 41.9 percent
of his three-point attempts. Robert Dozier adds 10.2 ppg and 5.8 rpg to the
mix, while Joey Dorsey pulls down a team-high 9.6 rpg. In the team’s last
game, Douglas-Roberts poured in 21 points, as the Tigers outlasted UTEP for an
11-point victory. Hunt posted 19 points and six boards for Memphis, which
knocked down 11-of-28 shots from behind the arc. The team also won the battle
on the boards, 47-33, but that is no surprise considering Memphis is
outrebounding its opponents by 5.3 rpg on the season.

The Mustangs have had most of their success on defense this season, as they
are surrendering just 62.7 ppg. Offensively, the team has struggled to
produce 63.2 ppg and it has also had trouble hanging onto the ball, committing
16.5 turnovers per game. Ike Ofoegbu has been one of the few bright spots for
SMU this season, as he leads the team in both scoring (14.3 ppg) and
rebounding (7.7 rpg). He also has a league-best 10 double-doubles on the
season. In the squad’s previous outing, Ofoegbu tallied 29 points and ripped
down seven caroms, but it wasn’t enough in a seven-point loss to Tulsa. The
Mustangs shot just 35.7 percent from the floor in the game and were dominated
on the boards 39-24.