The game is the first of a doubleheader with Michigan State and Syracuse playing afterwards. KU-Memphis will be televised on ESPN and ESPN 3D with Dan Schulman, Jay Bilas and Doris Burke calling the game for ESPN and Mark Jones and Bob Valvano calling the ESPN 3D game.
The Jimmy V Classic raises funds and awareness for cancer research and
is named after the late Jim Valvano.
Kansas (7-0) is coming off a thrilling 77-76 victory over UCLA at Allen
Fieldhouse on Thursday, where the Jayhawks won despite shooting just 16
of 30 at the free-throw line and being outrebounded, 37-32.
Memphis returns six letterwinners and two starters off last season's
team, which went 24-10 and 13-3 in Conference USA. The Tigers (7-0) are
coming off a 77-61 victory over Western Kentucky at home last Saturday.
Memphis is led by junior swingman Wesley Witherspoon, who averages a
team-high 13.7 points and 5.0 rebounds per game. Freshman guard Joe Jackson is next in scoring (12.1 ppg, team-high 30 assists), followed
by freshman guard Will Barton (11.9 ppg), freshman guard Chris Crawford
(8.0 ppg, team-best 12 three-pointers), junior guard Charles Carmouche
(7.6 ppg, team-high 15 steals), freshman guard Antonio Barton (7.4
ppg), junior forward Angel Garcia (7.0 ppg), freshman forward Tarik Black (6.9 ppg) and senior forward Will Coleman (5.6 ppg).
The Tigers are averaging 85.3 points per game and allowing 65.7. They
shoot 47.1 percent from the field, 33.3 percent from three-point range,
and 72.8 percent at the free-throw line. Memphis holds foes to 36.9
percent shooting and 28.5 percent from beyond the arc, while
outrebounding opponents 38.3 to 36.1 boards per game.
The Tigers also force 18.4 turnovers per game, while averaging 11
steals and 5.9 blocked shots per contest. They are a deep team with 10
players averaging at least 12.7 minutes per game. Witherspoon leads the
team in minutes with just 26.9 per contest.
Josh Pastner is in his second season as a head coach (both at Memphis)
with a 31-10 record.
Memphis boasts one of the best freshman classes in the country. And
they are a confident bunch with high expectations.
"We're going to win the national championship this year, I'm
guaranteeing it," ace freshman Will Barton told the Memphis Commercial
Appeal in preseason.
Pastner commented about the strengths and weaknesses of his club during
an online espn.com chat session last Thursday.
"The greatest strength is that we have good guys on our team and I love
being around them," Pastner wrote. "Our weakness is that we are a very
young team and we show our immaturity on the court at times."
Pastner knows tonight's game will put both teams in the national
"(It's) going to be a big-time game in a big-time atmosphere," he said.
"Bottom line is, as I told our guys, this is just another game on our
schedule and we are not getting too high with the highs or too low with
the lows. We are preparing for this game the way we prepare for every
game, whether it is Christian Brothers or Lemoyne-Owen or Western
Kentucky or Miami. We are preparing the same way for Kansas. We aren't
making this game bigger than any other game. We are 7-0 and that is the
Pastner has even greater perspective on tonight's battle in the Jimmy V
"Above all, it's about raising money for cancer research," he wrote in
his chat session. "To make as much awareness about cancer as we can."
Kansas lead the all-time series with Memphis, 5-2, and has won the last
three matchups, including last year's 59-57 victory at the Scottrade
Center in St. Louis, Mo. KU, of course, beat Memphis in 2008 in San
Antonio to win the national championship. The five meetings prior to
that game were played in the 1980s.
All but one KU-Memphis game have been decided by five points or less or
JAYHAWKS IN JIMMY V CLASSIC
Kansas is 0-2 in the Jimmy V Classic with last falling to Saint
Joseph's, 70-67, on Dec. 6, 2005, in Madison Square Garden. KU
also suffered a 75-66 overtime loss to Temple in the 1995 Jimmy V
Classic in East Rutherford, N.J. Kansas has lost its last four games
played in Madison Square Garden.
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