March 11, 2014
MEMPHIS, Tenn. - The fourth-seeded University of Connecticut men's basketball team kicks off play in the inaugural American Athletic Conference Championship when it takes on fifth-seeded Memphis on Thursday, March 13 at 9 p.m. ET at the FedExForum. The game can be seen live on ESPNU with Dave O'Brien and Doris Burke on the call and will be broadcasted live on the UConn IMG Sports Radio Network.
The Huskies (24-7) are seeking their first conference tournament crown in The American and eighth overall conference title after winning a record seven championships in the BIG EAST. Connecticut finished the 2013-14 regular season with a 12-6 conference record. Overall, the Huskies have compiled a 36-26 mark in BIG EAST conference tournament action.
The Huskies and Tigers will be meeting on the hardwood for the third time this season after UConn swept a pair of regular season showdowns. On Feb. 15, senior guard Shabazz Napier (Roxbury, Mass.) scored a career high 34 points on 10-of-21 shooting in the Huskies' 86-81 overtime victory at the XL Center.
Napier (1,790 points) currently ranks seventh on UConn's all-time scoring list and trails Ben Gordon (1,795) by just five points for No. 6. Napier also boasts 611 career assists; needing just eight more to match current UConn head coach Kevin Ollie's mark of 619, which is third most in program history.
Despite falling to No. 5 Louisville on Saturday afternoon, UConn checked into the AP-Top 25 poll at No. 21, finishing with 330 points. The Huskies are one of five American Athletic Conference teams in the rankings joining the Cardinals, Cincinnati (13), Memphis (19), and SMU (25).
The Tigers (23-8) capped off the regular season with a 67-58 victory over then-ranked No. 18 SMU. Senior guard Joe Jackson leads Memphis with 14.4 points per game, while sophomore forward Shaq Goodwin averages 11.9 points and 6.6 rebounds per contest. As a team, the Tigers are shooting 48.5 percent from the floor and 33.7 from three-point range.
UConn last captured a conference tournament crown in the 2010-11 season, winning five games in as many days. Kemba Walker (2009-11) finished the five games with 130 points, 46 more than the previous record, and was named the MVP of the tournament.
Memphis will be the eighth nationally-ranked opponents the Huskies have faced this year, with UConn holding a 4-3 record against ranked foes. Since 1998-99, the Huskies are 88-60 (.595) against ranked opponents.