Memphis Tigers Men's Basketball Releases 2017-18 Non-Conference Schedule

(FROM UNIVERSITY OF MEMPHIS ATHLETICS) - MEMPHIS, Tenn. – University of Memphis head men's basketball coach Tubby Smith announced Thursday the program's 2017-18 non-conference schedule, which features 10 home games and trips to New York City, Annapolis, Maryland, and Birmingham, Alabama.
"We've put together a strong non-conference schedule that will allow our players to develop and grow as we prepare for a very difficult league schedule in the American Athletic Conference," said Smith. "Our team will be tested early on against Alabama, who was in the NIT last season. I am also impressed by the teams we have on our schedule that played in the NCAA Tournament last season in New Orleans and Northern Kentucky. Finally, with the historic rivalry game against Louisville, we have a very competitive schedule that will entertain our fans and test our players."
The Tigers open the season in a neutral-site game against the Alabama Crimson Tide as part of the Veterans Classic. Four days later the squad returns home to start a three-game homestand, facing off against regional foe Little Rock on Nov. 14.
During Thanksgiving week Memphis hosts consecutive foes that advanced to the NCAA Tournament a season ago, in New Orleans on Nov. 21 and Northern Kentucky on Nov. 25.
Memphis' only true non-conference road game comes on, Nov. 30 when the Tigers make a return trip to Birmingham, Alabama, to face off against the UAB Blazers. Two days later, Memphis kicks off a four-game homestand against Mercer on Dec. 2.
Samford comes to town on Tuesday, December 5, before the Tigers host two-straight games as part of the 2017 Gotham Classic. Memphis hosts Bryant on, Dec. 9, and then Albany on Dec. 12.
A rematch with long-time rival Louisville comes on, Dec. 16 in historic Madison Square Garden in New York City. The Tigers close out their 2017-18 non-conference schedule at home with games against Siena on Dec. 20) Loyola (Md.) on Dec. 23, and LSU on Dec. 28.

The complete American Athletic Conference schedule will be released at a later date; however the Conference did release the opponents for the season, of which Wichita State, Cincinnati, Houston, UCF, UConn, USF, East Carolina, Tulsa, and Tulane will all make trips to FedExForum for the season.
Tickets for the 2017-18 season go on sale on Tuesday, August 29.

Below is a game-by-game listing of Memphis' 2017-18 non-conference opponents.

Alabama Crimson Tide
Game Information: Friday, Nov. 10 | Alumni Hall (Annapolis, Maryland)
School Information:
                  Location: Tuscaloosa, Alabama
                  Enrollment: 37,655
                  Conference: Southeastern
                  2016-17 Record: 19-15, 10-8 SEC
                  Head Coach: Avery Johnson
About Alabama: Alabama finished the 2016-17 season with a 19-15 overall record and returns four starters, including rising sophomores in forward Braxton Key (12.0 ppg, 5.7 rpg) and guard Dazon Ingram (10.6 ppg, 113 assists).
Series History: Memphis leads 5-2 in the all-time series. The Tigers won the first four games against the two schools, before the Crimson Tide got their first win of the series during the 1977 NIT. Following an 11-point Alabama win during the 2001-02 season, Memphis answered back with an 87-76 win in Tuscaloosa on Nov. 17, 2005 as part of the NIT Season Tip-Off.
Of Note: The game is part of the Veterans Classic, which will also feature Pittsburgh and Navy … Memphis faces an SEC team during the season for the 41st time over the past 42 seasons (the only time not playing a team currently in the conference since 1975-76 was during the 2014-15 season).

Little Rock Trojans
Game Information: Tuesday, Nov. 14 | FedExForum (Memphis, Tenn.)
School Information:
                  Location: Little Rock, Arkansas
                  Enrollment: 11,848
                  Conference: Sun Belt
                  2016-17 Record: 15-17, 6-12 Sun Belt
                  Head Coach: Wes Flanigan
About Little Rock: After opening its season with a game against a NCAA Division II opponent, Memphis provides the first Division I foe for the Trojans this season. Little Rock returns rising junior guard Deondre Burns  (7.0 ppg). The Trojans lost their top five scorers from a 15-17 team a season ago.
Series History: Memphis is a perfect 5-0 against Little Rock, winning the first game of the series by 19 points in 1993-94, as the two teams last played in 2013-14  (a Memphis 14-point win).
Of Note: In 2005, the athletics department began a rebranding campaign, switching from the previously-used UALR, to now being called Little Rock.

New Orleans Privateers
Game Information: Tuesday, Nov. 21 | FedExForum (Memphis, Tenn.)
School Information:
                  Location: New Orleans, Louisiana
                  Enrollment: 8,423
                  Conference: Southland Conference
                  2016-17 Record: 20-12
                  Head Coach: Mark Slessinger
About New Orleans: New Orleans finished last season with a 20-12 overall record and advanced to the NCAA Tournament, falling in the play-in game to Mount St. Mary's by a 67-66 score.
Series History: Memphis and New Orleans have met eight times, with the Tigers holding a perfect 8-0 mark over the Privateers. Seven of the eight Memphis wins have been by 11 points or fewer, including an 88-86 overtime win during the 1976-77 season.
Of Note: New Orleans head coach Mark Slessinger is winless (0-2) against the Tigers during his career, with both meetings coming when he was an assistant coach at Northwestern State. The most recent meeting was on Nov. 17, 2010, a Memphis 94-79 win. The first meeting between Memphis and Slessinger was on Nov. 18, 2001, a Tiger 97-69 victory.

Northern Kentucky Norse
Game Information: Saturday, Nov. 25 | FedExForum (Memphis, Tenn.)
School Information:
                  Location: Highland Heights, Kentucky
                  Enrollment: 14,800
                  Conference: Horizon League
                  2016-17 Record: 24-11
                  Head Coach: John Brannen
About Northern Kentucky: Last season was Northern Kentucky's first season as a full NCAA Division I member after its four-year transition process from NCAA Division II. The school won the Horizon League Tournament, becoming just the eighth program in NCAA history to earn an NCAA Tournament berth in the first season of eligibility.
Series History: The two teams have never met before.
Of Note: Of the seven other schools to have earned an NCAA Tournament berth in its first season of eligibility includes Seattle (1953), Morehead State (1956), UMass (1962), Long Beach State (1970), Louisiana-Lafayette (1972), North Dakota State (2009), and Memphis (1955).

UAB Blazers
Game Information: Thursday, Nov. 30 | Bartow Arena (Birmingham, Ala.)
School Information:
                  Location: Birmingham, Alabama
                  Enrollment: 19,535
                  Conference:  Conference USA
                  2016-17 Record: 17-16
                  Head Coach: Robert Ehsan
About UAB: UAB, which returns one starter – William Lee – from last season, looks to continue its stretch of four consecutive winning seasons. Lee averaged 13.2 points and 6.7 rebounds per game. Chris Cokley averaged 12.1 points off of the bench. The Blazers' 2015-16 starting point guard Nick Norton missed last season with a leg injury. He averaged 8.9 points while dishing out 162 assists in 2015-16.
Series History: The Memphis and UAB series is long and distinguished, with the Tigers holding a 35-10 overall lead. Memphis has won the last 14 meetings
Of Note: The game will be a home trip for Memphis freshman Jamal Johnson, who grew up in Birmingham, and played his high school basketball for Spain Park High School. The game is also Memphis' only true road game of the non-conference season.

Mercer Bears
Game Information: Sat., December 2 | FedExForum (Memphis, Tenn.)
School Information:
                  Location: Macon, Georgia
                  Enrollment: 8,557
                  Conference: Southern Conference
                  2016-17 Record: 15-17
                  Head Coach: Bob Hoffman
About Mercer: Mercer finished last season with a 15-17 overall record; however, returns all five starters and its top seven scorers from a season ago. In all, the Bears return 93 percent of their scoring, including leading scorers Ria'n Holland (17.3 ppg), Jordan Strawberry (12.1 ppg), and Demetre Rivers (10.9 ppg).
Series History: Memphis and Mercer have met two times prior, each culminating with a Tiger victory. The first meeting was in 1974-75 with a 93-75 Memphis win, and the most recent meeting came in 1990-91 with a 99-48 Tigers win.
Of Note: Mercer junior guard Jordan Strawberry is the son of former major league baseball outfielder Darryl Strawberry. Jordan is the youngest of the former big leaguer's children, of which also include former UConn volleyball standout Jade Strawberry.

Samford Bulldogs
Game Information: Tuesday, Dec. 5 | FedExForum (Memphis, Tenn.)
School Information:
                  Location: Birmingham, Ala.
                  Enrollment: 5,471
                  Conference: Southern Conference
                  2016-17 Record: 20-16, 8-10 SoCon
                  Head Coach: Scott Padgett
About Samford: Samford, which advanced to the second round of the postseason tournament last season, returns all five starters, including four of which earned All-Southern Conference (SoCon) honors a season ago. Leading scorer Demetrius Denzel-Dyson returns after averaging a team-best 16.1 points, while converting on 46 percent of his long-range tries. Bulldogs center Wyatt Walker led the SoCon in double-doubles, and finished the season averaging 12.9 points and 9.7 rebounds. Both of the aforementioned players were named third team All-SoCon. Christen Cunningham averaged 11.4 points, and 6.5 assists.
Series History: Memphis and Samford have met five times prior, with the Tigers holding a 4-1 lead in the all-time series. The Tigers are undefeated when the game is played in Memphis, including the most recent contest, a 65-54 win during the 2012-13 season. In 2003-04, Memphis held on for a one-point, 63-62 win over the Bulldogs.
Of Note: Samford head coach Scott Padgett played his collegiate basketball under current Memphis head coach Tubby Smith, and was on Smith's 1998 National Championship squad. With the Tigers playing Alabama, UAB, and Samford, it is the first time in program history that Memphis has faced off against three different schools from the state of Alabama in the same season.

Bryant Bulldogs
Game Information: Saturday, Dec. 9 | FedExForum (Memphis, Tenn.)
School Information:
                  Location: Smithfield, Rhode Island
                  Enrollment: 3,370
                  Conference:  Northeastern Conference
                  2016-17 Record: 12-20, 9-9 NEC
                  Head Coach: Tim O'Shea
About Bryant: Bryant returns eight letterwinners and three starters from a team that went 12-20 last season, including an even mark in conference play. Leading the returnees is 6-1 guard Adam Grant, who averaged 13.4 points last season. Point guard Ikenna Ndugba also returns after averaging six points and just over four assists.
Series History: This will be the first meeting between the two schools.
Of Note: The game is part of the 2017 Gotham Classic. Bryant has been a member of NCAA Division I since 2008-09. When Memphis faces off against Bryant, the program – over its strong history – will have faced every NCAA Division I school in the state, having previously played Brown, Providence, and Rhode Island.

Albany Great Danes
Game Information: Tuesday, Dec. 12 | FedExForum (Memphis, Tenn.)
School Information:
                  Location: Albany, New York
                  Enrollment: 13,100
                  Conference: America East
                  2016-17 Record: 21-14, 10-6 America East
                  Head Coach: Will Brown
About Albany: Albany returns three starters from a season ago, and its five top scorers from a team that fell in the opening round of the Tournament. Among the returnees includes All-America East first team honoree David Nichols, who averaged 17.9 points, while Joe Cremo averaged 15.8 points en route to being named to the all-conference second team.
Series History: This will be the first meeting between the two schools.
Of Note: The game is part of the 2017 Gotham Classic. Albany junior forward Devonte Campbell played alongside current Memphis forward Mike Parks at Missouri State-West Plains in 2015-16.

Louisville Cardinals
Game Information: Saturday, Dec. 16 | Madison Square Garden (New York, N.Y.)
School Information:
                  Location: Louisville, Kentucky
                  Enrollment: 22,640
                  Conference: Atlantic Coast Conference
                  2016-17 Record: 25-9, 12-6 ACC
                  Head Coach: Rick Pitino
About Louisville: Louisville returns three starters from last season's team that went 25-9; however, missed the NCAA Tournament because of a postseason ban. Leading the way for the returnees is guard Quentin Snider, who averaged 12.4 points while dishing out a team-best 115 assists. Deng Adel, a 6-7 guard/forward, also returns after averaging 12.1 points.
Series History: Memphis and Louisville share a storied history that includes meeting as part of three different conferences (Missouri Valley, Metro, Conference USA), 11 conference tournament battles, and one meeting in the NCAA Tournament (a Memphis 77-56 win in 1995). Overall, Louisville holds a 53-36 lead in the series between the two programs.
Of Note: The game is part of the 2017 Gotham Classic. Memphis head coach Tubby Smith was an assistant coach under current Louisville head coach Rick Pitino from 1989-91 at Kentucky. The game will feature two of a small number of collegiate basketball players from Egypt. Memphis' Karim Sameh Azab will face off against Lousville's Anas Mahmoud from Cairo, Egypt.

Siena Saints
Game Information: Wednesday, Dec. 20 | FedExForum (Memphis, Tenn.)
School Information:
                  Location: Loudonville, N.Y.
                  Enrollment: 3,139
                  Conference: Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference
                  2016-17 Record: 17-17, 12-8 MAAC
                  Head Coach: Jimmy Patsos
About Siena: Last season, Siena was one of a small handful of programs to have five players averaging double-figure scoring; however, all five of those players – four of which were starters – graduated. The lone starter returning is Ahsante Shivers, who averaged 4.0 points.
Series History: Memphis is 1-1 all-time against the Saints. Memphis' win came during the 2013-14 season (87-60 in Orlando, Florida), while Siena won the first meeting during the 1952-53 season.
Of Note: The game is part of the 2017 Gotham Classic. Siena head coach Jimmy Patsos is 0-2 all-time as a head coach against the Tigers, facing Memphis in back-to-back seasons. In 2012-13, while head coach at Loyola (Md.), the Tigers defeated the Greyhounds 78-64. A year later, as head coach at Siena, the Saints fell 87-60. It was Patsos' departure the laid the groundwork for his assistant coach, G.G. Smith to be named head coach at Loyola.

Loyola (Md.) Greyhounds
Game Information: Saturday, Dec. 23 | FedExForum (Memphis, Tenn.)
School Information:
                  Location: Baltimore, Maryland
                  Enrollment: 4,084
                  Conference: Patriot League
                  2016-17 Record: 16-17, 8-10 Patriot League
                  Head Coach: G.G. Smith
About Loyola: Loyola finished last season a game below .500 at 16-17, but returns four of five starters and nine total letterwinners for the coming season. Leading the returnees is All-Patriot League first team honoree Andre Walker, who averaged 14.9 points last season. Also back is 6-8 forward Cam Gregory, who averaged just shy of double-figure scoring at 9.9 points, while leading the team with 7.6 rebounds.
Series History: Memphis and Loyola have met just once on the basketball court, when the Tigers claimed a 78-64 win over the Jimmy Patsos-led Greyhounds at FedExForum during the 2012-13 season.
Of Note: There are three sets of father/sons that are currently coaching in NCAA Division I basketball. That list includes Memphis head coach Tubby Smith and his son, Loyola head coach G.G. Smith. The other two father-son combos are Rick (Louisville) and Richard (Minnesota) Pitino, and Mike (Tulane) and Baker (Quinnipiac) Dunleavy.

LSU Tigers
Game Information: Thursday, December 28 | FedExForum (Memphis, Tenn.)
School Information:
                  Location: Baton Rouge, Louisiana
                  Enrollment: 31,414
                  Conference: Southeastern Conference
                  2016-17 Record: 10-21, 2-16 SEC
                  Head Coach: Will Wade
About LSU: LSU returns seven of the 15 players that saw action last season, including Duop Reath. The 6-11 forward averaged 12.0 points and 6.2 rebounds – both second on the squad – and led the team with 46 blocked shots. Brandon Sampson (11.6 ppg) also returns after starting 26 games last season.
Series History: Memphis holds a 4-2 lead in the all-time series between the two teams, and has won the most recent three games. Memphis won the first meeting between the two schools by an 82-63 margin in 1971-72, and picked up wins in 1992-93, 2010-11, and 2013-14.
Of Note: This is the first and only meeting between two teams with the nicknames of Tigers on Memphis' 2017-18 schedule.

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