Marist coach Chuck Martin might be familiar with the players on the court for Memphis, but that won’t guarantee a victory for the Red Foxes.
On Tuesday, the former Memphis assistant and his new team visit the No. 18 Tigers, who look to bounce back from their first loss of the season.
Martin, who spent the past two seasons on John Calipari’s staff at Memphis, was named the new head coach at Marist less than two weeks after the Tigers’ overtime loss to Kansas in last April’s national championship game.
This will be the second meeting between the schools. Memphis beat the Red Foxes 75-57 on Dec. 30, 1987.
“It’s a great opportunity to play a team of that caliber,” said Martin, the replacement for Matt Brady, who left Marist for the top job at James Madison. “Memphis is a top-20 program. We’re looking forward to learning a lot from that game.”
This is the second of five games this season Calipari will coach against his former assistants. The Tigers (4-1) beat Derek Kellogg and Massachusetts 80-58 on Nov. 17.
Martin and Marist (2-3) will be in for a challenge against Memphis, which is coming off a 63-58 loss to Xavier in the finals of the Puerto Rico Tip-Off on Nov. 23.
Having scored 80 points or more in their first four contests, the Tigers shot a season-low 32.7 percent from the field against the Musketeers while being held below 60 points for just the third time in since the start of the 2006-07 season.
“We’re disappointed with the outcome, but November games are about learning about your team. We did.” Calipari said.
Though starters Antonio Anderson, Robert Dozier and some key reserves are back from last season’s 38-2 team, joined by highly touted freshman guard Tyreke Evans, Calipari doesn’t believe comparisons to the past are justified.
“This year’s team is so different from last year’s team and the year before,” Calipari said. “Hopefully, we get better as the season goes on. We had chances to win the game, but didn’t make the plays we needed to make to win. We had some guys that played tentative and not to lose. I want guys to make plays and play to win.”
The 6-foot-6 Evans leads the team with 14.6 points per game, but is shooting only 38.5 percent overall. He had a team-high 12 points versus Xavier. Dozier posted his first double-double of the season with 10 points and 11 boards against the Musketeers.
Marist is coming off a 63-61 home victory over New Hampshire on Saturday, when Ryan Schneider hit three free throws in the final 12 seconds.
Junior guard David Devezin had 19 points to lead the Foxes. Devezin is averaging a team-leading 14.4 points on the season, including 19.3 in his last three contests.
This will be only the second time Marist will face a Top 25 opponent since the start of the 1996-97 season. The Foxes lost 90-40 at then-No. 4 Georgia Tech on Dec. 23, 2003.