Conference: Conference USA
How They Qualified: Conference USA Tournament Champions
The Memphis Tigers have a coach named Josh Pastner. For those of you who are unaware of the man’s work, here is a little breakdown. Pastner was essentially made the coach because of his reputation has the “Boy Wonder Recruiting Genius” tag that he earned as an assistant. His ability to recruit has obviously transferred over when he became the main man in Memphis — as the Tigers are 70 games over .500 since Pastner took over in 2009.
This season has been highlighted by a 18 game winning streak and an undefeated Conference USA regular season. Not too bad for a team coached by a 35 year-old. Throw in a perfect run through the Conference USA Tournament championship, as well.
What You Need to Know:
Leading Scorer: Joe Jackson (13.8 ppg)
Leading Rebounder: D.J. Stephens (6.7 rpg)
Leading Passer: Joe Jackson (4.9 apg)
Bad Losses: Xavier
Good Wins: Ohio, Tennessee, Southern Miss (twice)
Despite all of the regular season success under Pastner, Memphis hasn’t nearly seen equal amounts of awesomeness in the NCAA Tournament. However, this is the first team where Pastner has such a balanced squad. Led by Joe Jackson, the Tigers can put the ball in the basket with the best of them. Biggest concern for this team, as always, is if their weak conference helped them prepare for the big dance.
It is inevitable that Pastner is going to take this program to new heights. Whether or not it is this year will be figured out very shortly. When filling out your brackets, however, I wouldn’t bet against this team. Third year in the tourney under Pastner could be a charm.
The Memphis Tigers are dancing!
Joe is a Senior Writer for Rant Sports. For the love of Sam Cassell, follow Joe on the mean streets of Twitter @JosephNardone