There are good losses and then there are bad losses that find their way on a college basketball team’s NCAA Tournament resume. Unfortunately, for the Memphis Tigers, they suffered the latter tonight to the Houston Cougars, 77-68.
Josh Pastner’s Tigers committed another 14 turnovers tonight in the loss, and the Tigers’ defense was equally as bad, putting the Cougars on the free throw line 29 times. The Tigers play defense with their hands, reaching and fouling, a fact that shows up in the free throw column on the stat sheet. In a loss to Connecticut two weeks ago, the Tigers put the Huskies on the line 36 times. Giving their opponent 67 free throws in their last two losses.
The Tigers are simply not a very fundamentally sound team on either side of the ball as turnovers and free throw discrepancy are sure fire signs of an undisciplined team. It cost the Tigers a loss tonight and it could cost them much more.
The Tigers seeding for the NCAA Tournament took a huge hit tonight. Losing to a Cougar team with an RPI of 167 is bad, but losing to them this late in the season is worse. Unfortunately for the Tigers, it doesn’t get a whole lot better. The Tigers finish the season with a three game stretch that’s just brutal. They host a red hot and seventh-ranked Louisville Cardinal team on Saturday. Then the Tigers have to travel to 11th-ranked Cincinnati Bearcats, before they finish at home against the 23rd-ranked SMU Mustangs.
Considering the Tigers are currently 1-4 against the Top 4 teams in the AAC and that Josh Pastner’s record vs the AP Top 25 is simply awful, it seems unlikely the Tigers could win two of three to finish the season. If the Tigers lose all three games, they will go into the AAC Conference tournament with a record of 21-10, having lost four straight games. Sound like a Bubble team? Yeah, it does to me too.
The Tigers are limping to the finish line, and with the fundamental issues the they have, it may be a little too late to fix it.
Jason Love is a writer for Rant Sports. You can follow him on Twitter @JloveWshs