Memphis Men's Basketball 2014 NCAA Tournament Capsule

Memphis Tigers
American (23-9, 12-6)


After taking over the Memphis Tigers in 2009 from the peerless John Calipari, head coach Josh Pastner had been on the steady incline. From 24 wins that first season, the Tigers increased their win total each of the next three years (24 to 25, 26, 31). This season marks a step back for Pastner and Memphis but an expected one. There was no way the Tigers were going to win another 30 games in their first season in the American Athletic Conference. This team still appears to be on track as the downgrade in total wins seems in line with the upgrade in conference talent.

Big Wins: 1/9 at Louisville (73-67), 2/8 Gonzaga (60-54), 3/1 Louisville (72-66)
Bad Losses: 11/19 at Oklahoma State (80-101), 1/16 Connecticut (73-83), 2/27 at Houston (68-77)
Coach: Josh Pastner (5 seasons at Memphis)

Why They Can Surprise:
In what turned out to be a rather loaded AAC, Memphis hung around on the back end of the elite group of teams all season thanks in large part to its guards. Other than Shaq Goodwin and Austin Nichols, all of the Tigers' top contributors were guards. This also helps explain why Goodwin and Nichols combined for roughly two thirds of the team's total in blocks. The main four set of guards that coach Pastner used were Joe Jackson, Michael Dixon Jr., Geron Johnson and Chris Crawford. The numbers for this quartet were impressive. Each personally grabbed more than one steal per game (as did Goodwin), making Memphis one of the most prolific stealing teams in the nation. The four guards were also responsible for the Tigers being third in the country in assists per game and among the higher scoring teams around at a shade under 79 points per contest. The surprising thing about Memphis though was that, even with guard-heavy lineups, the team still shot very well from the floor. That may be thanks to the guards' proclivity to getting the big men easy buckets in the paint.

Why They Can Disappoint:
Like any smaller roster, such as AAC opponent UConn, the Memphis Tigers often struggled to control the interior. They were not a great rebounding club, nor great at field-goal defense. They could also be prone to turning the ball over themselves, even while forcing a lot of steals on the other end. However, the reason Memphis could easily get bounced by a lesser foe is that the Tigers flounder in categories you wouldn't expect them to: free-throw shooting, where they are one of the worst in the country, and three-point shooting, where they don't take enough or make enough to keep opponents honest. Crawford and Dixon were the team's go-to deep shooters and neither one reached the 40 percent mark from distance this season.

Probable Starters:
Joe Jackson, Senior, Guard, 14.3 ppg, 4.5 apg
Chris Crawford, Senior, Guard, 8.9 ppg, 2.9 apg
Geron Johnson, Senior, Guard, 8.9 ppg, 3.6 apg, 4.9 rpg
Shaq Goodwin, Sophomore, Forward, 11.8 ppg, 6.6 rpg, 1.8 bpg
Austin Nichols, Freshman, Forward,  9.1 ppg, 4.3 rpg

Key Roleplayers:
Michael Dixon Jr., Senior, Guard, 11.8 ppg, 2.4 apg
David Pellom, Senior, Forward, 4.3 ppg, 2.9 rpg
Nick King, Freshman, Guard, 4.9 ppg

By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 78.4 (30th in nation, 2nd in conference)
Scoring Defense: 70.4 (185, 5)
Field-Goal Percentage: 48.5 (17, 2)
Field-Goal Defense: 43.1 (149, 5)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 5.4 (256, 8)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 33.7 (195, 6)
Free-Throw Percentage: 65.5 (311, 8)
Rebound Margin: 2.8 (100, 4)
Assists Per Game: 17.7 (3, 1)
Turnovers Per Game: 13.5 (278, 8)

Recent Postseason Appearances:
2013    NCAA    Second Round win over St. Mary's
2013    NCAA    Third Round loss to Michigan State
2012    NCAA    Second Round loss to St. Louis
2011    NCAA    Round of 64 loss to Arizona
2010    NIT        First Round win over St. Johns
2010    NIT        Second Round loss to Mississippi
2009    NCAA    Round of 64 win over Cal State Northridge
2009    NCAA    Round of 32 win over Maryland
2009    NCAA    Regional Semifinal loss to Missouri
2008    NCAA    Round of 64 win over Texas Arlington
2008    NCAA    Round of 32 win over Mississippi State
2008    NCAA    Regional Semifinal win over Michigan State
2008    NCAA    Regional Final win over Texas
2008    NCAA    National Semifinal win over UCLA
2008    NCAA    National Final loss to Kansas
2007    NCAA    Round of 64 win over North Texas
2007    NCAA    Round of 32 win over Nevada
2007    NCAA    Regional Semifinal win over Texas A&M
2007    NCAA    Regional Final loss to Ohio State

*all team stats through 3/9


See All Men’s Basketball Postseason Capsules