Mar 6, 2014; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Memphis Tigers head coach Josh Pastner talks to his team during the closing minutes of their 97-84 loss to the Cincinnati Bearcats at Fifth Third Arena. Mandatory Credit: Rob Leifheit-USA TODAY Sports

What's Next for Pastner and his Tigers?

Mar 6, 2014; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Memphis Tigers forward Austin Nichols (4) rebounds a shot over Cincinnati Bearcats forward Justin Jackson (5) during the first half of the game at Fifth Third Arena. Mandatory Credit: Rob Leifheit-USA TODAY Sports

After the Memphis Tigers (23-9) suffered an 72-53 loss in the quarterfinals round of the AAC Conference Tournament to the UConn Huskies (26-8), Pastner and his players were clueless on what happened to them Thursday night. One thing is for sure, the Tigers will be playing next week in the NCAA Tournament.

“When we lose the game, all of the responsibility has to go to the head coach, so I will take full responsibility,” Pastner said.”I said it before, it’s hard to win when our four senior guards combine for 10-for-38. We are not gonna win that way.

I did not see this one coming. We had a good week at practice. Guys were ready to play. They were fired up. I felt in the first half, we played not to lose and instead of playing to win. When you play to not to lose against a really good team, you end up losing.”

The most noticeable thing on Thursday night was the lineups both coaches were running. Coach Ollie, for UConn, played 14 players compared to Pastner’s nine player lineup. Pastner mentioned earlier in the season that he’s not the type of coach to play big lineups, but his small lineups haven’t worked at times in big games.

Senior guard Geron Johnson was disgusted with himself on how he played against the Huskies on Thursday night. He finished the game with eight points and three rebounds. He shot 37.5 percent (3-of-8) from the field.

“I am very disappointed in myself. I didn’t have any sense of urgency in the first half. We got to get back to the drawing board,” Johnson said. “No one is going to show us sympathy. We got to get back to the drawing board and get ready to play in the NCAA tournament.”

During the press conference, Johnson was asked whether or not he would watch the rest of the tournament and he quickly turned down the notion.

“Naw, I’m not. I am disgusted with myself. I know we’re better than that. The country knows we’re better than that. It’s over with now. We put wins behind us and we put losses behind us. Just gotta get back to the drawing board and continue to play on.”

It’s Selection Sunday and the Tigers are now playing the waiting game to see where they be seeded and who will be their next opponent.

Coach Pastner gave his thoughts on where the Tigers should be seeded in the tournament.

“I think we should be a No. 6 or No. 7 seed.”

No matter who the Tigers play, they will have to show a better effort than what they showed against the Huskies. If not, then this team will be eliminated in the first round of the tournament.

According the Joe Lunardi’s Bracketology, the Tigers will get an eighth seed in the tournament.

 

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