Josh Pastner: “We Have Gotten Better”

Josh Pastner faced the media today in advance of tomorrow night’s non-conference match-up with Jacksonville State. Here’s the video (courtesy of Memphis Tiger Network), and some comments below:

  • Pastner mentioned that Memphis’ strength of schedule is 25th in the country. The non-conference SOS is 16th – which is obviously very good.
  • Pastner and (assistant AD for men’s basketball) Wren Baker do deserve credit for playing a tough schedule, but there’s a philosophical debate to be had about whether or not it was too tough.
  • That being said, hindsight is 20/20 and schedules are essentially made in 2-year increments (because of return contracts) so it’s not exactly easy to adjust the difficulty on a year to year basis.
  • Pastner is optimistic that having played a tough schedule will help his young team improve before the end of this year and going into next season.
  • Pastner addressed his team’s propensity to suffer scoring droughts – which is clearly a point of frustration for the staff.
  • He and his squad have done a good job cutting down on turnovers, so the next phase is to find offensive consistency.
  • This is the 2nd straight press availability that Pastner referenced the referees – and the need to get calls.
  • I didn’t notice a major problem with the officials against Gonzaga, but I’m sure a lot of fans who think Pastner is too passive on the sideline are actually happy to hear him express some frustration in that regard.
  • The Nick King transfer crisis seems to have passed – now that the sophomore forward from Memphis has played well a few games in a row. With Chris Hawkins out with an injury- King’s minutes should be fairly safe going forward.
  • Pastner says Memphis is a “way better team” than they were at 3-4. I tend to agree – though the lack of a truly established presence at the PG position continues to limit the ceiling for this team IMO.
  • The Tigers will have 10 games left after JSU – and it should be an interesting finish to the season. Short of a statistically improbable winning streak of, say, 12 games (to the AAC final) – Memphis’ hopes for an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament are basically non-existent.
  • Nevertheless, Memphis can establish itself against AAC competition – and with host UConn underperforming – the AAC tournament next month could be a wide open affair.