March 11, 2012
University of Memphis Selection Show Quotes
Head Coach Josh Pastner
"First of all, let me just say we are very grateful to be in the tournament. That's hard. It's not easy to do. We know that when you get in the tournament, whoever you play is going to be good no matter what seed you are. Everyone is good. I've always said that. We'll have to go back and start watching film on Saint Louis. Obviously, Rick Majerus is one the best coaches out there. His teams are always well coached. They have a really, really good team. I watched them a few times when we were preparing for Xavier. This is an exciting time. We are excited about it."
Is there a chip now based on this seed?
"I don't want to say there's a chip because there needs to be a lot of enthusiasm. But, there needs to be a mentality that we are going in as an underdog. We have an underdog mentality. Without question, for us to continue to get respect, we're going to have to keep winning games. The only way to do that is to win games through March Madness. It starts with the first game against a well-coached team in Saint Louis."
Will this help motivate the players?
"If our guys don't have a chip on their shoulders now, there's no telling when they will. You win 20 of 23 and the way we've done it? We perform at our best when there's a chip on our shoulder and when we are backed into a corner. That's just the facts of it."
Do you think the fans will travel well to Columbus?
"I think we should have a great following there. It's not too bad of a drive. Again, yesterday I was saying I thought we should be a five seed. And, I believe that we should be a five seed. I believe that. But, we're in the tournament. No matter who you play, they are going to be good. We are just going to do our job."
#10 Tarik Black
"You have to play good teams, regardless. We just have to come out and play every night. All you can ask for is an opportunity because there are a lot of teams that are at home right now and won't even have a chance to play, so I feel like it's a great opportunity."
Do you play better with a chip on your shoulder?
"Yes. That's not about seeding, though. We have a chip on our shoulder simply because we don't get the respect that we deserve, period. Before the tournament even hit, no one even gave Memphis any kind of respect. We earn our respect. We just come out very night, and every season really, and earn our respect and praise that we get. To me, we don't get enough. But, it's okay because we really don't need it. It wasn't an easy road getting to Memphis for any of us, so we don't expect things to get any easier in the future."
Does the momentum of winning seven-straight games make a difference to you this year?
"We are going to have to wait and see until we actually go out there and play. I can't really talk about any momentum or what it means to us because we haven't played yet. We just found out who we are playing, so I'm not really sure right now."
#35 Adonis Thomas
Do you feel like you thrive when the team is disrespected?
"Yes. You know earlier in the year, we lost some tough games. So, we lost a lot of the national attention. But, we thought winning the Conference USA tournament, we would get a lot of attention, but we haven't gotten that. Now that we are on a big stage, people will get a chance to see us again."
As well as you're playing, does it matter who you are playing?
"No, it doesn't. As long as we pick it up defensively and stay disciplined and focused this week, we should do very well."
#5 Will Barton
"We are a little disappointed, but they gave us what they gave us. So, we just need to go out there and perform."
Does this team play better with a chip on its shoulder?
"Yes. I just told the guys that. Everyone is a little down. They feel like we got treated unfairly. But, I told them we play our best when we get disrespected. When everyone thinks we are through and things are not going our way, that's when we play our best basketball. I'm glad that they did this, in a way. We are just going to come out and compete."
What do you think about Southern Miss getting a nine seed?
"We won the regular season title, and the Conference USA tournament title. They didn't win either [title], and they get a nine seed and we get an eight seed. I don't understand that at all."
Is that a sign of disrespect to the conference?
"Yes, a little bit. But, I'm happy for Southern Miss. They are a good team. I feel like they deserve to be in the NCAA tournament. So, it's nothing against them. I hope they do well and represent the conference. But, we're on a mission. We're not tripping based on the seed we got."