POST GAME QUOTES
Feb. 23, 2013
No. 21/19 Memphis (24-3, C-USA 13-0) 89, Southern Miss (21-7, C-USA 10-3) 73
Memphis Head Coach Josh Pastner
Number one, I am extremely proud of these young men. To win a conference championship over a two and a half month period is not easy to do, especially when you are picked to win it and you get everyone’s best shot. These young men had a job to do, and to fight through all the negativity from the media, fans, and everybody back in November after the Bahamas and to stay together is a testament to the tremendous character of these young men. I am very proud of that.
(Michigan State head coach) Tom Izzo said before their game against Indiana, “For the best teams to have a chance at success, you have to go through some adversity at some point.” You have to go through it, whether it is internal or external. It is hard to get where you want to get to without going through some adversity. Obviously, we had some adversity early in the year, and we had to stick together and that is not easy. Things could have gone another direction, but for our guys to have stayed together, stayed positive and kept a positive energy and win a conference championship is something special.
To do it against Southern Miss, who is a very good basketball team, makes me very, very proud of these young men. To do that (winning a championship), it takes three things. Number one, obviously you have to have great players and tremendous young men. Secondly, you have to have tremendous assistant coaches who prepare the game plan. Damon Stoudamire and Aki Collins are going to be head coaches in the future. Third, obviously is the fan base. To win championships you have to have those three things, and we have those three things.
This is a wonderful win, and I am proud of our young men. I get it about the NCAA Tournament where you have three weeks and that is where all of the focus is, and that is obviously the ultimate prize in all of college basketball. But, you watch these shows like the Bachelor and the Bachelorette, and you’re supposed to fall madly in love with somebody in three weeks. I don’t get it, how are you supposed to fall madly in love with someone in three weeks. It is the same thing with the NCAA Tournament, it’s only three weeks.
The conference regular season is two-and-a-half months and winning that is a hard thing to do. I don’t care if it’s done at middle school, high school, college or the pros, it is a hard thing to do. I am very proud of these young men.
If you are having a colonoscopy, you go to a doctor, not a college basketball coach. I keep telling everyone, if you want basketball advice, you go to a coach. You have to go to a coach if you want to talk about hoops. The experts in the field are coaches who have coached at this level.
This is a great win, and I am so proud of these young men. To win a conference championship is awesome. We are going to enjoy this until Monday and then we are going to focus on a well-coached and high-level team in Xavier on Tuesday at 6pm on ESPN2. To win 18 straight is hard to do. If you ask anyone in the coaching profession, they will say to win that many in a row is very hard. You can’t take that and winning a conference championship for granted.
Southern Miss Head Coach Donnie Tyndall
I thought, for the most part, our team competed for 40 minutes and played hard. That’s a very, very talented (Memphis) team. After playing them the second time, I think they’re arguably the best passing team in all of college basketball. They were an unbelievable passing team the first time we played them. I think they had 27 assists on 31 made field goals, 32 maybe. Tonight, they have 25 assists on 29 made field goals. I mean that’s an incredible statistic.
It’s not just their perimeter guys. Their big kids, [Tarik] Black and Adonis Thomas, can really pass the ball. If you’re just a half a second late in your rotation, they make you pay. I’ve said this, and I mean it sincerely, that’s a top-20 team in terms of all of college basketball, obviously playing very, very well having won 18 in a row. In the first half, we were right there. The big play was when we turned it over and fouled, and it became an intentional foul. So, it became a six or seven point swing when they were only maybe down two or three at the time. A huge swing in the game, and two assists and eight turnovers in the first half just aren’t going to do it against a team of that stature.
On Memphis’ success on catching the ball at the free throw line
That’s the thing, you pick you’re poison. If you take away the high post too much, you’re playing [Chris] Crawford on the weak side, and he makes four threes in the first half. Then you start shooting out to him a little bit, now you give up the high post touch, and we worried about the throwing over the top to [D.J.] Stephens in the short corner and to Black on the opposite post. It’s a heck of a team. They’re talented, and they can make you pay in a lot of different ways. Then, we out-rebound them, had 15 offensive rebounds. I think that’s a great indicator of teams playing hard, but we just couldn’t stop them. They did the same thing at our place. They stepped up and made big shots every time they needed to.