Feb 22, 2012; Memphis, TN, USA; Memphis Tigers guard Joe Jackson (1) shoots a lay up during the second half East Carolina Pirates at the FedEx Forum. Memphis Tigers defeat the East Carolina Pirates 70-47. Mandatory Credit: Spruce Derden-US PRESSWIRE
The Tigers entered the season with sky-high expectations, stumbled a bit but regained their footing.
Coming off a somewhat roller-coaster of a season that saw them just squeak into last year's NCAA Tournament and boasting one of the top recruiting classes this offseason, expectations were high for the Memphis Tigers and second-year coach Josh Pastner. The Tigers came into the season ranked No. 9 in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches' Poll and No. 11 in the AP Poll.
Unfortunately, the 2011-12 campaign did not get off to a great start. A loss to No. 15 Michigan in their second game and another loss to Georgetown two days later in the Maui Invitational left them at 2-2. By the sixth poll of the season, the Tigers were unranked and it wasn't until the Tigers started Conference-USA play that their season began to turn around.
A non-conference win over Tennessee immediately preceded the Tigers' conference schedule and highlighted a six-game winning streak. The Tigers rode that to a 13-3 conference finish that gave them the Conference USA regular season title and head into the tournament as the No. 1 seed.
Memphis easily defended its Conference USA Tournament title, earning an automatic bid into the 2012 NCAA Tournament as a result. The Tigers were easily in as an at-large anyway, but freed up a bid for someone else by taking care of business as the favorite.
The Tigers earned the No. 8 seed in the West Region and will face Saint Louis in the Second Round of the 2012 NCAA Tournament.
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