Coach plays name game to get Tigers' attention

RUSTY MILLER AP Sports Writer Published:

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) -- First, Memphis lost a home game. Then the players lost a piece of their identities.

Frustrated with the way his team was playing last month, coach Josh Pastner took the players' names off the backs of their jerseys, in addition to depriving them of any practice garb that said Memphis on it. He said they needed to earn back the privilege of being a Tiger.

Whether it was that jolt of inspiration or just the ebb and flow of a typical season, the Tigers responded by finishing off a 26-8 season by winning the Conference USA regular-season and tournament titles.

Now they have the No. 8 seed heading into a showdown with ninth-seeded Saint Louis (25-7) on Friday in the second round of the West Regional at Nationwide Arena.