Leading up to Midnight Madness in October, ESPN Insider's "Countdown to Madness" series is previewing the top five seeds in each of the four regions in Joe Lunardi's preseason 2013 NCAA bracket. To read about the key stats and freshman impact for each team as the previews are published, plus get expert predictions from Jay Bilas, Fran Fraschilla and Lunardi, click here. This is the entry for the Memphis Tigers, No. 4 in the South (Arlington).
The key: Veteran starters who can score
Stat to know: 113.2
Memphis is coming off a season where it failed to win a game in the NCAA tournament, then lost its top player (Will Barton) to the NBA -- not exactly the type of combination that would typically signify a program on the rise.
But since when is Josh Pastner, who took over the proud Memphis program at age 31, typical?
The Tigers' likable head coach enters his fourth season at the school with an experienced cast of talented upperclassmen who are familiar with the system and, Pastner hopes, capable of collectively making up for the 18 points and eight rebounds a game Barton provided in 2011-12.