College Basketball Insider

Memphis and Ole Miss at odds over scheduling

The release came from Ole Miss and was headlined "Ole Miss, Memphis Renewing Rivalry in Football, Men's Hoops." I received it and then called Memphis coach Josh Pastner to get his thoughts.

"Absolutely not," Pastner said.

Well OK then.

And now we have us a good ol' fashioned scheduling controversy between two schools separated by just 80 miles whose fanbases don't like each other much. According to Ole Miss, the Rebels and Tigers have agreed to renew a series in both football and basketball. According to Memphis, the Rebels and Tigers have agreed to renew a series in football (in 2014) but have committed to only "talk about" a basketball series, and Pastner would rather those talks never lead to anything more.

My prediction: This will get worked out.

Pastner has made it clear both publicly to his fans and privately to his bosses that he has no desire to play any regional SEC schools -- Tennessee, Ole Miss, Mississippi State, Arkansas, etc. But the fourth-year Memphis coach also knows that sometimes deals must get cut for the good of the athletic department, and my guess is that he'll ultimately relent if Ole Miss demands a basketball game with Memphis in order for Memphis to get a football game with Ole Miss.

That basketball game will likely just replace the annual Memphis-Tennessee game.

The Memphis-Tennessee series ends this year.

Pastner has already said he will not continue it "unless the Governor makes me."

 
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