John Calipari and Bruce Pearl do not like each other.
They won't acknowledge this, of course.
Not publicly, at least.
|Bruce Pearl doesn't give an inch -- just like another coach he knows. (Getty Images)|
One day Calipari claims he wants to play UT in Nashville, meet the Vols in the middle, call the event the "Governor's Cup" and award a trophy each year. Next day, Pearl says no way, that he only wants to play the Tigers in Memphis or Knoxville, then rubs it in by scheduling a game against Oklahoma State in Nashville. Following day, Calipari explains how he'd just as soon never play Tennessee again, and it has gone like this for well over a year.
Like I said, the two men don't like each other.
Not one bit.
But if you can look beyond the scheduling disagreements and heated recruiting battles, there's actually a deeper reason why Calipari and Pearl can't get along, a larger reason why they will never get along as long as they live in the same state. And that reason, put simply, is that they are exactly alike.
One and the same
The 16th-ranked Memphis Tigers will meet Tennessee in a nationally televised showdown Wednesday night in Knoxville. If you like up-and-down, wide-open, fast-paced basketball, you'd be wise to find a TV, sit down in front of it, watch and drink Gatorade during commercials.
As for Calipari and Pearl, they will shake hands like any other coaches, and they might even walk out of the tunnel together, arm-in-arm, like they did last season in an attempt to defuse the public perception that their relationship is sour. It'll look sweet. Both men will smile and laugh. But make no mistake, it won't mean a thing.
Calipari still won't like Pearl.
Pearl still won't like Calipari.