Blog Entry

Will Tennessee-Memphis series be ending soon?

Posted on: July 19, 2011 11:21 am
Edited on: July 19, 2011 11:22 am

By Matt Norlander

If Josh Pastner gets his way, the Tigers and Tennessee Volunteers will have an annual meeting no more.

Pastner hates playing the game. Doesn't see the value in Tennessee coming into Memphis -- where recruits are ripe as ever -- and playing the Tigers every other year. He said as much on the radio Monday. Per the Memphis Commercial-Appeal:
“I have no desire to play Tennessee,” Pastner told hosts Josh Ward and Will West on WNML-AM 990. “I don’t think it does us any good. I’m just being honest with you. For us, it’s a game that, I don’t know why we play it, but we play it because the athletic director wants me to play it and he’s my boss and what he says goes.”
This stems from the fact that, while its an in-state rivalry, Tennessee is ultimately getting more out of the deal than Memphis. There aren't a lot of players to recruit in Knoxville, which is quite a haul from the River City. But Tennessee is always trying to entrench itself in Memphis and pluck a recruit here or there. Ergo, the Vols are getting more out of the proposition than Memphis.

They're also winning more. Tennessee is 3-1 in the recent history of the rivalry.

I can't help but ask: Is Tennessee coming in to play Memphis every two years really damaging Pastner's recruiting ability? Unlikely -- but this is how coaches are. Any advantage possible, please. And eliminating Tennessee from the equation is the best thing for Pastner, so he's going to push for that. Plus, since Bruce Pearl is now gone, Tennessee is seen as a weaker opponent -- and it is -- so this is the perfect time for Pastner to let his opinion be known.

I like the game, but most outside the state won't really have an opinion on it if it goes away. That No. 1 vs. No. 2 game back in 2008 was pretty exciting, though. I think in-state series between national brands are good for the sport, so ultimately, I'd like to not see this go away. But if Pastner can trade this game for an annual meeting with another school (I think I saw Louisville tossed out as a possibility on Twitter), then I'm fine with it. And Tigers fans should be, too.

We've still got at least two more meetings between the clubs on tap, though. Memphis hosts this year, then travels to Knoxville for the 2012-13 season.


Since: Mar 16, 2009
Posted on: July 19, 2011 3:51 pm

Will Tennessee-Memphis series be ending soon?

The series won't end.  Pastners just trying to protect the recruits in the city but the fans won't let this one end.  And Smith and Mikey are both idiots.  Laughing

Since: Sep 26, 2008
Posted on: July 19, 2011 3:46 pm

Will Tennessee-Memphis series be ending soon?

Nobody wants to watch a mid major play the worst team in the SEC, so I have no problem with this rivalry ending.

Since: Jun 1, 2009
Posted on: July 19, 2011 3:40 pm

Will Tennessee-Memphis series be ending soon?

Mikey, Mikey, Mikey......

Since: Sep 28, 2008
Posted on: July 19, 2011 2:43 pm

Will Tennessee-Memphis series be ending soon?

Pastner's simply an idiot - <br /><br /><br />First off, Memphis vs. Tennessee is a rivlary game. I'm sure both Memphis and Tennessee fans want to watch this game every year because it's fun and something for both schools fans to look forward too even if both teams are having a bad year. <br /><br /><br />Second of all, Josh Pastner hasn't done <span style="text-decoration: underline;">shit</span> since coming to Memphis. Other than put up a 49-20 record with a conference record of 23-9 with his "top recruits" he has brought in here. He coached Memphis in the NIT the first year, and took them to the second round in the NCAA Tournament last year. This guy doesn't even have close of a good enough track record to start opening his mouth and having people take his opinions seriously. <br /><br /><br />Soon enough, people will realize Pastner's not that great of a coach, and Memphis will go back to getting the three star recruits at best again. Calipari brough the program up, and then moved on to better things (Kentucky). Pastner will eventually bring them back down to earth as being the typical mid-major school.  

Since: Jun 1, 2009
Posted on: July 19, 2011 2:18 pm

Will Tennessee-Memphis series be ending soon?

While I agree that this series needs to continue, I will disagree with your perception of Pastner (his ego has never surfaced in Memphis).  Pastner has been a open book since he arrived at Memphis, and it has been refreshing.  I don't think this has to do with his job or a scare tactic......he's set at Memphis and he knows it.  This is all based on recruiting.....Memphis produces pound for pound the top talent in the nation and Knoxville produces nothing. 

jonvi.....everyone tries to recruit Memphis but we have it on lock down........even Pearl could never get in.

Since: Jul 19, 2011
Posted on: July 19, 2011 2:07 pm

Will Tennessee-Memphis series be ending soon?

Tigers play Louisville next two years.  good reporting though

Since: Dec 16, 2008
Posted on: July 19, 2011 2:07 pm

Will Tennessee-Memphis series be ending soon?

This is laughable. First of all, Josh Pastner has'nt even accomplished anything even remotely close to John Calipari at Memphis. So he should'nt be able to wield the kind of power that would enable him to destroy an epic rivalry that millions of college basketball fans look forward to year in and year out.

 Second,  I really think this is a scare tactic hes using on Memphis. His name has been coming up more and more for bigger coaching oppurtunities, and hes letting Memphis know that hes not exactly happy with his current situation. Playing Tennesee and losing deminishes his rep and exposes the fact that hes a coach who cant win rivalry games. But its more about him letting Memphis know that he wants to be "the man" and make executive decisions regarding the program like John Calipari or hes out and going elsewhere.

I'm sure they wont listen to his suggestion, as its completely absurd. The memphis fans want this rivalry to continue, and so do the networks that want the rights to broadcast the games. Not to mention everyone else outside of Tennesee who wants to watch it. Pastner needs to shut up. It looks like Memphis is going to be needing a new coach soon. This guy is way too egotistical and ambitious for this to continue.

Since: Sep 26, 2008
Posted on: July 19, 2011 1:42 pm

Will Tennessee-Memphis series be ending soon?

I GUARANTEE that  four years from now, Slick Rick will never want to play Kentucky again. Of course, he will likely be retiring by then.

Since: Nov 26, 2008
Posted on: July 19, 2011 1:08 pm

Will Tennessee-Memphis series be ending soon?

All but one of your examples are conference games, they are forced to play each other.

There are plenty of in-state "rivals" that don't play each other:

Pitt/Penn St.
Notre Dame/Purdue
Gonzaga/Washington or WSU
Cincy/Ohio St.

The list goes on.

Since: May 13, 2010
Posted on: July 19, 2011 12:24 pm

Will Tennessee-Memphis series be ending soon?

Josh!  This is weak.  

What I am reading is Josh is tired of losing recruits and games to UT.   

There are a ton of in-state rivals that no matter how great one of the teams are...the upset happens often.  Often enough to make a fan know to tune in for the next one.  You just never know.   

Wash/Wash St.







I could go on for days of in-state games that are just blood baths...where the fans hate the other fans for no real reason.  Like Matt said...that No 1 versus No 2 is about as good as it can get for anyone in the area.   

Don't be scared Josh.  Look the voluteers in the eyes.  Take em on head on.  Earn a reason the recruits pick you. 

But I don't like the way this article reads. 

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