Blog Entry

Pastner's job just got a lot harder at Memphis

Posted on: February 7, 2012 3:15 pm
Edited on: February 8, 2012 7:59 am
Memphis basketball will see its profile raised -- and that could be a good and bad thing for its head coach. (AP)

By Gary Parrish

News that Memphis is expected to join the Big East is great for the city of Memphis. And the University of Memphis. And the athletic department. And the football program. And the fans. And pretty much everybody ... except Josh Pastner.

This is not a great development for the Memphis basketball coach.

Granted, it doesn't necessarily have to be a bad thing. But there's a reason John Calipari went from a coach who won just one NCAA tournament game in his first five seasons at Memphis to a coach who went to a Final Four, two Elite Eights and a Sweet 16 in his last four years, and it's not solely because somebody (allegedly) took Derrick Rose's SAT. The rise to prominence coincided with Louisville, Cincinnati and Marquette getting the hell out of Conference USA and leaving Memphis as the only school in the league that funded its basketball program like a national power. Suddenly, nobody else in C-USA could recruit like Memphis or travel like Memphis or pay its coach like Memphis, and the Tigers started overwhelming the league in the exact same way -- and for exactly the same reasons -- that Gonzaga had been overwhelming the West Cost Conference.

Those advantages disappear the day Memphis moves to the Big East.

And what's to be gained for the basketball coach?

The Tigers already routinely sell out FedExForum and recruit almost nothing but Top 100 prospects, so the usual bumps that come with an advancement in conference affiliation won't matter much to Pastner. The only thing that'll change is that he'll no longer be able to out-recruit his league because Louisville, Connecticut, Villanova, Marquette and Georgetown (just to name a few) all recruit at the highest levels, too. So now Pastner will find himself fighting with the likes of Rick Pitino, Jay Wright, John Thompson III and Mike Brey to get to the top of the Big East, and he'll be scrapping like crazy in some years to avoid falling into the bottom half. It's much easier to consistently beat UAB, UTEP and Southern Miss than it is to consistently beat at least 10 Big East programs. That's the reality of the situation. The Memphis job just got a lot tougher.

Which is not to suggest this isn't a day for Memphians to celebrate.

Because it is.

A jump to the Big East has been in the works for nearly a decade.

Now it's happening.

It really is happening.

The move will bring more exposure to the school, more money to the athletic department and more compelling games to the fans, and it might just turn that mess of a football program into something relevant, too. Those are all positives. But the move will also undeniably make Josh Pastner's job much more difficult. Twenty-five wins a season won't be practically guaranteed anymore. That's the downside of moving up in the world.


Since: Aug 11, 2010
Posted on: February 7, 2012 4:42 pm

Pastner's job just got a lot harder at Memphis

Memphis is already recruiting against all of those Big East schools, along w/ the Big 12 and SEC.  When you are national program like Memphis, you are already recruiting against the Louisvilles, Kentuckys, Cincinatis, etc.  If anything I think this helps their recruiting.  Kids from the south that want to play on the biggest stage in college basketball can stay closer to home.  With Houston moving to the Big East as well, they now can recruit Texas.  A state the Big East has yet to tap. 

Since: Mar 10, 2009
Posted on: February 7, 2012 4:42 pm

Pastner's job just got a lot harder at Memphis

Good move for Memphis and for basketball given the present situtation.  But come on Tiger, I don't see the B.E. 2 being an eight bid league. With Syracuse, Pitt, West Virginia gone, the conference matchups don't have the same prestigie.  Six bids will be a decent year for B.E. 2.

Since: May 30, 2009
Posted on: February 7, 2012 4:30 pm

Pastner's job just got a lot harder at Memphis

AT LAST, AT LAST! I just opened up my page to see this great news. I am nearly 70 and I have waited so long. All the wayfrom when Bradley was the big game, to the Missouri Valley Conference, to playing the Quantico Marines twice in the same year in football. Pastner and all of the other coaches can handle this. This will help Memphis out in a way that nothing else could. This is not only great for the men but will really help the ladies programs in basketball and volleyball. Our baseball program just got a real shot in the arm. Also golf, swimming, and every NCAA program that we compete in will get a solid boost. So long, so long we have waited. I am going to go and do a little old man jig. GO TIGERS!

Since: Mar 18, 2009
Posted on: February 7, 2012 4:27 pm

Pastner's job just got a lot harder at Memphis

I think the picture will be more clear in 2-3 years as to what the Big East Conference is going to look like. It might not be that bad for Pastner.

Since: Sep 17, 2009
Posted on: February 7, 2012 4:25 pm

Pastner's job just got a lot harder at Memphis

I would like to announce that I am entering the Big East in 2013.  There, that is everyone.

Since: Apr 20, 2009
Posted on: February 7, 2012 4:12 pm

Pastner's job just got a lot harder at Memphis


Since: Mar 23, 2007
Posted on: February 7, 2012 4:11 pm

Pastner's job just got a lot harder at Memphis

Bring it! Ah hahahahaha! Pastner eats diffiiculties for breakfast!

Since: Apr 20, 2009
Posted on: February 7, 2012 4:10 pm

Pastner's job just got a lot harder at Memphis

It won't be that much forget who's leaving the conference, and also that Pastner has already been scheduling like a big boy anyway.

The Big East will still get 8-9 bids at least, and Memphis will be one of them every year.

I can't say I love the move, but I don't think Pastner's job got worse. If anything, the Memphis Basketball coaching job is now worth more than ever, and the football program will get a huge bump as well. From a coache's standpoint, this is a huge win.

Go Tigers!

Since: Oct 20, 2008
Posted on: February 7, 2012 4:06 pm

Pastner's job just got a lot harder at Memphis

Gary Parrish writing an article about Memphis?  No......Undecided

Since: Mar 19, 2009
Posted on: February 7, 2012 4:05 pm

Pastner's job just got a lot harder at Memphis

They've been trying for years.  Tennessee, Ole Miss, and Arkansas have never wanted it to happen because Memphis would butt into their recruiting.

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