Pastner has ‘no desire’ for Memphis to play Tennessee

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Memphis and Tennessee managed to turn a non-existent rivalry into a pretty decent mid-season showdown the last few years.Pastner has ‘no desire’ for Memphis to play Tennessee

But Tigers coach Josh Pastner would rather the game went away.

“I have no desire to play Tennessee,” Pastner said on WNML-AM 990, via Kyle Veazey of the Memphis Commercial-Appeal. “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.”

“It’s a great game for the fans and the state, but as a head coach, it’s something that I’d rather play someone else,” Pastner said.

Not that he’s scared. He just would rather not give the Vols an opening to the fertile Memphis basketball talent. Why give the state’s big dog an edge?

Thing is, as Justin Young points out in his blog, Memphis has since seven players from the Memphis area since 2003. Tennessee has only signed two, and only Dane Bradshaw actually played for the Vols. If Bruce Pearl can’t make a dent in the Tigers in-town stronghold, should Pastner really be worried?

(If he’s worried about exposure, don’t play Duke or North Carolina or Kentucky. Those are the schools who could nab Memphis talent. Also, work on that awful offense. That would dissuade potential recruits as much as anything.)

The Tigers and Vols have played every season since 2005-06, with the Vols going 4-2 in those games. If Memphis ever did ditch the Vols, there’s an ideal school that could fill that schedule void.


Never got to see Memphis vs. Louisville in the ‘80s when it would’ve been at its peak. But I’m all for bringing it back as a regular series (they’re playing the next two seasons). Always room for another marquee non-conference showdown.

You also can follow me on Twitter @MikeMillerNBC.

VIDEO: Utah Valley’s Mark Pope dances, lip syncs with daughters

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New Utah Valley head coach Mark Pope made quite an impression on fans at the team’s Midnight Madness celebration last night. That’s because Pope did a dance and lip sync routine with his four daughters that turned out to be pretty impressive.

The former BYU assistant looks to be the leader in the clubhouse for best coach dance so far this preseason. We’ll see if any other coaches pull out elaborate routines at madness celebrations the next few weeks.

UConn commit tears ACL for second time

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UConn commit Juwan Durham, a four-star big man in the Class of 2016, has torn the ACL in his right knee for the second time in seven months. The Florida native committed to the Huskies and head coach Kevin Ollie back in September. The 6-foot-9 forward is regarded as the No. 31 overall prospect in the national Class of 2016, so he can really be a force when he’s healthy.

In a report from Tampabay.com’s Bob Putnam, UConn was notified of the injury immediately and there is no change in plans with the commitment. The Huskies also own commitments from four-star point guard Alterique Gilbert and three-star power forward Mamadou Diarra in the Class of 2016. Having Diarra, an active, rim-protecting presence, helps with Durham’s recovery, since he can provide some more front court depth.

If Durham rehabs back to full speed, UConn has a very talented power forward who was just hitting his stride in the Florida state playoffs last February. UConn has a nice class so far with this group, especially if Durham can recover, With a year to recover until next season, Durham can hopefully play during his freshman season in 2016.