Memphis moving to Big East, but can it thrive there?

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Memphis spent the last decade or so trying to join the Big East. Other BCS conferences were occasionally rumored, but it was always the Big East. It’s a basketball-rich league (Georgetown, UConn, Villanova) that added former Memphis rivals Louisville and Cincinnati in the mid-2000s. Makes sense.

Now it’s actually happening. Memphis will join the Big East starting with the 2013-14 season. Hoopheads often wondered how the Tigers would fare in a stronger conference – especially during John Calipari’s final four seasons. Now we’ll find out.

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Josh Pastner might be a little nervous by the idea.

As Gary Parrish notes, the move is great for Big East hoops, Memphis hoops and fans overall. But the days of pushing around the rest of the league are over. They had been for a few years, but now they’re really over. And recruiting? The Tigers will be on ESPN far more often, but now Pastner’s vying for prospects against coaches like Jay Wright, Rick Pitino, JT III and the rest of the league. (Not having to compete with Syracuse, Pitt and West Virginia helps a little.)

Pastner, 34, is still learning the ropes as a coach. Memphis was his first job as a head coach and he’s only halfway through his third season. He already has proven himself as a more than capable recruiter, but this is a different league with higher stakes. It’s almost like the dream of joining another league loomed for so long, it seemed like it might never happen.

Still, Pastner might be the least of Memphis’ worries compared to its wreck of a football program.

Memphis is kinda like Robert Redford in “The Candidate.” What now? Were we really prepared for this possibility? (Political movie aside: Why “The Ides of March” didn’t get more acclaim last fall is beyond me. Great flick.)

Memphis can handle the move. It has the financial resources and Pastner’s a tireless worker. But will it thrive? That’s the big question.

You also can follow me on Twitter @MikeMillerNBC.

Wichita State’s Anton Grady improving after being hospitalized

James Woodard, Anton Grady, Ron Baker
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Wichita State senior forward Anton Grady received some positive news on Saturday as a neurosurgeon reviewed MRI results, which are negative for spinal cord trauma.

According to a release from Wichita State, doctors believed Grady suffered a spinal cord concussion during a collision on Friday after he was taken off the floor in a stretcher and taken to a hospital in an ambulance. CT and MRI scans on Friday both turned up negative, but the news of Saturday’s results are an even more encouraging sign for Grady.

The injury for Grady occurred during a Friday loss to Alabama during the AdvoCare Invitational as the senior’s condition has improved since the collision. Grady will receive physical therapy over the next few days and doctors will check his progress before he is released from the hospital.

Grady has been alert and responsive to questions and had feeling in his extremities on Friday, but the use of his arms and legs was limited. By Saturday morning, Grady had improved the use of his extremities.

The 6-foot-8 Grady has averaged 9 points and 6 rebounds per game this season in his first season with the Shockers. The Cleveland State transfer is shooting 39 percent from the field.

Colorado’s Tory Miller reprimanded by Pac-12 after biting opponent

Dusan Ristic, Tory Miller
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Colorado sophomore forward Tory Miller has been reprimanded by the Pac-12 and he also apologized for biting Air Force’s Hayden Graham earlier this week.

During Colorado’s win over Air Force on Wednesday, Miller was assessed a Flagrant 2 Dead Ball Technical Foul and ejected with 12:25 left in the second half after biting Graham during a loose ball.

In a release from the Pac-12, they announced reprimanding Miller, but he will not be suspended.

“All of our student-athletes must adhere to the Pac-12’s Standards of Conduct and Sportsman-ship,” Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott said in the release. “Regardless of Mr. Miller’s frustration and emotion, such behavior is unacceptable and he is being appropriately reprimanded.”

Miller also released his apology in the same release.

“I would like to apologize for my actions during the Air Force game. I would like to apologize to Hayden Graham, Air Force, my teammates and fans. It was a heat of the moment thing. I’m an emotional player, but I let my emotions get the best of me. I will use this as a learning experience and focus on helping my teammates and respecting my opponents for the rest of the season and beyond,” Miller said.

For Miller to not be suspended for this is good news for him and Colorado since he won’t miss any additional action, but did the Pac-12 make the right decision on this?