Due to its location, Memphis is in prime position to have plenty of local rivalries. It’s in Tennessee, is close to Mississippi and Arkansas, and has access to most of the SEC.
However, head coach Josh Pastner wants no part of having a series with any of the aforementioned teams.
“As long as I’m the head coach at Memphis, I will not play Arkansas,” Pastner said this morning on Hog Sports Radio. “I don’t want to play Tennessee, but we do it. I don’t want to play Mississippi State, Ole Miss, Florida.”
People who have dealt with Pastner in the past know that he does not mean anything personal by saying that. The common thread that all of those teams have is that they recruit in Memphis – and Pastner does not want recruiting rivals getting free access to the city.
“I don’t want to have to play a team who wants to come in and try to recruit Memphis,” he said. “As a coach, my whole thing is, you don’t want to give anyone an advantage.”
Memphis plays Tennessee on an annual basis, but the Tigers have not faced Arkansas since 2003. They have not played Mississippi in the regular season since 2007, or Mississippi State since 1985. Memphis has only faced Florida once, in 1977 on a neutral court.
Pastner has a solution if these schools want home-and-home series with Memphis – vote the Tigers into the SEC.
“That will solve everything,” he said. “You don’t have to ask me; we would play twice. If you’re coming in here, if you want to play Memphis, go to your presidents and vote Memphis in the SEC. That’s the easiest way to do it.
“If you’re asking me for a non-conference game, it’s not going to happen.”
While Pastner did not mean the comments to be taken personally, Memphis might have some new unspoken rivalries on its hands.
Photo: US Presswire