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: Feb 13, 2008
Posted on: February 15, 2012 1:19 am

Pastner's job just got a lot harder at Memphis

Parrish does everything he can to prove he's not a Memphis homer, sometimes he goes to far as in this article. The Big East is going to be a fine fit for Memphis and a fine fit for Pastner (Parrish also has a man-crush on John Calipari, so figure that into his dimissal of Josh Pastner). Memphis has had their haters and many of them have posted in this blog's comments and that will probably never change, but Memphis is up to the challenge of the Big East and will thrive there. Pastner will too.

Since: Sep 10, 2006
Posted on: February 8, 2012 10:25 pm

Pastner's job just got a lot harder at Memphis

Seriously? You lost all credibility with that post. Do some more homework. Here, I will help you.....RPI 19 SOS 8. We have also lost 2 starters and another starter didn't get to play until Christmas.
It doesn't matter what Memphis' RPI or SOS is if they don't win. With their remaining schedule, do you think their SOS or RPI is going to stay up? I don't. And if they don't win 20 at least, I don't see them playing in March. RPI and SOS are variable until the last game.

Hell, if Memphis played every top 25 team and lost, their SOS would be #1, and it wouldn't mean a damn thing because Memphis would be 0-25. If you're going to try to rebuttal an argument, make sure you're using information that is actually worth posting.

And just in case you don't understand where I'm coming from, let me show you an example why your argument is useless:

Team X has a record of 15-8, ranked 1st in SOS, and currently ranked 24th in the RPI. If the tournament started today, they're in. However, Team X has 7 more games against tough opponents, and as of right now, many analysts are expecting Team X to not be in the tourny unless they win some key matchups.

Team X, BTW, is UConn. Much like UConn, Memphis has a decent resume up to now, but it still needs plenty of work over the next month. My prediction is based purely on record, conference affiliation, and key wins. I'm not using RPI and SOS because those numbers change on a daily basis. If you can't understand that, then you are in no shape to criticize someone's credibility.

Since: Mar 8, 2011
Posted on: February 8, 2012 3:26 pm

Pastner's job just got a lot harder at Memphis

 Pitino said:Memphis doesn't need the Big East,the Big East needs Memphis.Now,we all know that the Tigers do need the Big East.They have coveted a spot in that conference for years.But,understand,the Tigers bring a lot to the table in regards to basketball.They recruit nationally and have a more impressive basketball resume than Pitt or West Virginia.Furthermore,if a player can't get into a Big East school,he certainly doesn't need to bother calling on Memphis.The Tigers won't have any problem continuing their tradition of attracting the cream of the crop to the Birthplace of Rock & Roll.By the way,as a philly guy,maybe you recall one little recruit they signed from there a few years back.I believe his name was Tyreke Evans.Congradulations to the U of M and GO TIGERS! 

Since: Sep 18, 2008
Posted on: February 8, 2012 11:29 am

Pastner's job just got a lot harder at Memphis

Memphis by and large loves Josh.  He is learning on the job, and whether or not his players are improving under him is a question as well.  But that has to be secondary to the growth of the program as a whole, and in particular the growth of the football program.  We have, lest we forget, a 60k seat stadium.  And the OPPORTUNITY to recruit better players and face better competition in football may be the ultimate win for the Tigers in the next 10 yrs.
  We will see how the b ball fans react if we struggle in the Big East.  Will we continue to give our team that home court advantage(see Xavier collapse from last Saturday), or will we not show up if we are 3-6 in conference and playing Seton Hall?   I say we will show up, but no one knows if Josh will be our coach at that point, period. 

Since: Nov 17, 2006
Posted on: February 8, 2012 10:45 am

Pastner's job just got a lot harder at Memphis

If Pastner chickens out, the Illinois job would be a good Plan B.  Anything to be rid of Bruce Cant Yell Weber.

Since: Dec 5, 2010
Posted on: February 8, 2012 10:22 am

Pastner's job just got a lot harder at Memphis

with syracuse, pitt, and west virginia moving out, Memphis can actually help the big east as they will miss those schools. recruits would like to be in a big program with lots of exposure and the Big East has plenty of exposure. players that can't get into the other Big East schools may decide to go to Memphis. the only question is how will Pastner be able to adapt to the Big East and it's level of competition and girth of teams in the conference.  if he can step up his coaching, Memphis can do well battling the likes of Georgetown, Uconn, Nova, etc.  

Since: Nov 25, 2007
Posted on: February 8, 2012 9:13 am

Big East: Out of control...

How many teams does the Big East need?  I just seems to me that they are ALWAYS looking to add new teams?  Why is that necessary, and when will it end? Never?  Something needs to be done here, because it seems to me that this just puts the pressure on the NCAA Selection committee to include more of these teams in the tournament?

Since: Feb 15, 2010
Posted on: February 8, 2012 9:02 am

Pastner's job just got a lot harder at Memphis

Big East Basketball will lose:  Syracuse, Pitt and West Virginia

Big East Basketball will gain:  Memphis, Houston, SMU and Central Florida

The Big East will still one of the strongest conferences but let's not react as if Memphis will be playing the Big East as it exisits today.

Since: Jun 1, 2009
Posted on: February 8, 2012 12:10 am

Pastner's job just got a lot harder at Memphis

Coach Pastner now has the talent, but he's not doing anything with it. Currently Memphis isn't even leading C-USA. Their record this season against Big East opponents is 0-3. Their total record is 16-7. Unless they win the C-USA tourny, I doubt they will be playing come March.

Seriously?  You lost all credibility with that post.  Do some more homework.  Here, I will help you.....RPI 19 SOS 8.  We have also lost 2 starters and another starter didn't get to play until Christmas.

The Tigers will be just fine against the Big East and recruiting will not be a issue at all.  We are coming to win, not get by.    

Since: Nov 16, 2007
Posted on: February 7, 2012 11:04 pm

Pastner's job just got a lot harder at Memphis

Is it wrong, as a Memphis fan, to have wished for nothing but the complete colapse of the Big East the last 7 years?? I have had nothing but critical things to say about the out of control monstrasity named the Big East. Now,  I am indiffernt, I don't like the idea of super leagues (so I was a little torn about the CUSA and Mountain West thing too), convoluted, diluted, thinned out schedules, missing home and away rivelries are not for me.
However, what's good for Memphis is good for Memphis fans of all sports. Big East aside, I'm just thrilled to see the classic Memphis Louisville/ Memphis Cinnci games back on the table each season, 40 year old rivelries rejoined. Conference nonsense and all other non-issues mean little as long as tradition can remain.

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