Feb 7, 2012, 6:53 PM EDT
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.This video is no longer available. Click here to watch more NBC Sports videos!
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.
- 2015 College Basketball Updated Early Entry List 14
- Providence announces return of point guard Kris Dunn for 2015-16 season 0
- Five-star guard Malik Newman commits to Mississippi State 0
- UPDATED: 2015-2016 College Basketball Way-Too-Early Preseason Rankings 0
- Oklahoma guard Buddy Hield returning for senior season 0
- Arizona forward Stanley Johnson enters 2015 NBA Draft 2
- California guard Tyrone Wallace to return for senior season 0
- Duke lands commitment from elite PG Derryck Thornton, who will reclass (17)
- 2015 College Basketball Updated Early Entry List (14)
- Five-star Kentucky commit believes the NCAA will clear him to play (10)
- Five members of Iowa State’s 2014-15 team have been arrested after two more arrests this week (9)
- UPDATED: 2015-2016 College Basketball Way-Too Early Preseason Top 25 (9)