Is Tennessee Better Than Memphis?
Posted Oct 13th 2007 11:05AM by Michael David Smith
Filed under: Memphis Basketball, Tennessee Basketball
A whole lot of people think Memphis is the team to beat in college basketball this season. Andy Katz ranked the Tigers first, and they were second in our premature hoops BlogPoll. There are a lot of reasons to like Memphis , including the fact that it returns seven of the top eight scorers from last season's Elite Eight team.
But Luke Winn of SI.com raises an interesting point in his preseason power rankings: Maybe Memphis isn't even the best team in its state. Winn ranks the Tigers fourth, one behind Bruce Pearl's Tennessee Volunteers. Winn writes:
Tennessee is now epicenter of college hoops, with a top-five team on each side of the state and a decent SEC sleeper (Vandy) sitting in the middle. Unfortunate that we have to wait until Feb. 23 to settle a rivalry in which both teams play up-tempo ball and both coaches actively dislike each other. That leaves us to speculate in the meantime: Even though Memphis is the preseason No. 1 in a few prominent places on the Web, the Vols might be slightly better. They won last year's meeting by 18, and filled a glaring frontcourt need with the offseason addition of Iowa transfer Tyler Smith. The Tigers are bringing in an all-world point guard in Derrick Rose, but does that signal an 18-point improvement?
It's an interesting point. I don't know if anyone has ever called Tennessee the "epicenter of college hoops before, but it may be now.