Former UT men's basketball coach Bruce Pearl says it would be a shame if Friday night's game between the Vols and Memphis was the last one for a while.
Memphis coach Josh Pastner has said he would like to discontinue the rivalry series between the two teams, though athletic directors from both schools are in talks to continue the games.
Pearl told 10News Thursday that he thinks the rivalry should continue, and calls it one of the best games of the year for UT and its fans.
He also wrote a blog for ESPN.com on the topic, saying, "As someone who has been a part of this rivalry, I would be disappointed
if the series were to end. This game has developed into one of the best
in-state rivalries in the country. People from Memphis live in Knoxville
and attend the University of Tennessee. The same can be said about
people from Knoxville living in Memphis. It is a great game for the
state of Tennessee."
Pearl says in the blog that Pastner's biggest concern is recruiting. There's a lot of talent in that part of the state, and he thinks the annual game gives UT a chance to impress future players.
"Whatever the reason," he writes, "It seems like the basketball fans in Tennessee and throughout the country are the ones that lose without this game. Let's hope that it doesn't come to that."