Column: Brutal schedule is ahead for Pastner and the Memphis Tigers

On Wednesday, the 2013-2014 schedule was released for the Memphis Tigers Men’s Basketball team. Pastner seemed pretty happy with the way the schedule came out. The fans were definitely excited to finally get a glimpse of who the Tigers will be playing next season.

“It is an absolute tough schedule,” said Pastner during the release of the schedule. “It is critical, critical that we pack the FedEx Forum. I want the fans to understand that Tiger Nation is the best, but it is so important because of our TV exposure which I think is the best that’s its ever been in terms of the non-conference and conference combined. With the package that we have, it is so important that the Forum be packed every game.”

Tiger Nation is going to go completely crazy once the season kicks off in November. They will be opening up the season against Christian Brothers. But their schedule doesn’t get tough until early next year. In January, the Tigers will have to play Cincinnati, Louisville, and Temple back-to-back. On December 17, the Tigers will have to face off against the Florida Gators in the Jimmy V Classic. The Florida game will be interesting. I had to point that one out because of the talent Florida currently have.

The Gators will be bringing back Patric Young, who is a beast in the paint. Last season, he averaged 10.1 points, 6.3 rebounds, and 0.9 assists a game. Also, Scottie Wilbekin will be back. He’s a solid guard with a high basketball IQ. Joe Jackson going up against Wilbekin will be a great match-up.

The Gators finished last season with an 29-8 overall record so, this squad knows what it takes to win.

In my opinion, the Tigers must beat the Gators. There’s no way around it. Pastner has not won a big game and now is the time. To beat an SEC team would be a great accomplishment for the Tigers’ program moving forward. Also, defeating national champion Louisville is a must. The Tigers should at least split the season series with them. I am not worried about UConn, Temple, or Cincinnati.

The Tigers are more talented than a lot of the teams in their conference, but can Pastner coach these guys to marquee victories is the question? As I ran through the schedule, I would say that the Tigers should win at least 25 games. Less than 20 wins in the regular season would be considered a failure. Not making it to the Sweet 16 round of the NCAA tournament would be considered a failure.

Once again, the critics will be questioning Pastner’s coaching style, but give him two thumbs up for his recruiting tactics. Everyone including myself will be watching the Tigers for the entire season and hopefully it will be one to remember.  For the moment, let’s just say GO TIGERS GO!!!!!

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