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Snowflakes: #1 vs #2

Posted: Feb 22, 2008

With all due respect.to the other games this weekend, there’s only one mammoth matchup in the Swampland footprint on Saturday. It’s finally here - Tennessee and Memphis. The game many fans around the South have had an eye on all year will take place in front of the ESPN Gameday cameras in the FedEx Forum. We knew all season that this would be a contest of two solid and exciting teams who don’t like each other. However, getting a #1 vs. #2 in the Nation matchup says a lot about where basketball is going in the Volunteer State.

In our region, games with this much national attention are usually reserved for Tobacco Road. You can’t watch a sports show or read a website without this game being mentioned. This huge matchup will put an amazing spotlight on Volunteer State basketball from New York to Los Angeles and everywhere in between. Along with Memphis and Tennessee, the state also has 16th ranked Vanderbilt along with conference leaders Belmont (A-Sun) and Austin Peay (OVC). It definitely looks like the state of Tennessee will have a big-time effect on March Madness.

Memphis/Tennessee has so many storylines from state supremacy to recruiting to bragging rights for fans who tend to not like each other. This game is personal for Memphis coach John Calipari and his program. He has talked trash all season about Tennessee and the SEC. Coach Cal seems to worry about BCS schools coming into Memphis and recruiting some of the top-notch talent. He also seems to be very worried about Pearl’s up-tempo club who might wrestle the title of “most fun and exciting” system to play in Tennessee. The Tigers and the Vols both average over 80 points a game, and they look to be the future of hoops in the South.

Tickets have been next to impossible to obtain for the big game with prices reaching into the thousands. This matchup has it all-two charismatic coaches, playmakers all over the court, high-octane offenses, and fan bases who will take this one personally. The City of Memphis may not have hosted an event this big since Elvis was last on stage.

I will weigh in after it's all over.

- Patrick Snow

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