The Memphis Tigers men's and women's basketball teams open up Conference USA play this week, and it's for the last time as the school will be moving to the Big East Conference in 2013-14.
But since the announcement of that move, Big East teams have been dropping out left and right and it appears the Tigers will be moving into the Big East version 2.0.
The league Memphis will move into is courting Tulsa and by 2014, seven current C-USA schools will be playing in the new Big East - if that is what it would be called then.
Shortly after the Tigers announced they would be leaving C-USA in favor of the BCS Bowl bid league the Big East, schools that made the conference what it was began to bolt for other leagues: Pittsburgh and Syracuse were out; Louisville left for the Atlantic Coast Conference, and in late December the seven non-football playing Catholic schools separated from the Big East to form their own league.
Later Boise State, one of the better football teams poised to join the Big East, chose to stay in the Mountain West Conference.
In two years the Big East has seen 14 of its member schools leave the league, leaving the conference's future in flux.
Despite all that has transpired, the Memphis Tigers are going into their schedule this season with the intentions that it will still be their last.
"We're going to get everyone's best shot because they are going to be jacked up to play us," said men's basketball coach Josh Pastner. "It's Memphis and it may be the last time they are going to see us and it's their most important game."
"I know it's going to be a big year in the conference because every team is going to give you their best shot and be prepared to play us," added Joe Jackson.
With this being the Tigers last year in the league they want top do something that hasn't been done since the 2008-09 season.
"It's something that we haven't done since I have been in college and it would be nice just because it is the last year to be in Conference USA to do it," Jackson said. "Especially with this team we work hard enough to do it. It would be great for us."
"To win a regular season in conference is not easy," Pastner added. "I don't care what league you are in. I don't care if it is a district in high school a conference in college; it is not easy to do all we can do is take it one game at a time."
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