Although it is likely that Memphis will suffer without Coach Cal, and thus make the C-USA winnable for a team that doesn't wear blue and white, Conference USA will certainly miss the ultra successful coach. John Calipari has a cache to his name, and he single-handedly gives Conference USA credibility, despite his teams completely dominating the league in a historic way. Calipari is one of the only reasons anyone in the conference is on television, and is thought of as anything more than a token league.
"You have to try to catch Memphis on a bad day when you're having a good day," Houston head coach Tom Penders said. "I say that for 99 percent of the teams in the country."
There will be no more statements like those by Tom Penders, as the Tigers will no longer be the dominant force they once were. The move should add something that the C-USA hasn't had in a long time, which is competitive balance at the top. If (when) Calipari jets, so will Tyreke Evans and the nation's top-rated recruited class. Center Shawn Taggert could move on to the NBA, and with the graduation of Robert Dozier and Antonio Anderson, as well as some early rumors that at least three remaining players will transfer, the Tigers will probably not even be the best team in the conference.
Aside from the obvious benefits, this could help get more than one team in the NCAA tournament as there's a legitimate chance that the regular season conference champion will not be the post-season conference champ. The C-USA hoops tournament could finally move away from the city of Memphis, who does a fine job, but just adds to the competitive imbalance that the Tigers enjoyed.
Although there will be some obscurity at first, teams like Tulsa and Houston will be able to showcase themselves, and possibly be seen as the solid programs that Doug Wocjik and Tom Penders have built. Calipari himself spoke about Tulsa and the rest of the conference after winning the C-USA tournament, what has been known a yearly coronation in Graceland.
"We are so good right now that it takes away from them (Tulsa)," Calipari said. "And it's not fair, just not fair. I mean, they deserve to have an opportunity to be selected to the NCAA tournament."
Everyone speculated during the week of the conference tournament whether Memphis' dominance was a good thing or a bad thing for the C-USA.
"Somebody needs to beat them," UCF head coach Kirk Speraw said. "I think it would help us all out."
It appears that more parity is on the way.
Cal, Say It Ain't So
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