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Tigers Basketball Insider: What is the most important game for Memphis this season?
 
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Lamonte Turner (1) battles for the loose ball with Memphis guard Jayden Hardaway (25) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game Saturday, Dec. 14, 2019, in Knoxville, Tennessee. (AP Photo/Wade Payne)
 

Lamonte Turner (1) battles for the loose ball with Memphis guard Jayden Hardaway (25) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game Saturday, Dec. 14, 2019, in Knoxville, Tennessee. (AP Photo/Wade Payne)

Welcome to this week’s Tigers Basketball Insider. Below you’ll find the latest news and analysis from The Daily Memphian’s Steven Johnson and Geoff Calkins.

The most anticipated regular season in sometime for Memphis is getting closer and closer.

In three weeks, the Tigers will host Memphis Madness on Oct. 13. Eleven days later, they’ll open the season with an exhibition match against LeMoyne-Owen.

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With the season around the corner, let’s take a closer look at the Tigers’ schedule and answer the question - What is the most important game for Memphis this season?

I took to Twitter to get a pulse from a contingent of Tigers. For some it’s the first game of the season and for others it’s the last one, which of course fans are hoping is in the national championship game.

But most would agree it would either be Houston or Tennessee. The Houston game speaks for itself. If the Tigers want to capture an AAC championship it will likely mean facing the Cougars three times.

Those games are sure to be battles, but I think rivalry game against Tennessee is the most important. For one, it could be the last time these two teams play for sometime in the regular season.

The Volunteers took the first game of the three-game series with Memphis bouncing back in 2019 on the road. The final contest will be in Nashville on Dec. 18 in the state capitol which is very fitting.

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Both programs have lofty expectations this year and are recruiting at an elite level. Who wins in Nashville will go a long way in deciding who is going to be the premier program in-state and of course which fanbase will have bragging rights for the foreseeable future.

It also comes four days after the Tigers face fellow SEC contender Alabama at the FedExForum. If the Tigers win that contest, then the Saturday matchup against the Vols will be another chance for a statement win and would likely push Memphis further up the Top 25 rankings.

If Memphis drops that game against Alabama, then the Tennessee contest will offer a quick chance to bounce back with a likely Quad 1 win on a neutral court.

No matter how you slice it, the result of the Tennessee game carries the most weight for the program in the short and long term.


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Memphis Madness scheduled for October at FedExForum

Tickets will go on sale to the general public Wednesday, Sept. 22. 

 
 
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