About five minutes after tweeting my love for the Gonzaga-Memphis series, I decided to check in on my Google Reader. I sure didn't expect to see this headline: "Memphis Tigers' series with Gonzaga may end". Confused and perturbed, I clicked through the link to find this horrid paragraph:
"We'll know for sure (today), but it looks like it's going to be the end of it," Johnson said. "It hasn't been finalized yet. We're going to finalize it this weekend. They really don't want to keep playing with their addition of BYU (to the West Coast Conference) and another home-and-home."
In case you weren't aware, the Memphis and Gonzaga series had recently been re-upped and was supposed to run for two more seasons after today. Instead, the Zags will likely elect to end the prolific series early because a Jimmer-less BYU enters the conference next year. I'm not sure what the other home-and-home is...I'm assuming it is the Arizona series which will begin with the Battle in Seattle next season.
This news overshadows the game today, in my opinion. It is a crock. This is one series that, at all costs, should remain on the schedule. If it is Gonzaga behind the cancellation, I'm at a loss for words. While I love playing Michigan State, Xavier, Arizona, etc etc, there's something special about playing another storied, non-bcs, non-conference team. It is just an odd move. Gonzaga and the staff always talks about how special the "mid-major" group is and how it is a club that everyone roots for eachother to do well. Why, then, would you cancel a series that showcases two of the best and most prolific teams in that mid-major group?
Also, don't forget that when the WCC schedule starts, the entire country hibernates on Gonzaga whether they are unranked or #10 in the country. This mid-conference game with Memphis is their one chance to pop up on the national radar one more time before the NCAA Tournament begins.
Someone really needs to lay out a pros and cons sheet for those making the decisions before a great series is laid to rest.