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Will Memphis Lose Tarik Black for Longer Than a Game?

Tarik Black will be out against Tennessee-Martin tonight. Could be be gone for longer?

Nick Laham

The locker room is closed. No one can speak to the media except Josh Pastner.

That probably means we won't hear from Tarik Black what will keep him from the floor tonight against Tennessee-Martin. The junior big man will be held out as he deals with a personal issue according to the Memphis Commercial Appeal.

That is probably not a big deal against the overmatched Tennessee-Martin (although the way that Memphis has been playing, you never know what is going to happen). But it could become an issue further down the line if this takes longer than a night to resolve.

As in the case if Black decides that he doesn't want to play at Memphis any longer.

If that happens, it will bring new concerns about about Pastner's ability to recreate the success seen at the school under John Calipari. It isn't fair to Pastner to think that he even could do that, not in the short time that he has been the coach there.

There is a reason that John Calipari gets the guys he does. Pastner isn't there yet. He might be at some point. That point isn't today.

As far as losing Black, if it happens, it definitely lowers the number of impactful big men on the roster. Black was a 0.45 HW30 player last season, one of the four positive players left from last season.

This season, he was the best offensive player the Tigers had by ORtg (yes, small sample size). He had also been strong on the defensive end, and his presence, especially on the boards would be missed.

In short, this would be a difficult loss, and one that could make a championship race in Conference USA a real possibility.

Then again, Houston lost to Prairie View last night. So you never know.