Tennessee’s 102-92 victory over Memphis on Saturday featured a very chill imitation of a scuffle between the two teams in the final minute. A few days after the game, however, this once-lean beef is starting to look pretty appetizing. At his Tuesday press conference, Memphis first-year coach Penny Hardaway threw some heaters in the direction of Volunteers coach Rick Barnes, then walked out of the room cussin’ like a sailor:
Hardaway’s insults were prompted by Barnes’ reaction to an assertion Hardaway made after his team’s loss. In the post-game press conference, Hardaway said that Tennessee players were itching for a fight, and came to the Memphis bench “with their fists balled, talking trash to our guys.”
On Monday, Barnes laughed off the accusation, then on Tuesday, Tennessee guard Jordan Bone tossed out one of his own. “We knew they were going to come out and flop,” he said of the Tigers, “And that’s what they did,”
The use of “flop” apparently got under Hardaway’s skin, and prompted the Memphis coach to use a different f-word. The official video of the availability, unfortunately, doesn’t include the spicy ending, but Hardaway gets asked about Barnes at the very beginning of the press conference, and responds with some muscle:
I don’t know who Rick Barnes thinks I am, but I’m not a dude that likes to mess around about anything ... The comments that he made about my team, when it came to the flopping and all that, that’s no-class. I would never do that to another team.
Memphis is off to a rocky 5-5 start so far this season, though most of those losses do come to respectable programs. Maybe Hardaway increasing the beef in his team’s diet will help the Tigers when conference play begins.
Correction (8:57 p.m. ET): The article original stated that Rick Barnes made the “flopping” accusation. It was, in fact, Vols player Jordan Bone.