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Memphis Columnist Rips El Paso On 2011 C-USA Tournament

Talk about sour grapes.

After hosting the Conference USA Tournament five out of the last six seasons, fans and media in Memphis are whining about El Paso hosting next year.

Geoff Calkins, a columnist for the Memphis Commercial Appeal, said he will be coming to El Paso for next year’s tournament. But not because he wants to.

“El Paso is a ridiculous place to put a tournament,” said Calkins, who wrote a stinging article about El Paso’s selection in Thursday’s Commercial Appeal. “I’m sitting here looking at my e-mail … not a single bit of hate mail yet from the people of El Paso.”

That could change soon. Calkins wrote, quote: “What, did Pluto not put in a bid?”

After we asked him if it’s only fair that El Paso gets to host once in a while, he said, “It’s convenient, I’m sure, if you have a Mars land rover.”

Calkins went on to write that El Paso is right next door to “the homicide capital of Mexico, Ciudad Juarez.”

After we pointed out that we’ve had just one murder this year and that El Paso is considered the second safest city in the country, Calkins replied, “I could have gone to the L.A. Times story that called you all a city of 600-thousand, beset by drug-trafficking and illegal immigrant smuggling.”

As for the early morning championship tip-off in El Paso, Calkins wrote: “Who needs breakfast at Wimbledon, when you have breakfast burritos with Conference USA?”

“I’m looking forward to my breakfast burrito,” Calkins said.

He didn’t stop there. Calkins went on to insult our new coach, Tim Floyd: “He’s a tremendous coach, if you overlook the ethics.”

Then he knocked our team’s chances in next year’s tourney.

“I don’t think you’ll get past Thursday,” he said.

And then he insulted the Don Haskins Center.

“It’s about where do we hold it so folks can gather in a world class facility, which yours is not,” Calkins said.

We then asked him why he thinks that Memphis is the center of the Conference USA universe?

“In basketball, it is,” he said.

Our reply? “How do you figure? Who won the conference title last year?”

UTEP, of course. And apparently Memphis fans and media have a short memory.

If you want to try and set Calkins straight, send him an e-mail here.

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