The NCAA permits Division I schools to play two exhibition games against non-Division I teams — or, to play one exhibition game and have a closed scrimmage against a Division I team.
Fans will not get an opportunity to actually know the details of the closed scrimmage because the NCAA does not allow the teams to discuss what happened. However, the Tigers will get an early opportunity to see if the players have bought into the concept of One Team-One Goal, just how dominant the post players can be and the potential of the bench.
Playing as individuals and not as a single unit hurt the Tigers in several games last season. So coach Josh Pastner and his staff have put an early emphasis on One Team. One Goal. No Egos. Going against live competition against an SEC opponent will give the players a chance to put teamwork into practice.
Junior forward Tarik Black is not the only post presence for the Tigers. They also have freshman Shaq Goodwin and improved senior Stan Simpson.
The scrimmage allows the McDonald’s All-American Goodwin to put on display what he has learned during preseason workouts and practices. The most improved player during preseason has been center Simpson. He will have a chance to show that he can be a contributor during actual games.
It was reported that Pastner wanted to limit his rotation during this season. However, an early team scrimmage, with veterans against majority newcomers, may have changed his mind along with early injuries. The coaching staff has continued to look at different lineups playing together with the scrimmage offering an addition opportunity.