Maybe we overdid the rivalry talk this week.
The possibility that Memphis might not continue its rivalry with the Vols dominated the pregame buildup.
But it was obvious by halftime the Vols need more than a rival. They need a rival they could beat.
The Tigers didn't qualify Friday night.
They made 16 of 25 first-half field goal attempts, bolted to a 21-point lead early in the second half; and held on for an 85-80 victory at Thompson-Boling Arena.
The suspense didn't last much longer than the pregame introductions, which provided the most joyous moments of the evening for a large, energized Tennessee crowd.
The crowd cheered new UT football coach Butch Jones and booed Memphis basketball coach Josh Pastner. Neither reception was surprising.
Jones is undefeated at Tennessee. Pastner is the latest guy to reject the Vols.
Pastner made it clear during interviews this week that the Tennessee game didn't mean much more to him than the Tennessee-Martin game; if the rivalry ended with this game, so much the better.
Rejection doesn't play well at Tennessee these days. The Vols weren't worthy of a bowl bid, their three best offensive players chose an early entry into the NFL, and more than one coach turned them down before Jones agreed to head up a 5-7 football program.
Unfortunately for the Vols, Jones' pregame introduction didn't provide the only reminder of football season. So did the game.
The Vols started out terribly, rallied in the second half — and still lost for the fourth time in 12 games. A couple of football games came to mind along the way.
To its credit, the crowd didn't act as though it made the football-basketball connection. Every time the Vols hinted at a rally, it responded as though the impending surge would change the outcome.
But Memphis managed to make just enough plays down the stretch to produce a football-like ending for Tennessee. And that's surprising.
This basketball team might not have threatened to crack the top 10, but it has demonstrated sufficient toughness and defense to make a first half like Friday night's unimaginable.
Who would have thought these Vols would score 80 points and lose?
Answer: About as many people who thought a UT opponent would shoot the way Memphis did.
Tennessee entered the game allowing just 56.4 points per game. Memphis had 42 by halftime.
UT's first 11 opponents made 38.4 percent of their field-goal attempts. Memphis hit 56.4 percent of its shots, including 7-for-11 from 3-point range.
The turnaround turned another rivalry the wrong way for Tennessee. Memphis has now won the last three games in the series, which brings football to mind again.
The Vols haven't beaten Alabama since 2006. They haven't beaten Florida since 2004. They lost their last game to Vanderbilt by 23 points.
Who needs rivalries like that?
As for Pastner, he might be having second thoughts on the value of the Tennessee-Memphis rivalry. The way Memphis looked on the way to a 21-point lead, he should be lobbying to play the Vols twice a season.