Here are some notes and observations I took from the practice day leading up to the “Second Round” (read - opening round) of the NCAA Tournament in Cleveland.
- Villinova players seemed tired of answering questions about their "end-of-the-season" collapse. Wouldn’t surprise me if they beat George Mason by 20, and it wouldn’t surprise me if they lost either.
- During Villinova and Marquette practice sessions, both teams used part of their session to play a version of the game “knock out” where no one was actually knocked out... Must be a Big-East thing.
- When George Mason players were asked if they feel like they’re living in the shadow of the ‘06 team that made it to the final four, the answer was basically, Hell yes we do. They also said they want to give their fans something to talk about with a run of their own. Que Bonnie Raitt.
- After George Mason finished practice, they came out and leaned over the media railing and watched the end of the Butler - Old Dominion game. They were not pleased that their fellow conference members were beaten at the buzzer.
- Syracuse is a big, big team.
- Ohio State coach Thad Matta told an amusing story about William Buford during his press conference. Said that last year, national outlets were giving Ohio State no chance in their game against Purdue on the road. In an effort to motivate his team, Matta wrote the cost of travel, room and board, food, etc... that Ohio State would take on during their trip to Purdue ($39,000) on the white board in Ohio State’s locker room. Matta asked, “Should we save the university the $39,000 and just stay home?” All of the players smiled and said no, but Buford raised his hand and asked, “If we don’t go to the game, can [the team] split the money?” Classic Buford.