NEW YORK (WFAN) — As March Madness tips off Tuesday, Mike Francesa had a few of the NCAA Tournament-bound coaches on his show.
In separate interviews, the WFAN host talked with Villanova’s Jay Wright, Kent State’s Rob Senderoff and Seton Hall’s Kevin Willard.
Jay Wright, Villanova
No. 1 seed Villanova, the defending national champion, opens tournament play Thursday night in Buffalo against the winner of the Mount St. Mary’s-New Orleans play-in game.
Wright said the uncertainty is keeping the Wildcats on their toes.
“They’re two different (teams),” he said. “Mount St. Mary’s plays up and down really fast. And New Orleans is completely different. They’ve got good size, and they post up. So we’re looking at the possibility of two completely different teams.”
Villanova faces a similar situation with its potential second-round opponent — Virginia Tech favors an up-tempo game, and Wisconsin relies on playing a slower, more physical brand of basketball.
The Wildcats officially locked up their NCAA Tournament bid at Madison Square Garden on Saturday when they won the Big East Tournament. With two victories in the Big Dance, Villanova would return to the Garden, which is hosting the East regional semifinals and finals.
That would be fine with Wright.
“There’s nothing like being in the Garden and being in Manhattan for a week,” Wright said. ” … Our team loves it. I love it. My family loves it. It’s especially good when you win.”
Rob Senderoff, Kent State
Senderoff, a native of Spring Valley, New York, opened the interview by telling Francesa that he used to listen to “Mike and the Mad Dog” as a teenager and that being on Francesa’s show was “a dream come true.”
Fourteenth-seeded Kent State faces third-seeded UCLA on Friday night in Sacramento, California.
“Absolutely incredible opportunity for our team, (facing) the most storied program in the history of college basketball,” Senderoff said. “And as I told our guys when we practiced yesterday, what’s the worst thing that could happen to Kent State Friday night? It’s that UCLA beats you. What’s the worst thing that can happen to UCLA Friday night? They could lose to Kent State as the 3 seed to the 14 seed. So we’ve got nothing but energy and positive thoughts going out there and really nothing to lose.”
Kevin Willard, Seton Hall
The ninth-seeded Pirates will be looking for their first NCAA Tournament win in 13 years when they face Arkansas, the third seed in the South regional, on Friday in Greenville, South Carolina.
“They’re extremely well-balanced,” Willard said of the Razorbacks. “They have four guys that score in double figures. They play a really up-tempo style of play. … And defensively, they’re going to pressure you. They’re going to switch. They’re going to get after you.”
Seton Hall is led by the junior trio of Angel Delgado, Khadeen Carrington and Desi Rodriguez.
“We’re one of the only few teams in college basketball that’s got three juniors who have scored a thousand points,” Willard said. “And obviously, Angel has played phenomenal all year, the most double-doubles in college basketball. … Really proud of the way he’s developed and really become a dominant force in college basketball.”