On Tuesday, Gregg Giannotti and Brian Jones recorded an interview with West Virginia head coach Bob Huggins set to air Wednesday on CBS Sports Radio’s Gio and Jones.
There’s just one catch: Bob Huggins wasn’t the one doing the interview. Rather, it was Chris Mueller – a radio host for CBS affiliate 97.3 The Fan in Pittsburgh – posing as Huggins.
The best part? Giannotti knew all along it was a gag. Jones did not.
“I want to know if both of you guys are two more outstanding members of our country’s sports media who also picked Buffalo (to beat us in the first round) and are probably very disappointed that you’re not talking to Bob Hurley right now,” the fake Huggins said.
Giannotti picked West Virginia to win that game. Jones did not. He went with the upset.
“That’s not surprising,” fake-Huggins said. “They give me a little bit of information on you guys wherever I am, whoever I’m talking to beforehand. So I’m not surprised that a former NFL player might have picked Buffalo to beat us and maybe didn’t do his homework on what we bring to the table. So I’m not surprised really at all. You’re all members of the same basic thing. You’re all media guys. Listen, you’re all kind of ruining things for the people that just want to enjoy the game.
“My guys watch ESPN,” fake-Huggins continued. “I don’t prevent them from doing that. I don’t need to use that as motivation. They don’t care. But they hear guys like you picking against them. They hear (Jay) Bilas doing this Twitter thing that my people tell me he does, this got-to-go-to-work nonsense – like you got to have a catchphrase to be in this profession. They hear (Doug) Gottlieb, who couldn’t hit the broad side of the barn with a free throw with no one guarding him.”
Jones laughed throughout this diatribe.
“I went through it too, coach,” Jones said, trying to relate to fake-Huggins and establish a rapport. “It wasn’t nothing malicious in me picking Buffalo. Have I seen a ton of West Virginia? No. Do I purport to be an expert? No. I love the game. I played the game growing up – played every damn sport. So nothing malicious. We’re just making picks. No one’s etching this stuff in stone. I’m glad to hear your young men aren’t taking it serious because neither are we.”
Well, apparently fake-Huggins was, adding, “I don’t go talking to people spouting off about football.”
Giannotti, who was playing along the whole time, interjected. Coach, are you really affected by this? You shouldn’t be worried about what media say.
“I didn’t say I was worried, Gregg,” fake-Huggins said. “I didn’t say that.”
Jones, trying to play peacemaker once more, noted that Shane Battier is picking West Virginia to beat Kentucky in the Sweet 16.
“You say a ton of people are picking us,” fake-Huggins said. “Does that include former NFL linebackers, NFL Europe players? Shane Battier, he doesn’t have an agenda, does he? Duke guy. How do you go about beating (Kentucky)? I don’t know. What do you do? You score more points.”
Do you even like doing interviews? Giannotti asked. Do you even want to be here?
“I don’t know,” fake-Huggins said. “You tell me. What do you hear? I hear Brian laughing in the background. I’m sure he thinks this is a real gas.”
Eventually, Giannotti told Jones the truth. That wasn’t actually Bob Huggins.
“Oh, that was someone else?” Jones asked. “Really? Who was it?”
“It was a friend of mine form Pittsburgh,” Giannotti said, laughing, “and we set you up – and you bought it. Hook, line and sinker. More than I could have ever imagined. Bob Huggins didn’t say any of that stuff. Bob Huggins wasn’t on the phone. His name was Chris Mueller. He works in Pittsburgh. He did the voice, and we got you.”
Jones couldn’t believe it. In fact, he was speechless.
“Say something!” Giannotti said. “We’re on the radio here!”
“I ain’t saying a damn thing,” Jones said. “Y’all are terrible. Wow.”
“I’m just thinking how I’m going to get all of y’all back,” Jones said. “It ain’t got to happen today. It ain’t got to happen tomorrow. It ain’t got to happen next week. But it’s going to happen.”