Now that your bracket is probably busted, you might want a second crack at the Final Four. Well, Siena head basketball coach Jimmy Patsos doesn’t need a second crack.
His horse is still there.
“I have UCLA winning it,” Pastsos said on CBS Sports Radio’s Gio and Jones. “I had Villanova, I had West Virginia, I had Kansas (in the Final Four). I got UCLA. I just think this guy Ball (is the difference).”
That Ball, of course, is Lonzo Ball, who was electric in No. 3 UCLA’s 79-67 win over No. 6 Cincinnati on Sunday. Ball was quiet in the first half, as UCLA trailed 33-30 at the break, but he came alive in the final 20 minutes, finishing with 18 points, nine assists, seven rebounds and two steals.
All nine of Ball’s assists came in the second half, as UCLA outscored 30-win Cincinnati 49-34 over the final 20 minutes.
“I didn’t watch him that much (this year),” Patsos said. “I watched him in high school. I know his family. It’s a show. They take a lot of threes, they’re an amazing family, all three kids play differently – he’s better than I thought. I grew up in Boston. I’m a Celtics fan. I hope they take him with that pick. I think UCLA can score. I think Alford is a competitor, and I think what happened to them last year has them focused. . . . Ball, he is better than I thought. He’s like Jason Kidd.”
Ball hopes to lead UCLA to its first Final Four since 2008 and its first national championship since 1995. Whether he does or doesn’t, Alford could be out the door. The former Hoosier has reportedly received a seven-year, $31 million offer to coach Indiana, which fired Tom Crean after nine seasons last Thursday.
Patsos didn’t have any inside information on the offer, but Alford may have a choice to make.
“I’m just glad Brad Stevens is not going to go there,” Patsos said. “As a Celtics fan, he’s been great to watch in the NBA and what he’s doing. I think Alford could probably get the job if he wants, but have you been to Westwood and Beverly Hills? It’s pretty nice out there. I like him at UCLA.”