March Madness 365 podcast: Chris Beard talks about beating Kansas, Kevin Willard on the Big East
Texas Tech’s first ever win at Kansas’ Phog Allen Fieldhouse earlier in the week doesn’t mean there is suddenly a rivalry between the two schools.
Texas Tech coach Chris Beard said on the March Madness 365 podcast that the win is a big win for so many reasons because of how much he respects Kansas and its players.
“It’s not like it’s a Texas Tech-Kansas rivalry because for a rivalry to happen both sides have to do their part and we haven’t,’’ said Beard. “I would love to be talking to you each year about this game and where we could get our program to the point where we are consistent.’’
Beard discussed on the podcast his unique path to Texas Tech from being an ABA coach to an assistant coach at Texas Tech to a head coach at Little Rock to his brief acceptance at UNLV before landing in Lubbock.
He praised a number of coaches along the way who helped pave the way fro him.
Beard, who is divorced, also discussed the stress of being away from his three daughters when he was coaching in Myrtle Beach, S.C. and Little Rock. His daughters, who live in Abilene, Texas, are now within a short driving distance of their father in Lubbock.
Texas Tech is becoming one of the surprise teams in college basketball this season and proving to be one of the contenders for an upper division, top four finish in the Big 12.
“I’m proud of what we’re building, but this race doesn’t start until February,’’ said Beard. “We just trying to stay alive.’’
Meanwhile, Purdue coach Matt Painter appeared on the podcast and discussed the experience of his team as well as the team that the Boilermakers are chasing — Michigan State.
Painter said the experience on the Boilermakers is the difference. This team, that also won a Silver medal in the World University Games in Taiwan over the summer.
The Boilermakers are playing looses and appear to be having a great time.
Sometimes people, “don’t understand the more discipline you have the more fun you have,’’ Painter said. “Sometimes a young mind doesn’t equate a young mind to having fun.’’
Painter also fully endorsed future teams representing the United States in the World University Games after the Boilermakers won the silver medal in Taiwan last August. The next games are in Naples, Italy, in 2019 and teams are already lining up to be the U.S. representative. Northern Iowa and Kansas previously went wearing the USA jersey.
“It’s the best thing for a team,’’ said Painter. “I think we have more opportunities like this and a lot more games from an international standpoint (that are available).’’
Painter said traditional summer tours are good of bonding but not for playing games. The competition is too weak. But that’s not the case in the WUG. Painter said nothing on a typical foreign tour matches the intensity of these national teams.
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During the podcast, Seton Hall coach Kevin Willard said Villanova coach Jay Wright deserves credit for the success of the current Big East. And he said it has nothing to do with the Wildcats winning a national title.
He said he still remembers the first Big East meeting when the current 10 coaches got together at the Final Four before the start of their inaugural season five years ago.
Willard said Wright stood up in the room and said if the Big East is going to work, “we need to root for each other and we can’t be on the recruiting trail killing each other. Everybody has to buy in.’’
Willard said all the Big East coaches were immediately in full agreement, they can’t be nasty to each other. They had to be in this together.
“We’re really rooting for everyone now and hoping everyone is successful,’’ said Willard. “We all get along extremely well. I look back at that meeting and I don’t think if Jay stood up we would have the same comraderie we have today.’’
Willard also discussed how the Pirates have found their Metro New York niche and the chances to compete deep this season.
“We work hard and have an unselfish attitude,’’ said Willard. “I like where we’re at.’’