When you’re taking part in March Madness, often times it’s difficult to keep track of what is going on at the other sites around the country. When it’s your off day, you’re meeting with the media, running through shootarounds and taking part in practices while teams are being eliminated.
Case in point: UConn.
At their media availability on Friday afternoon, UConn players Shabazz Napier and Niels Giffey were asked a question about some of the higher-ranked teams across the country that have struggled this season. The reporter that asked the question casually mentioned that Duke had lost to Mercer earlier in the day.
Neither Napier or Giffey were aware of that fact.
And their reaction was great:
Question: “Shabazz, I know you’re a fan of the tournament. Just what are your thoughts, you general impressions so far as the first few days of this tournament? Louisville struggled, Duke lost. What are your thoughts as a fan of this?”
Niels Giffey: “Duke lost?”
Shabazz Napier: “Duke lost?”
Moderator: “Duke lost, yeah. To Mercer.”
SN: “Oh, wow!”
Mod: “I like your focus, you haven’t been paying attention.
NG: “No, I haven’t.”
SN: “Wow! That’s just how the tournament is. Just on any given day, Duke can lose. Louisville could have lost. Who did they play? Mercer?”
SN: “That’s a good team. Any given day, it doesn’t matter. All it takes is a good 40-minute game from one team, and you’re on to the next level. That’s why it’s called March Madness. So much madness in this tournament. You’ve got to take the best of your opportunities. Some teams don’t take the best of their opportunities that they seed, I’m a 2 seed, I’m a 1 seed and it’s a 16 seed, we’re going to blow by them.
Thoughout the whole season, you’ve seen teams losing to, you know, less than power conference teams. It’s just part of basketball. The only thing that sums it up is, what it’s called? It’s called March Madness for a reason.”
NG: “That was great.”
Yes it was, Shabazz. Yes it was.
(h/t Josh Verlin)