Kevin Willard Goes Jersey as Pirates Punch Baylor for Final Four Ticket
The whole international pandemic thing that’s going down forced the 2020 March Madness to be cancelled. Or so you thought.
The NCAA is skipping this year’s tournament at all levels, but /r/CollegeBasketball has sponsored its own alternative Men’s Division I tournament: Reddit March Madness. Streamed exclusively on YouTube and executed with a college basketball video game from almost 15 years ago, this year’s March Madness is sure to be unpredictable and full of really dumb turnovers.
Nothing But Nylon is providing the exclusive* coverage of the event from the bedroom of our headquarters. Don’t miss any of the real* quotes and bone-breaking analysis that you’ll only find here because of how exclusive* this content is.
* = this means you can’t sue me
Reddit March Madness Elite Eight – 3 Seton Hall 102, 1 Baylor 92
Down 93-90 and out of a timeout, Baylor designed a great play to get the ball down to forward Freddie Gillespie right by the basket. The Second Team All-Big 12 player used a few pump fakes to get an opening and attempted the bunny.
It hit the glass, bounce of two sides of the iron, then rolled around the rim for a moment, almost sitting perfectly still, before falling off.
What would have made it a one-point game with one minute left in overtime, instead gave Seton Hall and its head coach Kevin Willard a chance to extend the lead, and they did. The Pirates didn’t look back, sending themselves to the Final Four for the first time in 31 years with a 102-92 triumph.
“People have been talking about our draw coming into this round,” Kevin Willard said on the court right after the game. “How we didn’t play anyone, so we were going to lose to big, bad, murderous Baylor. Well guess what? Seton Hall don’t give a fuck, jack, and that means Jersey ’bout to run up in ATL with some GTL, you feel?”
Kevin Willard proceeded to do the splits, and his all-spandex outfit proved the celebration was premeditated.
Premeditated has also been a word to describe Baylor head coach Scott Drew lately as he murdered Boston University in the first round and has consistently pushed for violence in his meetings with the press. When we last heard from him, he said that destruction was his end game, and he promised that would achieve it.
It turned out that was an empty threat.
“It’s like, you try to kill a few people that no one would even miss, and all of a sudden you become the worst guy on the planet,” Drew lamented, clearly trying to piece together what just happened. “I’m just trying to be me, okay? That’s who I am. That’s the real me, not the fake me you see on the sidelines usually. Deep down, I’m a serial murderer, for hire and for sport. Why can’t people just let others be themselves?”
It was then that it sunk in for Drew that the dream he had worked for all season, and in the years proceeding to build a program and roster like this, was done.
“There will be other years, but will I ever have a roster this loaded again?” he asked out loud, pacing around the room. “If not this team, then what team will it be to get me other this Final Four hump? Can I realistically do better than this team at Baylor? Shit, we only lost four times before now.”
“I’m probably never going to kill the amount of people I’ve dreamed of,” he surmised, flopping down into his chair and running his fingers through the little amount of hair he has in exasperation. “Holy hell, this is fucked.”
It would have been over sooner for Drew, though, if not for a questionable decision from Seton Hall forward Myles Cale, who committed a reach-in foul at the top of the key with 30.2 seconds left in regulation when his team led, 84-82, sending Kevin Willard into a total frenzy, kicking water bottles and snapping clipboards over his knee.
Baylor guard Davion Mitchell stepped up to the line for a high-pressure one-and-one, coolly knocking down both to knot the game at 84.
“I don’t feel pressure, man,” Mitchell said when asked about those shots. “I don’t feel anything. I’m numb. Completely numb. Help me.”
The Pirates would hold for the final shot: a contested three from Myles Powell after a terrible possession that bounced up off the rim twice, then hit the backboard once before clipping the iron one last time to fall to the ground.
But that was exactly what Seton Hall wanted. For weeks now, the Pirates have been itching to score 100 points in a game, coming extremely close in all three of their previous matchups: 94, 96 and 98. A win in regulation wouldn’t have even had them breaking 90. That wasn’t acceptable.
“Honestly, I was just sick of not getting to 100,” Powell said after the game. “We’ve been so close, it’s so frustrating. I was at the point where I wanted overtime, because it was the only way we were going to get there. My heart was skipping a beat with each of those bounces off the rim, praying it would go off. I knew we would do it if we just got five more minutes.”
And he was right. With those bonus five minutes, Seton Hall finally got over the triple-digit threshold, free throws in the last minute pushing it over the edge.
Powell didn’t have a good night, though, by his standards, only scoring 12 points on 4-of-12 shooting from the field and an ugly 2-of-9 mark from deep. Seton Hall needed to step up in his place, and that someone was senior guard Quincy McKnight.
McKnight put up a game-high 27 points on 8-of-19 shooting and a 5-of-10 clip from beyond the arc, plus four assists and four steals. It was enough to win his Player of the Game, and he said playing like that in the Elite Eight in his final season at Seton Hall was the best moment of his life.
“This is better than that one time my mom brought home like three tubs of that special chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream I really love from this local shop where I’m from,” he said. “Before this, that was probably the best moment of my life. I’d say this is better, though.
“Does anyone know if they give out ice cream at the Final Four?”
Seton Hall will take on the winner of the West Regional Final between No. 1 seed Gonzaga and No. 3 seed Michigan State (Monday at 9:45 p.m. EST). This is the first Final Four for Kevin Willard and the second-ever trip to the national semifinals for the program.
Be sure to follow along with Nothing But Nylon’s comprehensively exclusive* coverage of the 2020 Reddit March Madness.
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