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It is the first Final Four for BYU, but head coach Tom Riddle is also coaching in his first Final Four. He played in one, though, and that helps.

Tom Riddle Takes in First Final Four of Coaching Career

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

Tom Riddle Takes in the First Final Four Run of His Coaching Career

Tom Riddle left Utah Valley to become the head coach of BYU in the summer of 2019, replacing Dave Rose after his 14 years in Provo.

In one season, Riddle took the Cougars to their most WCC wins and best finish in the conference since 2015, got them back into the NCAA Tournament via Reddit March Madness for the first time in five years, too. It only continued to go up from there, getting BYU to its first Sweet 16 since 2011, first Elite Eight since 1981, and Final Four since, well, ever.

“It’s an incredible thing,” Riddle told me. “It continues to blow me away every day. I never thought I would be this close to eradicating the muggle problem, but here we are, not even one year into me pulling the strings.”

The four teams participating in the Reddit March Madness Final Four met with schoolchildren in Atlanta, the site of the event, to give back.
The Dark Lord reads a book to children in Cleveland Avenue Elementary School in Atlanta to give back to the community he largely despises.

Tom Riddle has been the center of some controversy surrounding string pulling. Twice, scheduling delays have impacted, and seemed to benefit, his Cougars, and there have been some credible accusations levied against him and BYU for misconduct, particularly from my anonymous source from inside BYU Athletics, Deep Stroke.

But Riddle said he isn’t letting any of that get to him. He’s living in the moment, and in this moment, he’s coaching in the Final Four. It’s not only BYU’s first trip to the national semifinals; it’s Riddle’s inaugural rodeo, too.

“You always dream about getting to a point like this when you’re drafting plans for how to eliminate an entire subset of the population from existence,” Riddle explained. “It’s not until you’re actually here, standing in Atlanta and feeling the energy around you, that you realize it can be real and not just a fantasy.”

Riddle has played in the Final Four, though. Before he was The Dark Lord, Tom Riddle was a student and player at Kentucky, and in 1996, he was part of the national champion Wildcats. That experience, though different from manning the sidelines, will help him as a coach in the Final Four, he said.

“I have a better idea of what to expect, and I can impart that on my guys,” Riddle said. “They’ve spent years wanting to do something about the muggle problem, but they’ve never been in position to really make the kind of difference they’re making now. I already have, so I know how to help them transition into understanding that this is the big time, and that lives are at stake. We can’t afford to let them slip away into continued existence.”

The NBN x RMM Final Four logo, available on shirts with some of the proceeds going to the basketball community affected by COVID-19.

His BYU team will play No. 6 seed West Virginia, one of the other surprise members of the Final Four, for the right to participate in the national championship.Tom Riddle said his staff has been doing its due diligence on the Mountaineers and that they feel comfortable with the task at hand.

“After having seen the film and knowing what Huggins is about, we’re pretty confident that they’re a bunch of muggles,” the coach said. “You know how I feel about muggles. I’m not too worried.”

If BYU did beat West Virginia, it could create a familiar matchup for the whole enchilada. Gonzaga, an arch nemesis of BYU’s in the WCC, is on the other side of the Final Four, and a rematch would be the third meeting between the teams this season.

The teams split the games in the regular season, with Gonzaga comfortably taking the battle in Spokane on Jan. 18, 92-69, but the Cougars responded in kind later in the season, knocking the Zags down a peg, 91-78, in Provo on Feb. 22. A rubber match for the national championship would be almost too perfect.

“Of course we want to set ourselves apart from Gonzaga,” Tom Riddle admitted. “We hate those guys. If we could play them in the national championship, it would add a lot of fuel to a game that would already have a lot of energy around it. It would elevate the status of the game even further, giving me that much greater promotion for my message of ending muggle tyranny. With that platform, there is no way I could be stopped. Death to all muggles.”

Be sure to follow along with Nothing But Nylon’s comprehensively exclusive* coverage of the 2020 Reddit March Madness.

reddit march madness shirts

Part of the proceeds from the sale of each #RedditMarchMadness t-shirt will go toward helping those in the basketball community affected by COVID-19. We will be partnering with non-profits like the Give and Go Foundation on the effort. If you know of a worthy group that could use some extra funds, please reach out.

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