Sunday, March 18, 2012

MAAC Connections: Ott and Lehigh Still In NCAA's

Before we settle in to watch the Marist women's first round NCAA tournament game, we'll take a minute to update the list of MAAC connections in this year's NCAA tournament that involves two individuals involved with some of the better upsets on the men's side.

Possibly the most-surprising upset of the men's event thus far was Patriot League member Lehigh's 75-70 victory over No. 2 seed Duke on Friday.

It pushed the Mountain Hawks into tonight's 7:45 p.m. meeting with Xavier with the winner advancing to the Sweet 16 round of the tournament.

One of Lehigh's assistant coaches is Steve Ott, who served as the director of basketball operations at Siena from 2006-08 under Fran McCaffery and, then, as a full-fledged assistant coach last season under Mitch Buonaguro.

It's a little ironic that Ott connected with McCaffery since McCaffery got his start as a head coach at Lehigh.

The Mountain Hawks' victory over Duke was the program's first in the NCAA event and only the third time a representative of the Patriot League won an NCAA tournament game.

The other upset, followed by a near-upset, was turned in by VCU where former Siena director of basketball operations Dave Matturro serves as a graduate assistant coach. Matturro succeeded Ott at Siena and was with the Saints for three seasons before moving on to VCU.

The Rams, a No. 12 seed, knocked off No. 5 Wichita State in the first round and led late in its next game, Saturday against No. 4-seeded Indiana before suffering a 63-61 defeat and elimination from the NCAA event.

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