Tonight’s second game of the First Four between Middle Tennessee State and St. Mary’s College will mark the first ever meeting between the two schools, but it also will be a reunion.
MTSU coach Kermit Davis and SMC’s Randy Bennett were on Tim Floyd’s staff at the University of Idaho from 1986-88, along with another future head coach in Larry Eustachy.
Davis was an assistant, and Bennett was the graduate assistant.
“Randy was a bad dresser back then,” Davis joked during Monday’s press conference. “I said, ‘Randy, you’ve got to get some better slacks.’ He comes to the first game, and he bought some slacks. He went to some store and bought them, but he didn’t have them hemmed. I looked down, and he had stapled the bottom of his pants.
“He’s come a long way,” Davis continued. “I’m sure his suits are probably a lot more expensive than mine.”
Bennett said he remembers those days fondly.
“I know I was doing all the gofer work and running around,” he said. “I was pretty naive to the whole deal back then. Kermit was great to me. They all were. Kermit was kind of like the second assistant, so he kind of looked after me, and he was the guy that I would usually go to with the questions. So I learned a lot those two years.”
Bennett is in his 11th season at St. Mary’s with a record of 235-117. Davis is in his 11th season at MTSU, where he is 208-138. This is his 18th season overall, with a record of 345-213.
Prior to tonight’s games, the four teams who will be playing Wednesday will hold practices that are free and open to the public.
Long Island Brooklyn will go first from 12:05-12:45, followed by James Madison (12:50-1:30), La Salle (1:35 to 2:15) and Boise State (2:20 to 3).
On Thursday, the top-seeded Indiana Hoosiers, No. 2 Ohio State Buckeyes and the six other teams competing in Friday’s second round will hold their open practices.
The Thursday schedule begins with Temple from noon-12:40 p.m., followed by the LIU Brooklyn/James Madison winner (12:45-1:25), North Carolina State (1:30-2:10), Indiana (2:15-2:55), Ohio State (4:25-5:05), Notre Dame (5:10-5:50), Iona (5:55-6:35) and Iowa State (6:40-7:20).