JACKSONVILLE, Fla.– It’s hard to write the story that Xavier has scripted for itself in this year’s NCAA Tournament.
With their 75-67 win over Georgia State here on Saturday, the No. 6 Musketeers advanced to face No. 2 Arizona on Thursday in the Sweet 16 in Los Angeles.
Arizona, of course, is led by former Xavier head coach Sean Miller, and the Wildcats earlier beat Ohio State and another former Xavier head coach in Thad Matta, 73-58.
“As far as playing Sean, it’s really tough,” Mack said. “But Sean gave me a heck of an opportunity to come back to my alma mater. He put a lot of responsibility and trust in me.”
Miller led Xavier to the Sweet 16 in 2008, and the Elite Eight in 2009. Mack was an assistant to Miller, who was an assistant to Matta.
Mack said that under Miller’s guidance, he has become the coach he is today.
“He ultimately really pushed for me to become the head coach [at Xavier], and for that I’m eternally grateful,” Mack said. “It’s hard to play against one of your best friends in the business. But it really won’t matter to our guys, nor will it matter to Arizona, because they don’t know me from a bucket of paint.”
Xavier shot 81.3 percent from the field in the second half in the win over the Panthers, led by Jalen Reynolds, who went 8-9 from the field and scored 21 points.
PHOTO- Fox Sports