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March 16, 2014

Manhattan's Masiello not pleased with pairing

When the Midwest region bracket was announced on CBS Sunday evening, Wichita State coach Gregg Marshall was likely upset with his team's tough bracket. But no coach had a bigger gripe than Manhattan's Steve Masiello.

The Jaspers coach has a 25 win team that could have made some noise in the NCAA Tournament, but they were paired with Masiello's old boss, Rick Pitino and the woefully under-seeded Louisville Cardinals, the defending national champions.

"I don't know if I would call it special," Masiello told SB Nation when he was asked if playing Louisville was special for him. "I wasn't very happy about it that's for sure. They are playing as good as anyone in the country right now. I thought they might be in line for that other 1 seed, if not that then definitely a 2 seed.

"I have no idea how they could possibly be a 4 seed. It is one of the biggest shocks I have ever seen since I have been in college basketball."

He had hoped to catch a team unfamiliar with his system of defense off guard. That won't be the case with Louisville.

"Louisville poses a lot of matchup issues for us in a variety of ways," Masiello said. "Besides the obvious of them being a terrific team with a Hall of Fame coach in Rick Pitino, their style is tough. One of our biggest strengths is that our style is that not very many teams are familiar with it. The problem with this matchup is that Louisville plays a very similar style so they know our style very well."

"Do I know Russ Smith a little better than the next guy? Yeah. Do I know Wayne Blackshear better than other coaches? Yeah, maybe. But I don't know if that really matters because they are so good at what they do that they are so hard to stop."

Despite his frustration of being matched up with his old boss, Masiello believes he has a team that is playing very good basketball right now.

"We have been doing a good job of making teams play on our terms," Masiello said. "We are coming in with a defensive mindset of trying to take away what you do well and not letting you go to that. We want you to go to your Plan B or C, and not let you come at us with your A Game."

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