Saturday's West Regional Final between Oklahoma and Oregon will be a reunion of coaches that's been three decades in the making. In 1986 new Kansas State head coach Lon Kruger hired Dana Altman to be an assistant on his first Wildcat staff. Now 30 years later, Kruger is the head coach at Oklahoma and Altman the head coach at Oregon. They'll meet on Saturday at 5:09 for a spot in the Final Four.
They've stayed great friends ever since and avoided ever having to coach against each other, until now.
Kruger: "We talk all the time so certainly when opportunities have come up we have bounced different things off each other. Me off of him and maybe him occasionally off of me. In the business you've got a handful of coaches that are best friends and certainly Dana is one of them, without question."
Altman: "We spent a lot time in the film room and he's got an unbelievable basketball mind. He would see things during a game and say something and I would nod my head like I knew what he was talking about and run to the film room and see if I could see it."
Altman has seen plenty of film on Oklahoma, and he's impressed. For the Sooners their veteran lineup is poised on the brink of the Final Four, and they believe the experience and chemistry from years of playing together will pay off when it counts.
Hield: "Just having team chemistry and I always hear the stat line we've started over a hundred games. We've played a lot together, we've spent a lot of time together so we should know each other and what we're capable of doing. It's the trust that we have on the court to help carry us through."
Spangler: "It means a lot. We've worked hard. Like I said we've been through ups and downs but I've also seen how hard we've worked and now it's starting to pay off.
Oklahoma will be playing for their fifth trip to a Final Four in school history, Oregon for just their second, and their first since the very first NCAA Final Four in 1939, when they beat Oklahoma in the semifinals in on their way to the national championship