When Clemson and SMU meet in Madison Square Garden for semifinal No. 1 at the NIT, Brownell believes K.J. McDaniels, Rod Hall, Nic Moore and Markus Kennedy will have more to say than their respective head coaches.
"I think everyone makes too much out of it. It's not me against Larry Brown, neither one of us are playing," Brownell said. "It's our team against his team. The players will decide the game.
"Certainly, the same thing with [Belmont head coach] Rick Byrd, you enjoy coaching against people that you respect."
Brownell and Brown first bumped into each other while out recruiting on the AAU circuit.
"I've met him before, met him out recruiting last summer, saw him -- he's a friend of Mark Turgeon, obviously Mark having played for him, so sat with him for a game one time, following a Texas team," Brownell said.
For Brownell, who's in his 12th season as a head coach, when it comes to matching wits with the opposing head coach, he gets more pleasure out of the process than the games.
"As much as maybe coaching the game, for me, I enjoy watching the films leading up to the game, to watch how they organize their team, watch what they run in certain situations, just learning a little more about his coach that way, by watching his teams play five or six times on film," he said. "I take as much from that as I do the actual like -- Rick Byrd is down there, Larry Brown is down there.
"But, certainly, coach Brown is one of the legends of our game. He's in the Hall of Fame."
And Brownell is very impressed by what Brown has accomplished during his first two seasons at SMU.
"He's done a fantastic job down at SMU. He's recharged that program, have good players, a talented group that could have been in the NCAA Tournament," Brownell said. "I think it says as much about anything with what they're doing there…frustration of not getting into the NCAA Tournament hasn't affected them.
"They've gone right into the NIT, played well, beaten some good opponents and played at a high level. That speaks to the quality of coaching and character of their players."
Jimmys and Joes, not X's and O's
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