Mutual Respect

Andy Kennedy sat surrounded inside the bowels of the basketball practice facility Monday.

Various reporters were interested in his thoughts on Texas Tech, Ole Miss' upcoming opponent in the quarterfinals of the National Invitation Tournament the following day. Kennedy, as always, was willing to provide some input.

The fourth-year head coach quickly addressed his long-standing relationship with Red Raider head coach Pat Knight. The two met through a mutual acquaintance years before, and have shared a common respect for quite some time.

However, Kennedy doesn't know Bob, a college basketball legend and Pat's father, all that well. He even admitted as much. Pat's his own man, according to Kennedy, though the footprints of a family coaching tree are apparent in Texas Tech's style of play.

The Red Raiders offer a pressure, man-to-man defense and average 76.4 points per game on the other end. Their record, a pedestrian 19-15 overall, isn't indicative of a team with previous NIT wins over Seton Hall and Jacksonville.

But Monday was less about potential matchups or keys to victory. Kennedy, instead, focused on an Ole Miss squad who's reeled off six wins in seven tries. He mentioned the finality of losing, and what a trip to New York for the final four could mean for Ole Miss moving forward.

Overall, it was a casual sit-down, with no talk surrounding a disappointing season or lack of program momentum. Rather, it was a relaxed environment. Laughs and discussions of NCAA Tournament expansion were shared.

And Kennedy, the cool customer he is, wouldn't have it any other way.

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