Selection Sunday lays the blueprint for the coming battles. Contending teams wait anxiously to see who they will be tested against first, and who they may face in future weekends if they advance. Bubble teams pray quietly, hoping for an invitation to the dance. On the eve of this fantastic event and at the conclusion of the selection process, I had the opportunity to speak to a former NCAA champion. Peyton Siva has gone through it all: The two-time Big East Champion and NCAA Tournament MVP completed his college career winning a National Championship with Louisville last year. I had a chance to get his initial thoughts on this year’s tournament and their selection process, along with some of his previous college exploits.
The madness of March and the NCAA dance to crown college basketball’s champion may feature the most exciting tournament on the planet. The stakes are high and the medium is monstrous. For a lot of these kids this is a chance to prove themselves on a national stage. It’s also their opportunity to showcase their talents for scouts at the next level. For many others this will be their last hurrah: most won’t go on to be pros and this could be the last competitive basketball they ever play. The tournament stockpiles an abundant amount of hungry young talent and puts them in a win, or go home, scenario.
After winning the NCAA Title last year, Peyton Siva has gone on to the next level and is now a proud member of the Detroit Pistons. I was lucky enough to chat with him about the transition between college and the NBA, his individual game and the Seahawks’ Super Bowl. I also confirmed for all the Like Mike fans if room service is the best part of being in the NBA.
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Dime: What did you think of selection Sunday? Surprised at all with Louisville’s seeding?
Peyton Siva: Oh yeah, I definitely feel we should’ve got a two seed, if not a one. That was crazy, the only teams playing as well as us right now are Florida and Wichita St.
Dime: Any other initial thoughts on selection Sunday?
PS: I feel like Wichita St. has got a tough road ahead of them. Doing what they have done all year and to get that type of break that they did, kind of surprised me. But hey, it’s March Madness you’re going to play against good teams.
Dime: It’s early but want to take a stab at the final four?
PS: The Final Four…eh, it’s tough. I’m biased with Louisville so I’m going with them. I like Florida also, other than that it’s going to be tough for anybody. I mean you saw Florida beat Kentucky today by one, so it’s going to be crazy. I don’t think anyone will get the whole thing right.
Dime: What about a Cinderella team? Anyone out there who could surprise everyone?
PS: Hmmm, my Cinderella team. There are a bunch out there, I like Manhattan but I don’t know they are going against our team first hand so…
Dime: You’ve had a lot of success in college, you are a two-time Big East Champion and MVP. How does it compare to winning an NCAA Title?
PS: Oh it’s crazy, because winning the Big East Championship, you know you’ll play more games, it’s fun but it doesn’t compare to the big one. Getting on that national stage, that national level, to be number one of the number ones. That’s a feeling I’ll never forget.
Dime: Does the legacy of winning in college follow you to the NBA?
PS: I think it definitely follows you, so that you’re a winner, but also you definitely have to prove yourself. In the NBA there are a lot of winners, they’ve won college championships, they’ve won NBA titles, so you definitely have to prove yourself all over again. But you definitely carry that reputation with you.
Dime: What’s the difference in atmosphere between say a March Madness game and an NBA game?
PS: It’s a lot different, especially right now. There are so many NBA games, so many games that a lot of people don’t go to. Whereas college, a home game in college is the biggest thing of the week to go to that game. In the NBA you might have three or four games in a week. In college it’s just one. It’s a much crazier atmosphere in college from what I’ve experienced in the NBA so far, and I haven’t experienced a playoff atmosphere. I heard those are really crazy.