By Tim Graham
Hey, Buffalo. Meet your new favorite college basketball coach.
He's Jay Wright from Villanova, and he loves your town.
Wright this afternoon reminisced about his first time in Buffalo, where his 14th-seeded Hofstra squad faced third-seeded Oklahoma State in the 2000 NCAA tournament.
"We got hammered," Wright said. "We were happy to be here. We got hammered, and we got hammered after the game.
"We were so happy to be here."
Hofstra returned to the NCAA tournament again in 2001, helping Wright get the Villanova job that spring.
Villanova has gone to the tourney nine of the past 10 years, but Buffalo will always hold a special place in Wright's heart.
"My wife and I were riding over on the bus yesterday, and it was the exact same snowy, lake-effect day," Wright said. "It was St. Patrick's Day. We got hammered in this building by Oklahoma State. ... I heard Doug Gottlieb talking on TV yesterday about somebody's shooting. He couldn't make a foul shot in that game.
"We had Speedy Claxton at Hofstra. He was a great guard. They were big and physical. They had a two guard [Norm Richardson] who went to the NBA. He came off a ball screen early and ran over to me at the bench and his finger was [dislocated]. I was, like, 'Oh, we're dead now.' They re-set it, but they hammered us.
"I think Bobby Knight played his last game with Indiana here, too, that same night. It was amazing."