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Tourney time is matchup time, even for coaches

Coaches set to match wits on the hardwood
Published: Mar. 16, 2021 at 6:58 PM EDT
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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) - Tournament time usually means matchup time!

Teams that don’t usually play each other during the regular season, try to find the matchups they can exploit in a one game winner take all situation...

Making all that a little more interesting are when the head coaches are familiar with each other

“It’s exciting, but frustrating at the same time because you’re playing your friend,” says Oak Ridge boys basketball coach Aaron Green. ”

That’s the situation for Oak Ridge as Wildcats coach and former Vol Aaron Green goes up against Siegel’s Dyron Birdwell, who was a manager when Aaron played at UT and coached under Green at Oak Ridge from 2011-16.

About facing his friend Birdwell says, “We went to three state tournaments and had a lot of great players. I learned a lot from him and from Oak Ridge, if not for them I’m not in this position at Siegel High School. At the end of the day it’s not about us, it’s about the players on who moves on to the Final-4.”

Coach Green adds, “As far as who you’re playing you’re still gonna scout and get familiar anyway, but the detail stuff that most coaches won’t know, he’ll know and the same for me so there’s probably a little bit of an advantage from that standpoint.”

Birdwell and Green, who’s teams both have 27 wins, square off against each other Thursday night at 8:00 pm ET. MTSU.

Speaking of Middle Tennessee, the Blue Raiders face the Lady Vols Sunday in an NCAA Women’s Tournament first round game, a game which will feature another interesting coaching matchup as Kellie Harper squares off against Middle’s Rick Insell, who used to coach her in AAU ball, “Kellie stayed at my house the whole time we were playing AAU ball. Her and Paige Redmond stayed in the back bedroom, they were my two point guards, so I have a great relationship with Kellie.”

Harper adds, “Actually I played for him in the summer many years ago. Given this much time to prepare, they’ll really have a game plan that their players will buy into.”

Let the strategizing begin!

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