MILWAUKEE — The NBA’s winningest team couldn’t stop watching as the NCAA’s biggest show — and most-hyped prospect — were pushed to the brink on Sunday afternoon.
Giannis Antetokounmpo, Pat Connaughton, Brook Lopez, Tony Snell, Bonzie Colson and a gaggle of reporters were glued to two television screens playing the final three minutes of the Duke vs. Central Florida March Madness game in the Bucks’ locker room.
As the Blue Devils and Knights — headlined by Zion Williamson and Tacko Fall — battled, Antetokounmpo jumped up and down yelling that he was excited for 7-foot-6 Fall to enter the league so that he could dunk on him. From the chair in front of his locker, Lopez said that once Fall is no longer a collegiate player, he should do a Taco Bell commercial with the “Yo Quiero Taco Bell” chihuahua.
Duke barely survived UCF in the greatest example of Madness so far this tournament, as Sunday has been a little tougher for the top seeds.
The Bucks are hoping their well-researched seat technology makes an impact with their on-court performance.
Lopez said that, in his bracket, he had picked UCF to win the game. He has a rule: either he selects Duke to win the tournament, or has them losing during the first weekend.
Antetokounmpo said that he didn’t have a rooting interest, but had chosen Gonzaga to win the title in his bracket. It was the first time that he had ever filled out a March Madness bracket.
“I don’t watch college basketball, but I watched a game earlier this season where they played against Duke,” Antetokounmpo said. “They beat Duke. They were grown ass men. Big bodies, playing physical and playing smart, so I like their team.”
Duke beat UCF in a nail-biter that left Connaughton bouncing up and down in his chair and Antetokounmpo shaking his head at missed shots down the stretch.
Moments later, it was business as usual.
Antetokounmpo spoke to reporters after the Bucks’ 127-105 victory over the Cavaliers. Antetokounmpo finished with 26 points, 10 rebounds and 7 assists. His team shot just over 55 percent from the field.
“We wanted to go there early and be able to enjoy the moments with him. Great player who deserved his jersey getting retired. He is a Hall of Famer who has been around us a lot.”
— Milwaukee Bucks (@Bucks) March 25, 2019
He also shared his appreciation for Marques Johnson, who had his jersey retired during halftime on Sunday.
“I think the whole team watched it,” Antetokounmpo said. “We wanted to enjoy those moment with him. Great player. He definitely deserves getting his jersey retired. He is a Hall of Famer who has been around us a lot.”
One reporter quipped that it might not take the Bucks quite so long to retire No. 34.