For the first time since 2007, the Ole Miss women’s basketball team is heading to the Sweet 16.
Though most college basketball fans were surprised by the 8-seed Lady Rebels making it this far, the husband of Ole Miss head coach Yolett McPhee-McCuin, Kelly McCuin, was one of the few who hasn’t been surprised by the team’s success.
“For me personally, it was surreal, but it wasn’t surprising,” McCuin said on Good Things with Rebecca Turner. “Seeing everything coming to fruition and having a chance to beat a team like Stanford. They’re a phenomenal team, phenomenal program, with an awesome coaching staff and awesome players. To do it on that big stage and in their house, it was awesome.”
Leading up to a big game, every coach has a ritual or series of them. McCuin says his wife, known by many as simply “Coach Yo,” temporarily detaches from everyday life and focuses solely on her team’s next basketball game in order to be thoroughly prepared.
In the meantime, McCuin looks to be a supportive spouse by ensuring that all non-basketball related needs his family may have are met.
“She goes into this hibernation mode. She separates herself just to get really focused and she starts to do her thing,” McCuin said. “She has it down pat of what she needs to do. For me, I just make sure that everything else outside of basketball is taken care of so she doesn’t have to think about it.”
As for the Lady Rebels’ upcoming match against 5-seed Louisville, McCuin is confident that his wife’s team is entirely dialed in and ready to make Mississippi proud with a hopeful advancement to the Elite Eight. He also believes the roster’s experience will give them an edge in the Sweet 16 matchup.
“I think we only have one player on the team that this is their first time going to an NCAA Tournament, and that’s because she’s a true freshman. Everybody that was here last year had a chance to experience and understand what they needed to do to prepare,” McCuin added. “This is the most connected I’ve seen them ever. This is nothing new to them because of last year’s experience.”
Ole Miss will square off against the Cardinals Friday night at 9 p.m. CT in Seattle. For more information on how to watch or listen to the game, click here.
Watch the full interview with McCuin below: