Title game no prank for friends and rivals Williams, Few

Roy Williams is hoping that Mondays national championship game against Gonzaga goes better than a prank he tried to play on Bulldogs coach Mark Few in 2009

Joe Camporeale—USA Today Sports
Gonzaga coach Mark Few addresses the media during Sunday's pre-championship game press conferenceat University of Phoenix Stadium

PHOENIX — Roy Williams hopes to get the best of his friend Mark Few on Monday when their teams play one another at University of Phoenix Stadium with college basketball’s national championship on the line. It won’t be the first time he’s tried. Williams actually did come out on top the last time the two coaches were together at the same NCAA tournament site, in Memphis in 2009 when the Tar Heels beat Gonzaga in the Sweet 16 on the way to their 2009 national title. But it was a prank Williams tried to play on Few during the drive back to Memphis from a late-night gambling junket to Tunica, Miss. that stands out in both coaches’ memories. It’s an experience Few recounted Sunday during a pre-championship game press conference. “Our staff talked and we said ‘Hey, we’ve got nothing going,’ let’s have meetings and films and let the kids go to bed and then lets rally down in Tunica,” Few said. “I think we had six, seven guys in a Ford Fiesta and I think Roy had the same. We rallied down there. “We got to our table all to ourselves and we played craps. It was awesome. We all got our butts handed to us and lost some money, but we had some fun.” The real fun, however, came in the wee hours of the morning when the coaches began the 35-mile trip back into Tennessee — where their teams were scheduled to play two days later. It began when the car being driven by Williams saw those ominous blue lights flashing in the rearview mirror. “We’re coming back and I get pulled over by a patrolman,” Williams said Monday during the NCAA’s Final Four coaches conference call. “I guess I didn’t realize I had the NCAA courtesy car with logos all over it. The patrolman says, ‘It’s just surprising to see that car on the road this time of night, just slow down a bit.’ “I told him, ‘I appreciate it and that Mark Few from Gonzaga is about 10 minutes behind me. Can you pull him over and scare him to death like you did with me?'” It was a great gag if it would have worked. The problem is that, to Williams’ disappointment, either the Mississippi state trooper wasn’t as vigilant when Few’s car came by or he was too busy with another call to participate in the fun and frivolity. “He came running up to my assistants the next day and said ‘Did you, did you?’ Few said of Williams. “My assistant was looking at him like, what are you talking about? “We skated through there, lucky. It’s a great story, though, and it just shows you what a good guy (Williams) is.” As nice as he is and as close as Williams and Few have been over the years, there won’t be any love lost over the 40 minutes the Tar Heels and Bulldogs will be battling it out on the court Monday.”Mark does a great job with his team,” Williams said. “He’s so thorough and so organized. “I think what’s going to be the outcome of the game (Monday) night is who plays the best. And if we make fewer mistakes and make a few more shots and they make a few more mistakes and make a few less shots, I think that will be the difference. … When the game starts, my guys have got to play against his guys.”