Q&A with Yale men’s basketball coach James Jones

James Jones is about to coach his fifth NCAA Tournament game. (James Jones’s Twitter page)

Yale men’s basketball coach James Jones is preparing to coach his fifth NCAA Tournament game after his team won the Ivy League Tournament in dramatic fashion Monday.

Yale’s Big Dance foe this time around is Auburn, with Yale allotted a No. 13 seed in the East Region and playing in Spokane, Wash.

Jones sat down with Ivy Hoops Online Tuesday in advance of its last practice in New Haven before departing on an NCAA charter flight. The Bulldogs, like all NCAA Tournament teams, were allotted 350 tickets and expect to have many fans present from Los Angeles and the Pacific Northwest Yale Club. Yale played in Spokane in November at Gonzaga, losing 86-71.

Ivy Hoops Online: What do you think about playing in Spokane?

James Jones: If I was going to Brooklyn, we would know our plan. [As of now] we don’t even know our flight time tomorrow.

IHO: What do you think of this Auburn team?

JJ: They are big, strong and talented. [Coach] Bruce Pearl does a lot of great things. Sometimes teams like this just throw the ball out. That is not the case here. We played them a couple of years ago [Auburn won, 86-64, in December 2021] and they had Jabari Smith [Jr., now a Houston Rocket] and a lot of big guys off the bench. We were undersized then and exploited, playing a 6-5 guy in the post. Not sure how many NBA guys they have now.

IHO: How is this Yale team different from your previous NCAA teams?

JJ: It’s hard to put in words what separates them from our other NCAA teams. We are really well-balanced. We’re very versatile. Matt Knowling is the forgotten man. He is awesome.