Here's why Bill Murray is rooting for Xavier
TV cameras often find key players' families in the crowd during March Madness, but TNT viewers may have been thrown for a loop on Sunday when legendary actor Bill Murray popped up on their screens supporting Xavier in their second round game against Wisconsin. Despite his long-established sports fandom, few would have expected Murray to show up to a matchup between the second-seeded Musketeers and seventh-seeded Badgers on the tournament's first weekend.
Bill Murray approves. #MarchMadness pic.twitter.com/0EJV56oHI4
— NCAA March Madness (@marchmadness) March 21, 2016
Yet there's a perfectly logical explanation for his presence — Murray's son Luke is in his first season as an assistant coach on Chris Mack's staff after several seasons spent at other schools. Our Jeff Eisenberg interviewed the younger Murray in 2010 shortly after he took his first full-time D1 assistant job at Wagner, and he explained that he was never really drawn to following in his father's footsteps:
"I was always driven by sports, particularly basketball," Luke said by phone. "That's been my life since I was a little kid. I have an older brother who didn't really think about acting or anything along those lines either. There wasn't any pressure to get involved in any of those things, and I think my dad's probably happy that we didn't."
Murray eventually followed Wagner coach Dan Hurley (another man with famous family members) to Rhode Island before joining Xavier this season. The Musketeers' fine season has brought Bill into the college basketball spotlight, including at the Big East Tournament several weeks ago:
Wisconsin was more concerned with the players on the court than the comedy legend in the stands, but ex-Badgers star Frank Kaminsky is paying some attention to Xavier's high-profile fan:
My reaction when I saw Bill Murray is a Xavier Fan pic.twitter.com/11PlcXb0q0
— Frank Kaminsky III (@FSKPart3) March 21, 2016
Unfortunately for Murray, his fandom ended in heartbreak after a late Wisconin comeback and Bronson Koenig's buzzer-beater three-pointer sent Xavier back to Cincinnati. Like everyone else, he was a little stunned:
Stunned Bill Murray is stunned pic.twitter.com/pEe01SuJjo
— CJ Fogler (@cjzero) March 21, 2016
Bill Murray looks like he just watched Garfield: The Movie.
— Ryan Nanni (@celebrityhottub) March 21, 2016
Then again, it's a safe bet Luke took the loss much harder. Here's hoping Bill had something thoughtful to whisper in his ear after the game.
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Eric Freeman is a writer for Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter!