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Siena coach Jimmy Patsos is one of college basketball’s great characters

Get ready to be entertained.

NCAA Basketball: Siena at Kansas Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

Jimmy Patsos, the head coach of the Siena Saints team visiting the KFC Yum Center Wednesday night, has an established reputation for being one of the biggest characters in college basketball.

If you’re looking for a deep dive on Patsos, who worked as a bartender before beginning his coaching career, this 2012 piece from The Washington Post is worth your time.

The same sheer force of personality that made Patsos one of Georgetown’s most popular bartenders, and that made him one of Williams’s top recruiters at Maryland, has served him well at Loyola. In April 2004, he took over a program that had gone 1-27 the previous season, and within three years produced a winning record. The NCAA tournament bid this year is the program’s first since 1994.

“Jimmy,” Williams said, “took one of the toughest jobs in basketball — a team that had won one game, that didn’t have a great tradition, that didn’t have great resources — and turned it around.”

Patsos said, “These are the second-best kids on each [high school] team, and that’s fine — because that’s what I’ve been all my life. We’ve been the second-best bar, the second-best program. And let me tell you: It’s better than being the 10th-best.”

If you’re looking for simply the most recent example of Patsos’ shining personality, look no further than last season’s Siena-Rider game. There may have been no 2016-17 contest more entertaining or bizarre, and a lot of that was because of Patsos.

For starters, the two teams began playing the game with a 35 second shot clock, not a 30 second one per the rule change that was instituted at the start of last season.

The two teams played a back-and-forth first half before Siena went on a 15-0 run in the opening minutes after halftime to seize a 63-49 advantage they would never relinquish.

Things got testy with 2:03 to play when a fight broke out involving Siena's Marquis Wright and Rider's Anthony Durham. Patsos and Rider coach Kevin Baggett then got into it, with Baggett ultimately attempting to walk into the Saints' huddle and having to be forcibly restrained by his assistants.

The two players were ejected from the game and the two coaches were each dealt technical fouls.

With 10 seconds remaining in the game, Baggett called a timeout where it seems as though he instructed his players to walk off the court at the end of the game without shaking hands. The Bronco players followed their orders after the horn sounded, signifying a 78-68 Siena win.

The home crowd was not too pleased.

None of this stopped Patsos from sticking to his own postgame handshake protocol.

Sometimes cool things happen in these “smaller” December non-conference games, and welcoming one of college basketball’s great characters to the Yum Center is one of those things.