SFA coach Kyle Keller: 'Our guys didn't even know who those cats were'

Stephen F. Austin coach Kyle Keller believes that some of his players had no idea whom they were facing in the first round of the NCAA tournament on Thursday because they -- and other millennials -- are spending too much time on their phones and are not watching basketball.

"[Millennials] don't even watch college basketball," Keller said after the Lumberjacks' 70-60 loss to Texas Tech on Thursday night, according to USA Today Sports. "A lot of our guys didn't even know who those cats were [on Texas Tech's roster] because they don't watch the game. They're on their phone and doing that kind of stuff."

In his second season, Keller was trying to lead SFA (28-7), the Southland Conference tournament champion, to an upset of a Big 12 opponent in an NCAA opener for the second time in three seasons. The Lumberjacks beat West Virginia in their last tournament appearance two years ago before losing to Notre Dame.

Keller, 50, thinks that the generation described as millennials -- born into the early 2000s -- barely watches basketball in general, but it's not going to stop him from trying to understand his players or get through to them.

"I hate to say it, but as much as you or I or anybody in here watches the games, they don't," Keller said. " Or the NBA. They might watch the slam-dunk contest in February on TNT or whatever, but that's about the extent of it. ...

"If I don't read it and study it and learn and try to figure these kids out, I have no chance to coach. ... You have to adjust. You'd better learn to give and some take with these kids, I think."

Keller on Friday sought to clarify his remark when it was construed that he was angry with his players or today's generation of players.

"I used millennials as an example of how life has changed since I was raised," Keller told ESPN's Jeff Goodman. "Our players knew the scouting report inside and out. They knew Texas Tech's personnel, but what I was saying is that during the season kids aren't watching games like they used to. They are on their phones now.

"I'm not mad at my players, I don't blame them."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.