The following is an edited transcript of Brownell's press conference on at Littlejohn Coliseum on Sunday night.
Brownell: I'm really happy for our players. Those guys have worked incredibly hard since I got the job. We've improved a great deal. I'm glad the committee saw that we've been playing, as I've said, I think we've been playing like a tournament the last two months of the season, month of the season. Most nights, I think we've played very good basketball. I'm just happy that our guys get a chance to be part of a great experience again.
Play-in game thoughts
Brownell: It's part of the tournament. There are some teams. I feel bad for Virginia Tech. I've known Seth [Greenberg] awhile. I feel bad for those guys. Obviously, we're ecstatic that we were chosen to play. We know UAB is a good team. They won their league. I think that speaks more than winning the tournament. To win their conference, it speaks to the quality of their play for the season. They've obviously played well this year. They seem to be similar to us, in that they're defensive minded. They shoot a lot of 3's and make a lot of 3's, so that will certainly be a point of emphasis.
They've got a great guard that's [named] Aaron Johnson. He's got 232 assists, which, for a single person is phenomenal. He obviously makes them go. It's a very balanced team. Mike Davis does a good job. He's a good coach. I actually coached against him when I was an assistant at UNC-Wilmington. In the second round, he was at Indiana, took that team to the Final Four. That was in the second round in Sacramento after we upset Southern Cal. He did a great job with his team that year. He's won a lot of games at UAB. They've been one of the best games in that league for a while now.
Do you expect to have a sizeable rooting section in Dayton?
Brownell: I would think that we'll have a few people that have been following Clemson. I've got some texts from people like that, throughout the year. I've got some messages right now from some people that are happy that we're coming to Dayton and playing. Hopefully, they're willing to buy tickets.
I thought out win against Florida State at home was a win that showed, when we're playing well, we can be a factor and we can beat good teams. I don't know there was a point where I felt like we're a tournament team, or that nature. (Getty Images)
Brownell: I thought out win against Florida State at home was a win that showed, when we're playing well, we can be a factor and we can beat good teams. I don't know there was a point where I felt like we're a tournament team, or that nature. You have to keep playing and we had a couple of missteps. We lost a couple of games by two, had a couple of games that maybe we could of won, but didn't get done. Through the course of it, I thought we played pretty consistently most nights, and showed well late.
The highs and lows of the season
Brownell: We've had some highs and lows, but every team does. The great thing about the tournament now, we just get to keep playing. We have an opportunity to step away from the ACC and represent our conference well and see what we can do against some good teams. I know our guys will be excited to play, but I'm hopeful they'll play well. This is an unbelievably quick turnaround. The hardest part of this, being in the Tuesday game, we just got back. Now, you turn right back around and you forget these guys are students. They've got some academic things and what we have to do to plan for the week.
Then, for us to turn around with a quick prep and get ourselves where we need to get to, logistically get done all the things you need to. You just don't have a chance to take a breath. You don't get to step back and enjoy it. You've got to get right back in there are work. It's a little bit like a duck, where you look calm on the outside, but underneath you're paddling like hell. That's what we're going to be doing the next couple of days.
What was today like for you? You probably didn't too much of this bubble stuff before.
Brownell: This is my first bubble experience as an at-large. We've been in the tournament three times, waiting to see who you play. It was worrisome. Most people were reassuring me that we were in and all those kinds of things. Then, you find a couple of brackets where you're out. Then, somebody else reassures you that you're in.
We stayed the night last night. I was exhausted. My parents were still up at the tournament, so we just stayed the night and drove back. I started organizing some things with coach [Dick] Bender on the phone and my daughter got sick in the car. Now, you're just like a normal dad and you're cleaning up puke, hoping that it wouldn't be doing the same later when we didn't get in. It's been an interesting day. It was great to see that our name was called right away. It was almost a shock to see that it happened so fast. We all kind of looked at each other like, ‘I guess we're in.'