Gottfried: Great Opportunity for Pack

RALEIGH, N.C. -- NC State head coach Mark Gottfried met with the media to discuss the upcoming game against Florida State.

Mark Gottfried

Opening Statement:
Saturday is a big day for us. We've got a great opportunity. We've put ourselves in a position winning the last six out of seven where we can help ourselves.

Florida State is going to be confident after last night's win. I think that it's difficult to play a team twice in a short amount of time, but we're in that position. I think it should be a heck of a day Saturday.

Do you talk with your team about the ACC standings, seedings, etc...?
I usually don't talk too much about it. I think the most important thing is we want to be the best team we can be regardless of any circumstances. I think it's definitive that if in fact we win, then we don't have to play on Thursday. However it shakes out, we'll handle it and deal with it, but our guys are aware of it.

There are a lot of ways to look at it. Last year we played on Thursday and it didn't hurt us, might have helped us. Who knows? If your goal is to win the ACC championship, obviously you want to play the least amount of games needed to do that. However it plays itself out, we will be ready, regardless.

Thoughts on defensive improvements:
We are more alert. Our feet are moving quicker. We are in a stance better. Our hands are more active.

There have been stretches this year where we haven't been nearly as active defensively, and that's my job. That's my responsibility.

I do think we've improved there. We've learned who we are playing at what positions better. There was a stretch when I was asking Rodney to guard the opponent's best perimeter player and that's a tall order for a freshman.

I think we are getting better, we are improving. You want your team to improve as the season goes on.

Thoughts on FSU senior Michael Snaer and his late-game heroics:
Michael Snaer is an unbelievably clutch player. I don't know in college basketball if we've seen one player make that many game-winning shots. That's amazing.

I've said it before, if it's a close game and they've got the ball, we'll double him, triple him, might put four on him, might put all five... I'll go guard him. We'll all go guard him. It's hard to watch that guy continue to do it. If we're in that situation, we'll do everything in our power to make sure he doesn't get to shoot.

More on ACC Tournament thoughts:
If we win, we definitely will play on Friday. That's a definite. Regardless of if it's this game, last game, at Georgia Tech... they need to understand the ramifications of what happens.

Thoughts on State's rebounding advantage over FSU in the first matchup:
We were able to rebound the ball really well on both ends of the floor in that game. Our defensive rebounding was solid and then we had 21 offensive rebounds. It's going to be a lot more difficult to do that in Tallahassee.

For us that still has to be a point of emphasis. We have to rebound the ball really well.

Is Lorenzo Brown healthy?
I still don't think he's 100%. He's still dealing with it, but I've also said I'm not sure he'll be 100%.

How does Brown impact your defense?
We're different with him. He's one of those unique players who can get a deflection at the right time or a steal at the right time... if he's back as your safety in the fastbreak he can block a shot or alter a shot with his size.

There's so many things he does defensively that helps us. When he's healthy and playing at a high level that's been a key for us as well.

Thoughts on team's confidence level:
I think our players feel more confident right now. I think they feel they are playing well. I still feel like the ceiling for us to get better is high.

I do think our players feel like we're really beginning to get better. We're now starting to play and improve and you want to see that at this time of the year.

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