Well, just came off a disappointing loss. Didn't get off to a good start, but our kids fought back hard, and actually took the lead in the second half. We just weren't able to finish down the stretch. Gave up some plays defensively late in the ball game. We're just trying to get ready for the tournament.
Can you talk about the tournament in the sense that you've had a couple of nice runs in 2007 to the finals. Last year you won two games, got to the semis. It seems to breathe new life. Obviously, as a player, your '83 team got going with the tournament run.
Can you talk about the mindset you bring to the tournament and what it means to you?
Yeah, you know, it's a new season. It's an opportunity. I like it because it's a one-game elimination situation, which means you have to make sure that you come out and play your best. That's something that we were fortunate enough to have done when I played, and I tried to show that to our players. I tried to show them the importance of one game. It's one game and we move on. And it's one game, and then it's one game. That's what I try to give to them is that feeling of just you have one game. You give it all you have – just one game.
We've to some degree had some success going to the finals and then semifinals.
But that's just a mindset. It's a one-game elimination. Just play the right way, play as hard as you can, and let's advance to the next game.
Do you think that's something institutional at NC State? There are schools that disdain the tournament, don't like it. But even back in the '50s, Coach Case was its biggest defender and argued for it, and obviously Coach Valvano loved the tournament. Do you think it's something that's passed on from generation to generation at NC State, the love of the tournament?
I don't know. But I know there is definitely something that we enjoyed as players. We looked forward to as players. The way we saw it, it's a chance once again to win the championship in four games. So 0-0, and you have to go out there and win that first one.
If you win that first one and get by that first one, now you know what it feels like in the atmosphere and you move on. So I don't know if it was something that was passed down, but I know it was something that was definitely looked forward to by all those teams.
I know by our team, and I try to share that with our players and I show them our success that we've had in that tournament in the past. It's a great tournament. Again, it's a chance to really do something special, and that is if you can win a championship in four games. You just need to take care of that first one and move on.
Wanted to ask a follow-up on that. You mentioned the one win and you feel good and you go on. But with a situation where you have to win four games now as opposed to three in your day, is it possible? Is it likely to win four, especially when you get to the end as you had in 2007, and you're playing your fourth game against a team just playing their third game? How big a hurdle is that to overcome?
Yes, I think it's possible. It's a big hurdle, no question about it.
You know that. But I think it's possible. I think you have to have – it has to be a special time for you. You have to have a special group of guys that realize that you're there in that final game, and nothing can stop you, really.
I mean, mentally you really have to be tough. You have to be strong. But I definitely think it can be done. Now I think the other thing is that depending on how you play, your style of play can be a factor. If you're a team that might walk it down and set up plays and you execute, then you don't exert as much energy in terms of a team that really has been pushing the ball all year long.
You get your point out of your fast break and pushing the ball, or a team that traps all the time defensively, full court trapping, you might wear it down there.
So in that case you have to count on having nine guys, maybe, where you can get guys blows so you stay fresh. But I definitely think it can be done. It is a tough hurdle because in all likelihood, most of the time you're playing against a team that may have only played three games or two games up until that point. Yeah, it's a tough hurdle. But I think it can be done. I really do.