Gottfried: Pack Must Keep Winning Games

NC State head coach Mark Gottfried fielded questions from the media on his weekly teleconference.

Opening Statement:
Well, we've got a very difficult game for us on Thursday night. Georgia Tech came into Raleigh and beat us, and I've got a lot of respect for how they have played.

Even though their record may not be great, I think that they have done an excellent job. So we've got our hands full.

Richard Howell has really put on some strong games on the board. Can you talk about his maturity? He still has a little foul trouble, but other than that, he seems to be really developing as an inside force.
He's done a terrific job rebounding this year. He's been consistent. He's not one of the taller players on the floor. But he uses his body and he's had phenomenal effort. I think he's just had a very good year as a junior.

Coach, the first time you played Georgia Tech, what are the things that stand out that perhaps you'd like to change for the coming game? Was there anything they did in particular that you'll be more concentrated on this time?
I think there were two things. I think one they made a lot of shots. We did not defend them well. They made some open shots and they also made a lot of tough shots.

Then on our end of the floor, I thought we executed as poorly as we have in a long time. We mishandled the ball. Dribbled it out of bounds, we bobbled passes so the combination of those two things spelled for a bad day for us.

How do you think they progressed since then and your team may be different from the first time you played?
I think we're better than we were then. But I think they are too. I've watched them on tape. But I do think that we have improved in a lot of areas, so hopefully we'll play better.

How encouraging was it to play Lorenzo Brown the other day going into this game?
Very encouraging.

He had a bounce in his step, which is what our team needs. His energy was higher, and he played much better. We're like any team. When your better players play well, you're a much better team, and he did that against Wake.

You're here, it's the first week of February and N.C. State is pretty much regarded as a bubble team. Do you think about that or look at anything in terms of what you need to do to get in that NCAA field?
Well, you always do. Anybody that tells you they don't, they're lying.

You always do. But that cannot be our emphasis every day. Our emphasis has to be on the next opponent and how are we going to play well in this one game.

But as a big picture, I think it's natural, and hopefully we can do well down the stretch.

As a guy that was a commentator last year, if you were standing on the outside looking at N.C. State right now, what would you say is their strongest thing and what would you say you have to do to make the image better?
Well, we played a great schedule in the non-league, which was good.

Obviously you have to keep winning games. It's fun for the commentators to talk about who is going to get in the tournament in the second week of February. But the way to get in the tournament is to win games. Everybody that's in the tournament every year, they've played their way in. They've earned the right. So that's what we have to do.

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