Gottfried: "It's A Big Day"

RALEIGH, N.C. -- Mark Gottfried talks with the media with the Wolfpack preparing to play North Carolina.

"For us, it's a big day. I think it's a significant game for a lot of reasons."

"I think we're playing against a team that is playing very well right now. I think they've really improved a lot and got better since the first time we played."

"I think it's going to be a heck of a day. We're excited about heading to Chapel Hill on Saturday."

"I don't know their team like they do, but I think they are a more confident team. YOu've got an additional potential scorer on the floor. You've got somebody that can stretch the defense and make more three's. [Hairston] in the lineup makes them more confident."

"I think playing at home, it will even be more, in that regard, for them. I think they are playing really well."

"We're a team that is getting better. We're a team that is learning and figuring out how we need to play."

"We need to be a better rebounding team, and T.J. gave us some of that the other day... we do need him to rebound. We need all our guys to rebound."

"I think you've got two guys somewhat on the upswing getting ready to play."

"I don't really look at it as an advantage over them because they might out-rebound us, but I do feel like we can be a good rebounding team, regardless of who we play."

"There are times with our team where we assume or bank on the fact that Richard is going to get the rebound and we get out wanting to fill the lanes and run the floor. I think at times that has hurt us some. Calvin needs to rebound more, T.J., Scoot Wood needs to get involved more, Lorenzo... all of them, our whole team."

"It was part of why I made the decision to change our lineup. I've felt like our rebounding hasn't been nearly as good as it should be. Hopefully that is something we can continue to get better at. I think it effects a lot of what we want to do."

"When we rebound really well, we run really well. When we're not rebounding the ball we don't get out and run very well, which effects how we play."

"I don't see North Carolina trying to slow the game down, and I don't think that we're a team that really wants to either. In the first game, there were a couple of stretches where there wasn't a deadball. It was just up-and-down, up-and-down... I looked out there a couple of times and there were ten guys on the floor, exhausted."

"I would anticipate that same type of game on Saturday."

"Here's where it's hard for us a little bit. Even with Calvin, he traditionally, like most forwards, they are running to the basket trying to find a post player. Now you're running to the wing or you have to find someone quickly because they'll shoot it quick and make it quick. I think that becomes a factor."

"In the halfcourt, a player like Hairston pulls one more player away from the basket. It pulls a good rebounder like Calvin away from the basket because you have to guard him on the three-point line."

"When North Carolina runs some of their side ball-screens, you can't just stand in the paint and wait for the guy to roll to you because now you're going to guard the three-point line."

"There are a lot of things that makes it a lot more challenging."

"They are certainly playing differently, but I think we are too. You have two teams on the upswing with how they are playing right now."

"We're always trying to learn our team and make changes and try to figure out how you can become the best you can be at the end, I think they are real comfortable with Hairston in the lineup now. It's really been good for them."

"I think we feel good about how we played the other night after we made a lineup change."

"We talked about some of the history and the fact that North Carolina, quite honestly, has dominated this series for a long time. Our players have a chance to do something that hasn't been done very often here. It just says where we are and where we're trying to get to more than anything else."

"Most players, not just freshmen, do feel more comfortable at home, but you have to be really good on the road to be a good player and good team."

"I had already told myself that if that game with Florida State had gone down to the wire we were doubling Michael Snaer."

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