Pack Must Bounce Back

RALEIGH, N.C. -- NC State suffered a loss that no team wants to experience... one that can potentially carry over to the next game.

An overtime loss to a rival on a last-second shot can't be easy to take, but Mark Gottfried feels he has the Wolfpack moving forward.

"It's a life lesson," said Gottfried. "Tough, emotional loss, but it's our responsibility. We can control how mentally ready we are to play on Saturday. That's up to us, and it's been our focus.

"There is no sense in us pouting, putting our head down. The job that we have is to have phenomenal energy."

Next up for the Wolfpack is a home game against Miami, a squad that is coming a 25-point defeat at Virginia on Wednesday night. The Canes, who check in at 14-14 overall and 5-10 in league play, are led by senior guard Rion Brown.

Miami's leading scorer (14.9 ppg) and rebounder (6.2 rpg), Brown can beat teams off the dribble or behind the three-point line.

"He's a great shooter," Gottfried said of Brown. "He's a confident player and I think this time of the year as an upperclassmen he's been aggressive too.

"He's somebody for us that's a high priority, as far as containing him and not letting him get going."

The two teams met earlier in the season, with NC State winning 56-55 at Miami.

"We know them, and they know us," said Gottfried. "We watched the tape from the first game and tried to pick out some things we may have been good at, not so good at. They are doing the same thing.

"This will be an interesting game."

Gottfried knows his team must be ready to attack Miami's zone defense, a scheme that is geared towards slowing down the game.

"We'll see some against Miami," he stated. "They'll play some man and some zone, but I think our guys will be ready either way.

"Our guys have grown in their confidence with our perimeter shooting, attacking the zones, getting the ball inside against the zones, working it inside-out."

With three regular season games remaining, this is a huge contest for the Wolfpack. Their chances seem slim, but the obvious goal is to play in the Big Dance.

"We want to play in the NCAA Tournament," Gottfried stated. "It's not something I'll be shy about. That's the goal... to get into the tournament and once you're in, anything can happen. We want to win a national championship here.

"That's something we want. We're going to play every game and compete as hard as we can and see where it ends up."

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