Gottfried: "Our Guys Have To Believe"

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

Opening Statement:
We've had some time off, and I think that's probably been very good for our team. We've played a lot of games in a short amount of time so the week off I thought came at a good time.

We're anxious to play again and get back in it on Wednesday against Virginia. Fresh minds and fresh legs is the goal at this time of the year.

Was there one area in your game you tried to focus on?
I don't think there's been just one thing.

We've put a lot of emphasis on rebounding. I think that's been an issue for our team. Offensive execution... I think defense at times has been really good and at other times it hasn't been as great.

We've tried to correct some things, and we've also given our guys some time off, which I think was needed too. We tried to get some good work in for a few days and give the guys off a few days to get them ready to go.

Cat Barber probably wasn't happy about the break. He just had two of his best games. What was he doing well?
I think he's doing everything well.

He's playing without turning the ball over, he's getting more assists, he's making three's... the list is endless. Defensively he's been very good.

Sometimes when you're hot like that you don't want to take a break, you're on a roll, but we'll see. It's where the break in the schedule came, and I think he'll be fine.

A lot of our guys like Cat are very young, it's just midway through his second year. He's improving, he's developing, and that's what you like to see... he's coming on.

Louisville scored 13 points in the first half. Is that a Virginia team that you have to play a few times to get more familiar with their system or is it still the same chore?
I don't know if that has as much to do with it. I think there are teams in our league that plays them over and over again and still can't score.

I was amazed. I told somebody last night that with three minutes to go in the game Louisville was I think still in the mid-30s. It's just part of the turf when you play Virginia.

They are a veteran team. They defend really well, and it's hard to kind of crack the code if you know what I mean.

How much different will they be without Justin Anderson?
They'll be different, but I do think their system is greater than one player. I really do. I do believe that about the way Tony coaches and the way they play.

I still think that they are a potential national championship team. I've told people that many times. This team can win it all. They can win a national championship.

I think they'll be awfully good because the system is what thrives more than one individual player.

When you played them back in January you guys actually didn't do poorly. You were up there, down one at the half, and in the game most of the way. What did you learn and are there things you can repeat?
With seven minutes to go we might have been up one and typical with Virginia they kind of grind you down and find the way to separate the score by six or eight points and that's a large hill to overcome with the way they play.

I thought there were things we did well and didn't do very good. I'm sure Tony would agree. Our guys felt like we played them very well.

They are a veteran team. My first two years here at NC State we played Virginia I think back-to-back years in the ACC Tournament. A lot of these kids playing for Virginia were younger. They were not a veteran team then. We beat them both years. What's happened now is those kids have got older, better, more seasoned. Their team is much different now because of their age.

We'll look at the tape. I've watched it a couple of times in the last couple of days. There are a few things we'll try to pick out of there, but more than anything our guys have to believe they can win the game.

Thoughts on playing Virginia at home...
I don't know. You'd like to think it helps you to be at home, but we've also lost some at home too.

When you go on the road you can sometimes rally better because it's you against everyone else.

We like to play at home. We like it. Our fans are phenomenal. Hopefully that will be a positive for us.

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