Gottfried: "We Have A Big Challenge"

NC State's Mark Gottfried fielded questions from the media on the weekly ACC teleconference.

Opening Statement:
We have a big challenge obviously at Clemson. They've beat us once already so we have great respect for them.

It's going to be a difficult game. Our guys are excited about it, and I'm sure they want to bounce back after the other day at Boston College.

Again, I think our guys are going to be pretty excited about playing.

Can you talk about your strength of schedule?
Well, it's something that we try to do strategically.

We look to play teams in December, even from the mid-major conferences, that we think are all going to have great records, with a lot of players returning, those types of things. Nobody has a crystal ball, trust me on that one, but we try to project everybody that we play that hopefully they are going to be really good and have good records.

I do it for a couple of reasons. No. 1, obviously you get to this time of year and it's good for the RPI, but I also think those teams make you better. They prepare you better for how tough our league is.

I've said it many times, sometimes your record may not be as glamorous as some other people, but I do think it's the way to go to prepare your team to be the best you can be.

When you see a team like Boise State make a run at the NCAA Tournament, how does that feel? You're competing with them for a spot, but it also strengthens your schedule.
They are a team that, as soon as the game was over, I told our team that they were going to win a lot of games this year. The same with Louisiana Tech. The same with Richmond. I watched Richmond beat VCU twice this year. The same with Wofford. The same with Purdue. The same with West Virginia. They are going to win a lot of games.

We knew it with Boise. They've done a remarkable job because I think they lost their best or second-best player about 15 games ago, and they've just been amazing.

We knew it ahead of time. We knew when we scheduled the game that they were going to be really good. I realize a lot of times in December most people don't get that. They don't look at your schedule and say, "Goody, they are playing Boise State. Let's get excited and go to the game." I realize most fans and people don't understand that.

We try our best to find teams like that who will make us better.

Can you talk about the problems that Clemson can present, especially in Littlejohn Coliseum?
I think with Clemson, Brad does a great job defensively. They are as good defensively as anybody in our league, especially at home. They are physical, well-schooled in how they want to guard people.

I don't know if it's something magical, I just think they do a good job. We were able to win there a couple of years ago. Scott Wood made a great shot there in the corner to win it a couple of years back, but most places that we go in this league, they are hard to play.

Clemson is no different.

The ACC is moving the tournament title game to Saturday night. Do you like that?
I really like it a lot. I think it was the right move to make by our commissioner and by the ADs.

I like the Saturday night championship game as far as exposure and viewership around the country... it's the right move. You also give everybody that's fortunate to play in the tournament an extra day to rest.

People forget that when you play Sunday afternoon, you've also played Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, or even Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. So, you've had three or four straight games. You have to take Monday off to get your team rested up and then you're right into the tournament.

I think that extra day is a great game.

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