Gottfried: "We're Playing A Really Good Team"

RALEIGH, N.C. -- NC State head coach Mark Gottfried met with the media to discuss the ACC opener against Miami.

Is this one of the rare... must win games on Saturday?
Must win? I don't know that I would give it that thought.

That might be in print on Saturday. "Must win."
That thought hasn't ever crossed my mind. I think our team is excited to get the ACC's place card. We're playing a really good team in Miami. I've watched four or five games on tape. Got to make sure that we're ready to play.

'Cause, think about how different last year. Perhaps, perchance, you win that first one on the road, you steal that one, you get that one, confidence ...
Maybe. That's hypothetical. Yeah. You'd like to think that. Get that win if ...

It won't change the world but...
I think there are 18 league games. The way we view it is each game stands by itself. It truly does. At the end of the 18, you're going to add them up and you're going to see where you stand.

Like I tell our guys all the time, one great win doesn't guarantee you the second win. Or a tough loss doesn't guarantee you a loss.

I think mature teams can handle it that way. They take each opportunity as it stands by itself. We've go to do a great job on Saturday. That's really what we're looking at.

December seemed like it was always going to be a month where you kind of had to grow because you were adding pieces and such. Do you like where you guys are at right now?
I think in a perfect world, you'd like to have Omer and Maverick and Ted from day one, but we didn't. I think the fact that Maverick is starting to get his legs underneath him, play better. I think Omer is starting to blossom somewhat. Ted's getting comfortable and it helps our depth. It helps our rotation.

Under the circumstances that we had, we're in a good place and as good as we could possibly be, for where our team is here in late December.

Is Miami one of those teams where everybody knows exactly what they're going to do because they did not make it very complex, yet it's still hard to stop them?
Yeah. They're the old "easy to scout, the hard to beat" type team. Last year, obviously, we played very well against them here at home, but they set a bunch of ball screens. Personnel is different this year obviously than last year.

They lost some key guys, but I think their young guys have stepped up for them here pretty well. You watch them on tape. They are very capable. We'll see.

Newton one of those type of guys that is just tough to keep out of the lane?
Gets in the lane a ton. Scores it pretty good. Somewhat streaky, but could really get it going. He could get it going at times. You have to do a great job with him.

They don't have a lot of depth at the point guard position. He's got to turn around and guard Dennis probably, and maybe that becomes an advantage for us. We'll see.

He's capable. Very capable of getting ... so is Reed. I think Ree'd a guy who has played a lot of games at this level. Very good player as well.

They have two freshmen in the lineup, but they also have a lot of older guys too. It's an interesting contrast.
It is. Kamari Murphy has played a ton of college basketball. He was at Oklahoma State with Coach Pierre.

Yep. He knows the game well. Again, I think they're a good team. You know what they're going to be trying to do offensively, you know how they want to play, and we have to have a really good plan going in. We got to have a lot of confidence.

We've got to have poise on the road, which we didn't have at Illinois. We've go to play with some... the word is poise. I thought we got rattled at Illinois. We played panicky. We've got to do a better job playing through all of that kind of stuff, in our second opportunity on the road.

13 games in the books for Dennis. What do you think thus far?
Spectacular in my opinion. I said early on, I think he's the best guard in the country. I'd say it again today. I think he's the best guard in the country.

We forget for a freshman, you look at his numbers now, and his percentages, shooting percentages, three point shooting percentage, free throw percentage, assists per games, steals... there's not a lot more you can ask of a young player who's also had to play with a shifting roster as well.

The pieces all haven't been in place for him as quarterback, so he's adapted through that I think very well too. I think he's had an amazing start to the season. I know he's excited. He and I talked today about it. He's excited about starting league play.

For him, this is what he wanted to do; play in the ACC, and so he's anxious.

It seems like you guys are selfless. Guys like Anya and Rowan aren't starting, but it doesn't bother them. They're still encouraging teammates and such...
I think it's great. We've got great chemistry right now. We've got a great spirit amongst our team. The old, "Esprit de Corps." The Spirit Within is really good.

I think you mentioned BeeJay. I think he's a big part of that. He is a senior. He wants to contribute. He's had different roles throughout these early games, and he hasn't had any thing but a great attitude every day. I think that's been a big plus for our team. It really has.

These guys know... I say it every day, the strength of our team is all of us together. That's the strength of this group. Hopefully, we could continue with that moving forward.


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