PC: Moore, Spencer, Wilson Meet The Media

AUSTIN, TX -- NC State's Wes Moore, Dominique Wilson, and Miah Spencer met with the media to preview Sunday's game against Texas in the NCAA Tournament.

Can you talk about playing Texas on their home court? Sunday game, probably a big crowd. How did playing on the road prepare you this year?
MIAH SPENCER: That prepared us a lot because the teams that we've beaten on the road were Florida State and Louisville and they both have great home crowds. I feel like that prepared us for tomorrow and what's to come, but we have to limit them, contain the dribble drive, box out, contain the dribble drop and not let them get too comfortable. We have to control the tempo and do the little thing to win this game on their home court.

 Dominique, what is the challenge...
DOMINIQUE WILSON: With Texas, like what Miah said, to stop their transition. I feel like they're a very fast team, as soon as they get the ball they're pushing and everyone is running, and the post player is running. So limiting them to one shot and stopping them in transition would be the two biggest keys.

You're on the road in an environment like this. What are the keys to ...
MIAH SPENCER: We know that we're going to go through adversity. We know we aren't going to get the calls we might want to get. We know that shots might not fall, but we have to stick together and not get down on each other or ourselves.

We have to stay together as a team to overcome the crowd that's going to be there tomorrow. I feel like that's the biggest part, just knowing that there's going to be adversity. We can overcome it, though, because we've been in this situation before.

Dominique, you want to add to that?
DOMINIQUE WILSON: She nailed it. Just to stay focused as a team. I know the crowd is going loud and try to sign in and listen to Coach Moore the best we can.

 Team's mentality...
MIAH SPENCER: I mean, I feel like we have a chip on our shoulder, like I said the other day, because we didn't make the tournament last year not because of the seeding this year. I feel like we had good quality wins to host, but the committee probably thought differently. At this point, like we all talk about it's one game at a time no matter where we're playing at. We've beaten great teams on the road. We've been down on the road and came back and won those games. Right now we're comfortable with the position that we're in. We've been in this situation before.

Dominique, a tournament like this, quick turnaround, it's be not like playing in conference where you get familiar with people. How difficult can that be to have that tournament run of playing Auburn one day and Texas the next?
DOMINIQUE WILSON: I think it's very difficult, but that's when focus comes in, just watching film, trying to read the scouting report, trying to understand the scouting report, try to go through everything in practice and try to understand everything even though I know we're not going to get through everything with two hours.

But just have faith in our team. That's what it comes down to and just believe that we have the ability to beat anybody if we run our sets correct and play a great team defense.

When you guys are coming out of high school, how much does playing on television play into where you want to go? Is that part of the condition of wanting to go somewhere?
DOMINIQUE WILSON: For some players, yes. Some players wanting to go to a school where they can get a lot of playing time. Depends on the person and if they want to go to the next level after college, then a certain type of school they go to is key because they get a lot of exposure and opportunities to be seen by scouts. I feel like it depends on the player and their motives.

On the opportunity...
MIAH SPENCER: Yeah, I mean, I feel like that's everybody's dream that's at a Division I level. We've been working hard all our lives. Us two especially I know we have put in so much work to be where we are, and honestly we weren't given -- we weren't McDonald's All-Americans or anything.

So we definitely know we have to work for what he want, and yes, it's a dream to be in the WNBA and to be playing with great players. So I would definitely say yes.
DOMINIQUE WILSON: I always tell people if it is God's will for me. I'm not going to sit here and stress on it.

 
How do you size up Texas' backcourt?
MIAH SPENCER: Like I mentioned earlier, McCarty is really quick. So we have to definitely slow her down on transition because once she gets going with a full head of steam she is either going to the basket or making you help and setting up her teammates. So we have to definitely pay attention to her and containing her. She is also a great shooter.

So making other people score is probably going to be the biggest thing for us, but they have great players. But like I mentioned, limit them to one shot and contain their transition and box out. We will win the game if we do those three things.

Coach, you won the fist round, now you get to play next on their home court. Your team has demonstrated you can win. You've beat some good teams on the road. What's the mentality for this road game?
WES MOORE: We don't talk about home or away. We want to focus on the game plan and what we're trying to accomplish out there. We're excited about it. We know we've got a big challenge ahead of us. Texas, obviously well coached, perimeter, very athletic, inside, got great size that concerns me. They're, again, a tough match-up, no matter where you play 'em and obviously here on the road will make it a little bit tougher.

You mentioned match-ups, any particular one that you want to shut down? Their speed?
WES MOORE: Yeah, again, you start with McCarty. She makes 'em go, leading 3-point shooter, 2-to-1 assists in turnover ratio. Does a great job of getting out and pushing it. Ariel Atkins can shoot the 3 really well, can get to the rim, great offensive rebounder. They will try to post their wings up some. So that's tough. Holmes, tough match-up, great size, can take off with the ball in transition and go coast-to-coast with it. Lang, again, great size there, tough match-up. So, again, like I said, a great team.

I had the chance to see them on TV a few times during the regular season when they played Florida State I thought McCarty took over the game. It was unbelievable what they did and other games I've watched on film since in preparation, seen other people step up as well. Very good team.

Tournament situations are a little bit different, quick turnaround games, running up against opponents that you're not familiar with. How big of a challenge is that for you as a coach coming after a game like Auburn where they had full-court press?
WES MOORE: Thankful it was that way. I'm glad we had three days to prepare for Auburn because they play a little bit different style, obviously with the forty minutes of pressing and trapping and zone, so glad we had that time. I've got a great staff. They had probably six or seven games clipped and ready for me immediately after our game yesterday. In fact, that's why I left after the first quarter. I let the staff stay, but I went back and started watching what we had on film. Staff did a good job of having things prepared so it gave me with us playing so early yesterday, plenty of time to look at that. We watched film a little bit later last night after dinner and all.

The thing is, you know, they're most of the time playing a lot of man-to-man defense and doing things that we have seen most of the year, so I don't think it will be that big of a changeover. I'm more worried about their personnel than I am necessarily their style.

Obviously, the game is on ESPN nationally. When you are recruiting high school basketball players at this level do you find that high school players -- is one of the major factors to where they go, is it will they be on television and is that a source of recruiting for you if you're on TV a lot, do you sell that?
WES MOORE: I don't think there is any doubt. They like having exposure and especially if they're away from home a little ways. It's easier for their families to see them play. I think about all of our ACC games were accessible in some way or another whether it be on ESPN or whether it be on ESPN3, an app, whatever.

So we're fortunate in that respect. So this time of year I guess it is being 1 of 32 teams playing and getting that exposure. I think this time of year people are really tuned into watching games and with the March Madness frenzy and all that, so no doubt in recruiting it's a big factor.

Moore on his team facing Texas at Texas...
WES MOORE: Well, we've got four seniors so that helps. Then we've beaten some good teams. You know, you beat Notre Dame, you beat Florida State on the road, you beat Duke, Louisville, we've had some good quality wins. I think that gives them confidence. Like I said, also we've got four seniors that last year we were a little disappointed in the selection process, and I think they've had a little bit of a chip on their shoulder, and the only way you can prove people wrong is going out and performing.

So I think they're excited about the opportunity. We know it's a great challenge, a great program on their home court. But this team has experienced winning under those circumstances, so I do think they will be confident.

The intimidation factor minimized because you have played on big stages before? Do you expect them to have any sort of --
WES MOORE: Not really. I think yesterday we had one or two feel it a little bit, first game, coming out. But I think it helps now having game under their belt. As you mentioned, in the ACC you're playing great teams every night just about. So hopefully that confidence is there and we definitely have tried to preach to 'em that we can compete at this level.

Coach, running down your resume you've made the NCAA Tournament a lot. A win tomorrow I think would be your deepest run. Any personal drive there?
WES MOORE: No, I mean, again, I think you worry more about the process and just getting your team prepared. Obviously, when you're at a mid-major like UT-Chattanooga, which I enjoyed 15 unbelievable years there, you're usually going to be a high seed in that situation and have a tough match-up and usually on the road.

We were fortunate to get by the first round, but, again, it's more about one game at a time. I know that's boring, but one game at a time. Let's don't get caught up too much. Just go out and prepare and play the best we can, let the chips fall where they may.

Again, this is where you want to be. This is what you work for all year. Had a good coaching friend remind me night before last, this is what you've been preparing for all year. Go out and have fun now. You hope that the players can relax and have fun.

Coach, a little away from the game tomorrow. A lot of people criticize women's basketball because UConn is dominant. They say you already know who is going to win in your viewpoint. Is UConn good or bad for women's basketball?
WES MOORE: You know, first of all you look at the ratings, it must be good. I'm told that even if they're in a situation where they have a 40-point lead people want to watch 'em. From that standpoint it's good. I grew up in Dallas. I'm a Cowboy fan. You either love 'em or hate 'em, but, still, they draw a lot of attention.

Connecticut is the same way. Geno has done an unbelievable job. People say it's on cruise control now, but when he went there who wanted to go to Connecticut to play basketball? He's put them on the map and built that program. Now it's up to the rest of us here in the world to figure out a way to compete at that level. It's tough. Again, I think this process we have now of teams hosting and all that, I think sometimes that's a factor, too, as far as we're wanting parity. We're wanting to get new teams up there. I think sometimes the home court and all that is a factor in that, too.

No, I think, gosh, you gotta respect and admire what Connecticut has done and the rest of us gotta find a way to catch up.

Anybody from the old neighborhood coming to watch?
WES MOORE: Had several come in for yesterday's game. I had a sister leave at 3:30 in the morning because they live a little north of Dallas, but I had a lot of -- probably, I don't know, 15-20 people come down, probably have a few more tomorrow. Like I said, I grew up in Dallas. I love Texas, talking about the state of Texas, and I do like Texas football, also! Got to see Mack brown yesterday. Talked to him a minute. That was neat.

Again, it's exciting to be here. I guess my last year at Chattanooga we went to College Station and played. Two out of the last three NCAA trips have been to Texas, so maybe the committee is looking out for me in that respect. Let me go home a little bit. Get some Mexican food and brisket, you know?

Mack gave the team a pep talk yesterday, I don't know if you --
WES MOORE: Did he? I failed to mention it to him. I brought up the Bowl game when I thought Vince Young was a man among boys. Unbelievable performance. I forgot to mention to him I saw the last Red River rivalry game in the Cotton Bowl when they played Oklahoma in the last game. So hopefully he used his best speech yesterday and doesn't have anything left for tomorrow.

Back to the women's basketball issue, UConn if they go to the Final Four this year they will basically play four home games.
WES MOORE: Kentucky has an opportunity to do that as well.


For the sport of women's basketball, do they have to get away from --
WES MOORE: I think so. I think so.

What could be done?
WES MOORE: I don't know. Again, I may be in the minority here in saying that, because, again, I could benefit from it some day if they ever let us host. We could benefit from it. Okay?

But I do think it's tough. I think what makes men's March Madness, madness are the upsets. That's what everybody loves, you know, when a 12 seed knocks off a 5 seed. It's a whole lot tougher to do when you got the top 16 teams hosting. It happens. No need in crying about it. There are upsets and people do pull it off, but I do think it's tougher.

Going back to the example of baseball. Baseball let's people host the regionals or whatever, but I don't think the home field advantage in baseball is the same as the home court advantage in basketball. It's a factor.

It's tough. You work all year for this moment and some of your kids maybe work all their lives for this opportunity. I think it ought to be on a level playing field. Again, there are people that don't agree. There's a lot of coaches at the BCS Bowl that wouldn't agree because they want that home court advantage. I do think it makes it tougher for upsets. It makes it tougher for parity going back to what you just said. People that are on TV now in the finals, 32, Sweet 16, they're getting that exposure. They're helping, benefiting from it recruiting wise.

So that keeps those teams going year after year whereas if you maybe opened it up you might have, you know, some other teams able to get into that circle and make it -- again, get that parity we keep talking about.

Why do you think that in women's basketball there are fewer upsets?
WES MOORE: That's what I said, most people are on their home court.

 So playing at home is a factor...
WES MOORE: I think it's a factor, yeah. The men, you're playing on a neutral site court. Again, I haven't ran the numbers. I would just say that I think it is a big advantage, but it happens. That's why we're here. Anything can happen on a given day and hopefully you can overcome the road game.

Also, one other final note. I went to high school at R.L. Turner in Carrollton, Texas, and that's the home of Keith Moreland. Y'all know Keith Moreland? I was hoping I might get to see him sometime at the baseball stadium and I was glad he's in town. I'm a big fan and followed him with the Cubs and he was a broadcaster there for a year or two. I followed him closely and pretty neat.


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