The guys were really excited. We obviously watched the selection show together and there was a loud cheer when our name appeared on the screen.
What does it mean for this to be your fourth straight NCAA Tournament bid?
I think it's another significant step for our basketball program. Annabelle [Vaughan] told me today that I think there are 21 programs in the country who have been to four consecutive NCAA Tournaments. So, I think that's a nice accomplishment for our guys, especially our four senior how have now been a part of those appearances.
How tough was the task after you were 13-10 to regroup and finish as strong as you have?
We talked about it this weekend in Washington. Our guys have really had tremendous resiliency. I think it really reflects the kind of character we have on our squad. We've been able to handle a season that presented many challenges to us. The guys didn't make excuses. They went out and continued to work hard.
Do you have any initial impressions of Charlotte? Does it strike you as ironic that you have to go all the way up to Massachusetts to play them?
Yes, that is interesting. We might just save some trouble and meet each other and play in Greensboro or something, right? Charlotte is an outstanding basketball program. Not only do they have a terrific team this year, but they've clearly established themselves as an elite basketball program. They've had a long-standing run of success now. So, our guys are already aware that we face one heck of a tough challenge in the first round. When you think of Charlotte, you immediately associate them with other terrific programs from their conference – Louisville, Cincinnati, Charlotte... those kinds of teams are synonymous.
Do you know much about the makeup of their team this year?
I know some. Obviously, I haven't had the chance to study them yet. I've had the chance to glance at them from time to time when they've been on TV. I saw them have an impressive win a while back, I was watching them before one of our games, when they beat Cincinnati. They are one of those teams that are synonymous with excellence out of Conference USA.
Does it mean anything different this year with having to fight through to the NCAA Tournament?
It means a lot that the guys have had to overcome the way they have. Win or lose, they can always remember how they were in a very tough spot and yet they battled their way out of it. That's something that's going to stay with these guys for a long, long time. They did a great job of coming together. They just continued to work hard. No matter what nobody can take that experience away from them.
What is the status of Tony Bethel and Jordan Collins?
Right now, they are both uncertain. They received treatment today and will continue to do so. We'll hope for the best. Hopefully, we'll get one or both back. We've got to be prepared to play in any way, shape or form, just like we've had to do much of this season, including the ACC Tournament.
Coach, you've said all along that you'd rather play your way in than talk your way in. I was on the selection committee conference call, and they said they were impressed even with your last regular season game against Wake Forest and things kept getting better during the week. Talk about how you are playing as a team right now.
I think we definitely have finished the season playing well. I think we've gotten better along the way as a team. I think that has to do with nothing more complicated than that the guys have continued to work hard, and hopefully they will continue to play well this week.
Were you surprised with the 10 seed or did that not surprise you?
I really didn't have any idea where we would be seeded. I just had not followed it that closely in terms of trying to analyze and break it down. I didn't have any expectations. I guess if I was just going to pick a range, it's probably not that surprising. To say I really gave it a lot of thought, wouldn't be true.
What were your first thoughts when you saw Charlotte pop up?
I said, "Wow, what a challenging first round game." They are synonymous with the best basketball programs in Conference USA. When you think of Charlotte, you think of programs like Louisville and Cincinnati and all the success they've had through the years in that conference. It's a heck of a first round game for our basketball team.
Charlotte likes to get up the floor. Do you know enough about them to see if this will be another battle to see who can control tempo?
I'm going to have to just pass on a lot of careful analyzation because I haven't really spent a lot of time watching them other than as a casual basketball fan, catching them on TV here and there. To give you any more specific comments, I'd really have had to watch them. I'm familiar with some of their personnel, and I know they have a very, very talented team.
What are your thoughts about all four of the Big 4 schools going to the NCAA Tournament?
I think it's great for our conference. It's great for the region and the state. There is a lot of tradition, and a lot of history, and a lot of excitement in the present as well with the successes of the teams in this region.
Did you feel pretty confident that your name was going to show up somewhere? Did you get nervous at all about how long it took for NC State's name to get revealed?
I don't mean to sound presumptuous or arrogant because until you see your name up there you don't know for sure in many cases. But, I did have a great deal of confidence that we had played our way into the tournament, and I fully expected to see our name there today.
Can you talk about the entire bracket that you are in? It looks like a bear.
To be honest with you, I don't know who else is in our bracket. We watched our name go up on the screen and everybody erupted in joy. Ever since that moment, I've been engaged talking to people. So I honestly have not had a chance to sit down and look beyond our first-round game. You know, that's probably a good thing because the only that matters right now is Friday's game. Other than that, I was distracted and didn't' have a chance to look at the bracket.
Do you immediately start trying to find out information about Charlotte as soon as you see your name? Walk us through the process of gathering information about them.
We certainly do immediately try to go to work here to try and get some tapes, and sit down and start studying them. Sometimes you draw a team that you're fortunate to maybe have some tapes on reserve, that you've been able to collect some of through the years. At other times, you may run into a situation where you have to scramble to get some. Our staff is working right now to get stuff in so we can get to work to prepare our team.
At any point, did anyone say, "That's our spot next" when Charlotte came up?
It was pretty much just people patiently watching. I don't recall anyone forecasting that before it came up on the screen.
Where did you guys gather?
We were at Amedeo's.