Air Force coach and player quotes

Air Force head coach Joe Scott and players A.J. Kuhle, Nick Welch and Tim Keller spoke with the media on Monday about making the NCAA Tournament and their first-round matchup with North Carolina ...

Head coach Joe Scott

Opening Statement

I hope when people call me they congratulate me before they ask me for tickets. The NCAA tournament is about the kids. The coaching aspect is about getting your players to be as good as they can be so that someday you can give those moments like this. When you hang in there and stick it out like our players have done good things can happen.

This shows a lot of respect for our program and our league. We have three teams in the tournament and everyone associated with our program should be happy. Whoever would have thought about Air Force for an at-large bid to the tournament would be something we'd be talking about. I think people thought maybe you could steal three in the conference tournament like Colorado State did last year, but an at-large bid is really a credit to our players.

This proves if you get the right kids and coach them the right way with the right system that anything is possible.

I played in the NCAA tournament and that was special, but this has been just as special and a lot more work.

I think I'm happiest for my wife. She's been through a lot. There is a lot of stress in coaching, but when I go home I don't have any because of her and my two boys. She lives this and understands a coach's life and has been with me all the way.

This has been a tough time for me. Some people don't know this about me, but I'm an emotional guy. I can cry at the drop of a hat. Everyone in our program knows how important they are and we've all been through this together. I'm so happy for all of them. This has been a special season for us. The nice thing about this is we were judged by what we did on the court and not by a computer. I know teams everywhere want to be judged by their whole body of work and not by just one game in March. I'm really happy for our league. I think the top three teams in this league deserved to go and they did. This is a great day for the MWC.

About playing North Carolina

We have our work cut out for us. North Carolina is one of the most storied programs in the history of college basketball. We must control our tempo and play our game. We've been good at doing that this season. North Carolina loves to fly the ball up the court. We're going there to win the game on Thursday.

About playing in Denver

I'm glad to be back in Denver. It's good for our fans and supporters who have been with us all year. Denver may be the best of all the brackets in terms of match ups. The city of Denver has got to be excited. You have one of the top teams in the country in Texas, who was in the Final Four last year, a dragonslayer like Princeton and one of the most storied programs in the country in North Carolina and finally a great story like us. I really think that Denver will be rewarded with some great games.

About why Air Force was selected

I don't think we were selected because of a patriotic theme or because of the war effort. I think we were selected because we're a good basketball team. When you look at who we are and how we go about our business, people love that. We play as a team and this is ultimately a team game.

About senior, and Denver native, Joel Gerlach

I'm so happy for Joel Gerlach getting to play in Denver. Part of the college experience is growing up. When you play college basketball, it's the same thing. Joel has experienced everything here, so I know how special this will be for him.

About the possible second round match up against Princeton

It that happens, that's great. This is the only circumstance I'd want to play Princeton. I know John feels the same way. The thing that would make the game great is because it means we both have an NCAA tournament win under our belts.

Air Force Player Quotes:

Senior A.J. Kuhle

When I saw Princeton's name on the screen, I had a funny feeling that we would be in the same bracket. We could not be more excited to be able to play again in Denver. This rivals winning the state championship as a senior in high school. This means a lot to our program. With the history of our program in men's basketball, this is huge for the Air Force Academy.

I thought an 11 seed would be as high as we could get. We are excited to play North Carolina as they are one of the most talented teams in the country.

Sophomore Nick Welch

We have a shot of redemption in Denver. Hopefully a lot of our fans will show up and we will take advantage of our second chance at the Pepsi Center. I would have slept a lot easier if we had won the first game of the conference tournament (against Colorado State). Tonight, I was looking straight at the television until I saw our name. Only then was I able to look away.

Junior Tim Keller

I'm glad we are heading back to Denver. Who would not want to play close to home in a game like this? It will be fun to play against a team the caliber of North Carolina in front of our fans. This is one of the most exciting nights I've had in my basketball career. It's unbelievable for this program to make to the NCAA Tournament for the first time in 42 years.

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