One Game At A Time

CHARLOTTE, N.C. –- UNC coach Roy Williams and players Sean May and Jawad Williams took the podium before practice on Thursday at the Charlotte Coliseum. <i>IC</i> also listened in on the entertaining comments of Oakland coach Greg Kampe, as well as the Grizzlies' two best players Rawle Marshall, Cortney Scott; and Minnesota coach Dan Monson. Now you can, too.

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On the NCAA's pod system:
"I think the whole idea is really good. I remember one year at Kansas, I felt so bad for Mike Montgomery and Stanford because they were a N. 1 seed and had to play North Carolina somewhere in the Southeast. I said, ‘Boy, that's going to be tough for you.' That's the one I remember. A couple of years ago, Syracuse made a great run and didn't have to leave their area. They earned their area, and Illinois has earned where they are. They can get out of here and never have to get on an airplane. To me, I've always wanted the regular season to be extremely important and any advantage you can give someone that's done a great job in the regular season is great."

On the potential of facing a slow-down tempo:
"It's a been a concern for us all year. We've had more people try and control tempo against us than with any other team I've ever had. It's a huge challenge for us to continue doing it and they've done it all year long. Not just against us, that's their style of play. I've seen the Alabama A&M game and I've seen the Oral Roberts game, and they really do a good job of it."

On discussing a perceived mismatch with the team:
"I don't even mention it to the team whatsoever. I've been a one-seed, a two-seed, a three-seed… we've made the Final Four only once when we were a one-seed. Those numbers beside your name don't mean anything now. I was on the bench three years ago – Kansas vs. Holy Cross, they were a 16-seed and our best guard, Kirk Hinrich, had gotten hurt. We were losing in the second half. We don't talk about it. We just talk about that we've got one game. If we play as well as we can for one game, hopefully someone will tell us we can stay around and play one more.


Had you ever heard of Oakland two weeks ago?
Williams: "I knew all about them. Cleveland is not too far away. I used to know a couple guys who played on their team. I think they're a good solid team. We're going to have to go out there and be on our ‘P's' and ‘Q's' if we want to get out of there with a ‘W.'"

May: "I knew about Oakland. Rawle Marshall was at summer camp with Rashad and I. I played up there for five days. I know how talented he is. Cortney Scott is a big load inside. We've got to be ready to play."

Is it a lot easier playing close to home:
May: "Yes; definitely. This year we're more focused and we know that we belong here as a No. 1 seed. It's more of a business-like approach."

On Duke playing in the same building:
Williams: "We could care less about Duke being in the same building. We don't play Duke. We play Oakland."

On coming back after losses this year:
Williams: "Every game we lost, I thought we beat ourselves. So if anything, we just went back to practice and went back to basics, and realized what we had to do as a team if we wanted to be successful. This week in practice the guys worked really hard and came out focused."

May: "After every loss we've had, we've put together winning streaks. Right now, we need a six-game winning streak. That's what it's about for us; we're going to take them one game at a time. Coach keeps telling us it's ‘one-game tournaments.'"


"I would just like to say how proud Oakland University is to be able to represent the state of Michigan in this tournament, how proud we are that we were able to play and compete the way we did, how proud I am of my players."

On the win in the play-in game:
"That type of quickness on the floor is as quick as I've seen all year. It took us awhile to play against that quickness. The pace was way too fast early. A credit to our kids they learned from the first 10 minutes, figured it out. I thought we controlled the tempo the rest of the game. I thought they played just an outstanding basketball game. That's a good team we beat. I'm telling you that's a good team.

"This is wonderful. We wanted to be in this and this is everything we wanted. Somebody else will be in our shoes. What you've done for us you can't measure. Keep doing this. You're doing it for the kids. You made the lives of 15 kids tonight."

On the reason for the season turnaround:
"The kids really like each other now. They're a great group of kids to coach. We're just very fortunate. We were picked to win everything last year. We had a bad year. We thought this year would be our transition year and to get back to things the way they were before."


Marshall: "North Carolina's going to be a great challenge for us. All we want to do is just go in there and play as hard as we can and whatever happens, happens.

"[Charlotte] is a totally different atmosphere, but it's an atmosphere we've seen already. Charlotte, they're basically at home. We've played in a lot of tough places. We'll do what it takes. They are going to have runs. It's going to be a tough environment. If we can take Carolina in the chest we can bounce back."

Scott: "For me it's an honor to get a chance to play against some of the number one players in the nation. It's a measure of your skills and your talent. It's going to be a lot of fun."

"Yeah we had a lot of adversity but my teammates stayed strong. Team captains told the guys tough times don't last. You can credit Coach Kampe for that quote. We stayed positive. Coach tried to stay positive with us and we all tried to stay positive on the floor."


On a team like UNC getting to play so close to home:
"The reason why it's called March Madness and why there is so much excitement -- the unpredictability of it. But when somebody plays so well all year, and for a Carolina to have to play a Minnesota in Minneapolis, when it's random like that, it takes the fairness out. Those teams have worked all year long to have the seasons they had. So everybody loves the madness, but there has to be some sense of what a team has earned, and they've earned No. 1 seeds. They've earned the opportunity for their fans to be closer to home. I don't really have a problem with it."

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