"We know the girl's team really well. I had them over to my house this summer with our team. We see them every day so we know them very well and I told the team the day that I addressed them, ‘We all live in the same world. We're different than football; we live in the same world. We're doing the same thing. We're practicing, doing individual workouts, preparing for games and it's with a basketball in our hands so we understand because we live in the same world,'" Ford said. "It's good to just spend time together. It was a fun evening and I think it was the first chance they had not to really think about it. It's not like they forgot but they just weren't thinking about it. It was fun for us all."
Page unlikely to play in NYC
Senior captain Keiton Page was held out of the Cowboys' narrow overtime victory against UT – San Antonio with an injury coach Ford described as being, "turf toe-like."
He said at the time that at looked bad and the prognosis hasn't gotten any better. Ford said he was not pleased with how his toe has been healing.
"Not good. He's not good," Ford said. "He tried to go for the first time (Monday) and it wasn't good. I wouldn't expect him to play Wednesday."
Ford didn't disclose whether or not he thought Page would be able to play in the second game in New York City but he was not optimistic.
Sophomore guard Markel Brown started in place of Page against UTSA.
New York, New York
Ford was asked on Monday what he planned on doing in order to rein in his team in order to get them focused for Stanford now that the team is in New York City for the Dick's Sporting Goods NIT Season Tip-Off. His answer: He doesn't plan on trying to subdue the enthusiasm at all.
"I don't try to corral it. We've used (getting to NYC) as motivation more than anything. With a young basketball team you try to get them excited and have them worry about just one game and try to get them as excited as you can for that," Ford said. "We actually only have two guys on our team that have ever even been to New York. One of those guys was Marek (Soucek), which I thought was kind of ironic. We've used that as motivation. You win and you get to go to New York City and play in Madison Square Garden."
The Cowboys (3-0) play Stanford (4-0) at 6 p.m. on ESPN2 Wednesday inside the famed arena with the winner advancing to play either Syracuse or Virginia Tech in the championship game at 4 p.m. on Friday. The consolation game will be at 1:30 p.m., also on Friday.
Ford said he is hopeful that his team can win the title but that is not the primary goal this week in the Big Apple.
"It's Wednesday night, everybody is at home with their family watching basketball and they're going to be watching us. We just need to play hard; it's been a tough week on everybody and part of me wishes we weren't leaving so we could spend time with the girls but our guys are excited about the opportunity," Ford said. "It's been a long week but they've done a good job. I'm proud of my team in how they've comforted the girls and spent time with them but it's a close group. Hopefully we can go and play hard and, as I told the guys, No. 1 when we come back to Stillwater is we want to be a better basketball team and understand better who we are. No. 2 is to hopefully come back with two wins but No. 1 is understanding better who we are as a young basketball team."