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January 28, 2013

NC State hopes to avoid letdown against UVa

NC State has been in this position before, just a few weeks ago.

The Wolfpack upset No. 1-ranked Duke at home Jan. 12, but then followed with a 51-50 loss at Maryland on a buzzer-beater Jan. 16.

No. 19-ranked NC State snapped a 13-game losing streak with a 91-83 home victory over North Carolina last Saturday. The Tar Heels might not have been ranked, but the emotions were still the same.

NC State will get another chance to show its maturity by play at 14-5 Virginia on Tuesday. The Cavaliers have won three straight games.

NCSU coach Mark Gottfried talked about what he and the players learned from the days following defeating Duke, and how he expects this week to have a different outcome.

Below is a transcript from his weekly ACC teleconference:

Opening statement:

"We got a pretty big challenge obviously Tuesday night. I think Tony [Bennett] has his team playing really well. He does such a great job in how they play and their style, and how well they defend teams. We see it as a big challenge.

"We also think we are at the point we have to take the next step and be able to win difficult, tough road games and tough atmospheres, which I'm sure we will have on Tuesday. We understand the challenge that lies ahead of us."

Who is your glue guy this year?

"That is an interesting question. I don't know if we have one glue guy. That's a term that gets thrown around a lot. I don't know how to answer that. I think we have a lot of guys that do a lot of different things on our team. You want to have a good team, you better have a lot of glue guys that do the things that go unnoticed a lot. I don't know if we have one guy like that.

"I think all of our players have to take a charge defensively or get a defensive block-out. I don't know if there is just one guy. Usually, when people throw that term around, it's a guy that is not that talented and figures out a way to help his team play. I think all your guys have to be like that, so I don't know if we have one or two guys. I like to think all of our guys are glue guys."

How do you avoid not having a letdown against Virginia?

"I think when we beat Duke, there was so much attention around our team, it was hard to get past it. The days that followed, whether it was the wheelchair incident, or people calling or texting from all over the country, it's hard to mentally move past it. You are getting a lot of attention.

"I just think and hope that our players understand better that in this league, you have mentally move on quickly. You have to get yourself prepared for your next opponent. It's not that we weren't prepared, but it was a emotional toll. Hopefully, we are better prepared."

Will you do anything different this week compared to after defeating No. 1 Duke?

"I don't know if there is any one thing you can do different. I was a good example myself. For three days after the Duke game, I had 150 text messages, and they kept coming from all over the country. Personally, you are ready to move on. Now, that you've done that, you are a little more used to handling that.

"This is new territory for our team. This is unchartered waters, and have a lot of guys that haven't been in these type of situations. We are learning. You better learn quick in this league because just like Tuesday, we have a monster-type game against a really good opponent on the road. There is not much time for us to bask in the glory for any of us in this league."

Is there a way to attack UVa's defense?

"Well, they are very, very good. I think offensively, you have to be very good as well. As they execute their defense, you better execute your offense.

"I think offensively you have to execute at a high level. If you don't make sharp cuts and good screens, and are taking quick shots and bad shots, I think they win out. What we have to do is make sure we do the things we do well, but also understand that is the type of game it is going to be."

What makes Richard Howell such a good rebounder?

"I think there is a lot of things. I think he has a great desire to go get the ball. I think he understands and anticipates a lot of times where the ball is going to be. I think he has great hands. He has a great feel for how to rebound. More than anything, it comes down to having the tools, but also having the desire. I think he has both."

What kind of impact will the freshman have on this particular game?

"We've got a couple that we rely on heavily. I think Tony does as well. For most teams in the league, it's pretty similar, some more than others. I think we live in an age or era where our freshman need to play well and play earlier, everyone in college basketball in this world we live in somewhat. Hopefully, ours will play well."

What kind of consistency do the freshman show?

"Most of the time, young people are learning. Some young players and freshman learn quicker than others and become more consistent quicker. Part of being a freshman, this is your first time through all this. It's the first time going on the road and go to a place like Virginia. It's the first time to go through a long college season. It's the first time you have the demands put on you for practice and class, and all your responsibilities. It's the first time everything is magnified at this level. It's still difficult sometimes for young people to be consistent with all that going on."

N.C. State NEWS


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