Gottfried: "Big Opportunity For Us"

NC State head coach Mark Gottfried met with the media to discuss the upcoming game with Duke.



Opening Statement:
First of all, go Ravens. Fired up for the Ravens.

Big opportunity for us, obviously at Duke. Duke is playing extremely well. I think for our team it's a chance for us to get back on the court, play. After a tough loss I think our guys are anxious to play again. I think that's typical in athletics.

The competitor in you wants to play. We want to play. We're playing a good team that is at a high level right now. It's obviously going to be a challenge but I think our guys are excited about it. We had a great practice yesterday, we'll get back at it today and tomorrow and be ready to play Thursday night.

Update on Lorenzo Brown:
Lorenzo could not practice yesterday. Tried to some. I think he's still a few days away. We'll just have to wait and see day by day. It's hard for me to imagine that he'll be 100 percent by Thursday night. But again, I don't know that.

We'll just have to wait and see how he responds to treatment and he gets to where he can play and plant and cut and move and sprint and jump.

There's a lot... he's got to get from here to there. There's a lot of room in between there. It's a long way to go so we'll see.

Thoughts on the Miami game:
We're winning the game with 0.9 seconds left and we don't win. It's interesting at times a tip with one second and how the feeling of everything can change.

Obviously if they don't get the tip in we're walking around here with our chest poked out and we're excited. We see things differently.

So, you've got to be careful with that because I think we did play well. We did a lot of things really well in that game. I thought Tyler stepped up and did very good, and a lot of guys. We're not far off, I know that. We're close. A lot of good things happened the other night.

Thoughts on use of pick-and-roll against Miami:
We thought, and I thought, Tyler had a lot of success with some ball screen action. So we kept going to it, maybe more than we normally have. I think that's a game by game feel on how much we do that.

5-4 in the ACC at this point...
Well, it's interesting. We talked about this with our team. The facts are the facts. We live in a real world and the world is that we're 5-4.

It's not where we wanted to be, it's not probably where we thought we would be. We also have to understand that in the next nine, five of those are on the road. We better fall in love with being on the road.

We have to get better there. In two of those games, two of the losses, we're ahead with one second to go, and we don't win. However you want to look at it, seven-point total in four losses and all of that, the reality is we're 5-4 and we've got a ways to go here. That's the challenge we have. We have to live in a real world. We'll see.

Thoughts on the freshmen playing at Duke:
I think they'll be fine. I think they're excited about it. I don't think any three of our three freshmen guys have appeared to me at any point in time whether it was in Puerto Rico, on the road at Michigan, New York city on that stage, they've ever looked like they're afraid or cautious.

They've always been pretty aggressive. I feel the same way about those guys going into this game.

Thoughts of how Duke is playing since the win over Duke:
I think they've gotten used to playing without (Ryan) Kelly. They've adapted and adjusted.

Amille (Jefferson) and (Josh) Hariston obviously give them something different. Ryan stretches the defense; he'll hit a lot of threes. You had to guard them differently with Ryan but now they've adjusted and figured out how they want to play. I think those guys have played really well.

Again, I think that's more, if anything, they're playing awfully well. They've figured out how to play differently.

Thoughts on Seth Curry:
I think they do a lot for him, so you have to do a lot to defend him. We like to keep fresh bodies on him; he likes to use screens well. We've got to be alert and aware.

He finds ways to get himself open. You can never fall asleep guarding him. You can't relax because you'll lose him. He'll make you pay. He's been good and they do a lot for him too.

Thoughts on the physical play in ACC:
I just think college basketball in general has become physical. I don't think that's something you can whine about, I don't think you can complain about it. I think you just have to accept it.

In the college game it's not just coming off screens. Around the basket, rebounding. It's a lot more physical than it was years ago and I think it's getting more physical all the time. I go back and watch film in the 80s and 90s. In those days nobody touches anybody, they don't bump anybody. Our game now is a lot different from that.

Thoughts on Rasheed Sulaimon:
I just know he's playing really well right now.

He's 13-24 from the three-point line since our game. He's scoring inside the line. He's really emerged in the last few games for them as well.

Thoughts on the reason why it's hard to win in Cameron:
I think a lot of it has to do with how good they are and how good they've been over the years. They have a great home court advantage. It's rare and you guys know it more than me. I've only been here for a year and a half.

They have created and kept an environment there with the smaller arena, fans close to you that is unique. A lot of teams, a lot of schools, have gone away from that. I'm sure that helps. But at the same time the players and coach K, I mean all of the factors. They're very good too.

Do you hear the fans as players?
I don't think so. I never did as a player. I don't ask our players. I don't hear anything.

You can sit behind me and probably scream in my ear all night long and I'm not sure if I could hear you. It's just kind of an interesting thing with coaches.

They just get so tuned into what's going on that it's hard to hear anything else. You kind of pick and choose what you want to hear. I can hear my assistants, I can hear certain things. I just kind of think that's what happens to all of us right in the middle of a game. I don't usually hear anything.

Are you still sticking with Zo has to be 100% to play?
I want him to be 100 percent. I'm not going to put him in danger of injuring his foot worse or setting himself back, which ultimately sets us back too. I don't want to do that.

So that's going to be a decision based on Lorenzo, our trainers, our doctors, you know. It comes down to his gut more than mine. And then we just need to collectively make a decision on what's right.

I know he wants to play. He wanted to try to practice yesterday. He tried for about five minutes and he couldn't go. That was it.

You gotta be careful there because I think you can set a guy back. I don't want to do that so we just have to wait and see. See how he feels and if he can't play I think our team the other night proved to each other, to ourselves and each other, that if he doesn't play we're still capable of winning. Period. Our players know that so life moves on.

Thoughts on Coach K:
I have a lot of respect. I think with coaches, when you're in our business, he's done a phenomenal job and what I think and what I've grown to respect coaches like coach K is, I always use the term, ‘staying power.'

They can stay at the top. And you've got to give them credit for that. Our business is hard, it's difficult. Certainly I have a lot of respect for him.

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