NCAA Tournament Selection Sunday Quotes

March 17, 2014

University of Cincinnati Men's Basketball
NCAA Tournament Selection Sunday Quotes
March 16, 2014

UC head coach Mick Cronin

On why he thinks the American Athletic Conference only got four teams in the tournament:
“That is a question for the committee. I know this: if N.C. State is so good, we beat them and they’re in. We beat Pittsburgh, we beat Nebraska and they finished fourth in the Big Ten. That will be an interesting question to ask the committee but I think it’s pretty clear SMU wasn’t even on the bubble from anything that I looked at. I never saw them on the bubble at any point. You can look at other people’s strength of schedule. If they were to say the truth, it was a lack of respect obviously by the committee for the American Athletic Conference without question.”

On how the number 5 seed affects his and the player’s mindset:
“It doesn’t at all and with that being said, to me it’s all irrelevant. You’ve got to go play because to me I’ve been through this where there are nine seeds that might not be as good as 12 seeds. There are 14’s that are better than 12’s. I don’t know where North Carolina Central is seeded but I can tell you they have one of the best coaches in the country, a young, unnamed coach in LeVelle Moton, and they’re good. So I think it’s all a crapshoot. You put numbers next to names of teams but that doesn’t mean a 14 is better than a 12, and in defense of the committee I don’t know how they can decide that they have to put a number next to a name.

“But I think the tournament has become such a big deal and we have a lot of new fans to college basketball for this event and this event only. So they assume if you’re a 5 then you are better than a 12 and that’s not necessarily the case. The beauty of the tournament is it only matters who is better on Thursday and that’s all that matters. So it’s all irrelevant at the end of the day. The only unfortunate thing for us is our location. Obviously Spokane has great college basketball with Gonzaga but it’s tough for our fans to get there. But everybody goes through that from time to time.”

On if he will consider leaving earlier to get acclimated:
“The NCAA coordinates travel and they don’t put out game times until late tonight so that will affect you as well. So all that stuff is yet to be determined.”

On being a five seed would have kept them close to Cincinnati:
“I don’t know because if you look at it, Michigan State is out there (in Spokane) too and they were preseason number one in the country. You can look at it in a lot of ways but at the end of the day you have to play games, everybody is a good team or they wouldn’t be in. You have got to win games.”

On if he likes his matchup against Harvard and how much he knows about them:
“I know they’re really good, I know they beat New Mexico last year in the first round and I know Tommy (Amaker) is an excellent coach.”

On the most important thing he tells his players heading into the tournament:
“We have to be the best defensive team in the tournament. You can’t harbor any illusions at this time of year. I think that you need to be great in a certain area to advance and we have to be smart enough to know what our formula for success is and we have to be great at it. We can’t be good at it. The reason is Harvard is really good and good is not going to be enough. Our defense is going to have to be dominate and our mistakes are going to have to be fewer. We are going to have to have some guys play well, and I don’t think that’s different for anybody, but for us when you’re a top 5 defensive team in the country all year, you better be great in the tournament or you’re not going to advance. You’re not going to all of a sudden advance by being a top 5 offensive team in the country so our defense better be great.”

On if he looks ahead at all for the second-round matchup:
“If there is something that I will want to impart on my team, they would need to put a tape together over the other games, because if you start looking at the other games, it’s a recipe for disaster. You better worry about Harvard and all you have to do is ask my friends at New Mexico.”

On if going 5-4 over the last nine games should be a concern:
“I think it’s an indication of who we played.”

On how the team is mentally after the conference tournament:
“They’re excited they just went 27-6 and they had the best year that anybody has had since 2002 they’re extremely excited. They should be proud of what they accomplished but I can tell you there is a sense of urgency because we have such good seniors. They want to win, they want to keep playing, they love playing together so my job is to impart on them of how we do that. What’s our recipe for success? What’s going to give us the best chance to make sure we can advance?



"But they’re ready to go. Those guys are fired up and they love playing together and all you have to do is watch us play, win lose or draw. We might have had a bad night but you never think these guys don’t like playing with each other. They really like playing with each other which is why it has made it so easy to coach them. It’s why they won a conference championship and had such a tremendous season. Like I pointed out earlier we won more game than Duke, North Carolina, Ohio State, Kentucky and Indiana. We had a great season but now it’s a new season.

"I heard a question being asked about leaving legacies for your seniors. It’s done in March and there is no question about that. So all you have to do is walk down the streets of Cincinnati and asked who played in 1992 and they can tell you and they even know guys that came off the bench.”

On what constitutes as a deep run and if you need to make a deep run:
“We don’t need to. We have had a great season and like you and I talked about earlier I’m not going to define our season based on the NCAA tournament. Now obviously my seniors want to keep playing but it’s a single-elimination game tournament anything can happen. There have been great teams that have been knocked out and that’s the unfortunate thing about this crazy world of college basketball. In college football you can have a great year and nobody even remembers if you won the bowl game unless it was a national championship. That’s what devalues our regular season so much, we don’t need to do anything.

"I can tell you what we want to do and that we want to keep playing and other people can define if it’s enough or not. People can judge it but I don’t put any stock into that. If and when we lose in the next three weeks I’m going to be sad because it’s going to be the last time I coach my seniors. Not because somebody is going to think it wasn’t deep enough.”           

Cincinnati Player Quotes

No. 23, Sean Kilpatrick, G
On getting a five seed and having a long trip:
“Playing all the way in Washington is crazy. We just have to go out there and handle business. It is something that we wanted and we are all happy about, but it is time to still go to work.”

On being picked to lose to Harvard
“What’s new? Everywhere we play, they say we are going to lose and it all comes down to the last two minutes of the game.”

On if the pick gives them extra motivation:
“We are already motivated. Guys on this team are so locked in with what is going on. We hear what everyone talks about. We are so locked in and motivated about what is going on in our locker room and what is going on as a team that those things don’t really affect us.”

On what it takes to make a deep tournament run:
“We have to take it a day at a time. We can’t focus on what is going on with the Sweet 16 or anything like that. We just have to take it a day at a time.”

On why the team is capable of making a deep run in the tournament:
“Our seniors. We have to really keep the young guys tuned in to what is really going on and what we are trying to accomplish here. We have no control over what is going on (outside of the team). We do have control over what we can control and that is keeping the guys in focus and really letting them know it is a whole different season now. It is something totally different and we just have to continue to stay focused.”

No. 5, Justin Jackson, F
On his reaction when he saw that they were going to Washington:
“Time to go to work. I wasn’t upset. It was everything that I expected. Underdogs.”

On if having to go all the way out there and be a five seed was a slap in the face:
“Five is my favorite number.”

On if he felt the American was slighted at all with SMU not getting in and how the seeding fell:
“It is what it is. We have no control over it. It happens and it happened. We have to handle our business and do what Cincinnati does and we will be fine.”

On if they look at the NCAA Tournament as a chance to cement their legacy at UC:
“It is our last go around. That is how you have to take it because we aren’t coming back. You have to leave the way you want to leave. It is our last chance so we are going to get to practice at 12 tomorrow and start what we need to do.”