March 11, 2001
JOHN HEISLER: Coach Mike Brey is here with us along with Ryan Humphrey and Martin Ingelsby.
COACH BREY: We are certainly honored and excited to see our name flash up in that bracket. It has been a long time for the young men that have been at this institution but also for Notre Dame fans around the world. So it is an honor to be a part of it. I am very proud of this team to earn a 6th seed. I think that says that we really took care of our business from the beginning of the regular season to the very end.
We are thrilled to be heading to Kansas City and we are a confident group. We will be confident by the time we get out there and ready to play Friday.
Q. Is there enough excitement to get that name up there and get it in the bracket? Was the focus that much on getting into the 64 or 65 field, that that relief may have played a factor down the stretch for you guys?
COACH BREY: I think if you look at conference tournaments this week, it was kind of a little bit of a rule of thumb where the teams that have secured bids maybe didn’t play as well and didn’t play like their life was on the line. I certainly can say that I think we looked like that at times. We had solidified our thing with that 8-game win streak in mid-January and into February. So I think there is part of that.
But I think at this point now you are excited to see your name flash up and now a new challenge for this group?? – who is an experienced group?? – these guys have played in a lot of big games.
Q. Congratulations, Coach. Just wanted to ask you: What do you know about Xavier? They have got a lot of good players one of them in particular in David west?
COACH BREY: I know a lot about him. I am good friends with Skip. I have known him for a long time. He is just a great college coach and has had a very successful program there. I think our players know Xavier pretty good. They played them last year in the NIT, but this is a different Xavier team, a better Xavier team.
I think the biggest thing is you know about West, but you know about style of play. You have a feel for how they play. They are a confident team and they are a program that is — it is a proud program that has won a lot of games.
Q. Is there anybody in the Big East that their style of play goes along with?
COACH BREY: Quickly I would think Boston College- and Saint John’s-like. Maybe Boston College-like right off the top of my head. I have just watched them a little bit and not completely focused on them. I know we probably had a common opponent in Cincinnati, I believe, and we both beat Cincinnati. They had a thriller with them back before the first of the year. But up-tempo wanting-to-get-you-going, playing fast, use their depth. I think that would be the one that comes to mind quickly.
Q. You have had time to analyze the sort of the late season dip you guys went through. What were the reasons for it and how are you going to overcome it?
COACH BREY: I think not to dwell on it a whole lot. I think momentum going into the NCAA tournament is overrated. There is those that lose in the first round, their conference tournament, they get into the NCAA tournament and they take off. There is teams that win their conference tournament Championship. They get into the NCAA tournament, they get nailed in the first round. I don’t know if there is a rule of thumb there.
I think for our guys? — this has been a goal of this group for such a long time, since they have gotten here. Martin Ingelsby, four years, then the Junior class, I mean they have been waiting for this opportunity. I just think motivation and hunger and focus are all going to take care of itself.
Q. I am wondering what the kids have said to you when they saw the pairings, what was their reaction? Is it more just being happy to be there or are they kind of focusing on Xavier a little bit?
COACH BREY: I think? — certainly very excited to see themselves in that select group of 65. But then also starting to think about how to advance and how to be successful. I think this is a group of guys? — the six guys that play our minutes have all played a lot of college basketball and have played in a lot of big games. So I think we can diffuse the happy-to-be-there-quickly and start to think about being successful.
Q. Following up, do you think you might have gotten a higher seed had you gone a little bit further in the Big East?
COACH BREY: I don’t think the conference tournament had much to do with it. I don’t know how much our conference tournament, you know, game against Pitt, I think we put ? — we established ourselves pretty good in the regular season, maybe winning one of the two between Connecticut and Georgetown would have helped more than advancing in the conference tournament. I think we were pretty solidly in position there. It was interesting to hear Mike say today in an interview earlier: Conference tournament play is not going to be that much of a factor for teams that have kind of established themselves. I think we certainly were very well established when you clinch the regular season with a week to go.
Q. You always talk about this team, that team had a good draw. How do you get a good draw in the NCAA? (Inaudible)
COACH BREY: Given where our program has been, that was a heck of a draw as soon as it flashed up. We were very proud of that draw. That is a great point. One thing you got to remember is teams that are in this now are teams that are accustomed to winning. They are usually programs that have been — that have had some tradition, they have maybe won a Championship. There is a lot of pride, so you are playing teams that are — that have confidence and pride and, you know, know how to handle things like this. So you have to be very prepared.
Q. Also you say you had some familiarity with Xavier (inaudible) –?
COACH BREY: Our manager Malcolm Farmer did an unbelievable job of taping games this year. We started our own library and I will bet you he has got a number of Xavier tapes. I need to take a look at the one of — the NIT game last year. I never did watch that one since I got the job but that would be one to look at.
This is a much different team than last year. I think you know, they have got a Championship look about them and so we have to be ready to play.
Playing Friday gives you a little bit more time to get prepared.
JOHN HEISLER: Next up is Martin Ingelsby our Senior Captain. Questions.
Q. How did it feel to see the name flash up there?
MARTIN INGELSBY: We were very excited. We were over Coach Brey’s house, just to see your team name flash up on the NCAA brackets it’s a very exciting time for us, but we have got to get ready for practice now and start getting ready for Xavier.
MARTIN INGELSBY: The beginning of this year, that was our biggest goal to get into the NCAA tournament. We felt going into today that we had a very good chance of getting into the tournament so we are — we were satisfied with that, but we are kind of anxious to see where we are going to play and who we are going to play against but we were very relieved that we were in the tournament. It was a lot of excitement at Coach Brey’s house. Now we have just got to get down to business.
MARTIN INGELSBY: I think we have done a pretty good job. We have got very good ball handlers. We played them last year in the NIT tournament and they come with a lot of pressure so we have just got to be ready to take care of the ball. I think that would be a key part of the game.
Q. How could you put aside the last two weeks (inaudible)? —?
MARTIN INGELSBY: It’s over. Just forget about it. We are excited to get into the NCAA tournament and just got to look at it as we have got one game left to play and we have got to make the best of it. We are really looking forward to getting down to Kansas City and playing against the Xavier team and just forget about what has happened in the past. Just got to focus on Xavier and get good momentum going into that game.
MARTIN INGELSBY: We were a little down after that game but we came back from New York and kind of all got together and talked a little bit on the way back. We were really excited to see where we were going to go into the NCAA tournament, know the game is over in the Big East tournament, we have just got to focus on Xavier and get ready to play in Kansas City.
MARTIN INGELSBY: We were looking at it five, six, seven teams but we really didn’t care as long as we got into the tournament. You play whoever and anybody can beat anybody on any given night, so we are just happy to be in the tournament. Now we have just got to get ready for Xavier.
MARTIN INGELSBY: Yeah, I think there was a little excitement when that bracket came up and we weren’t in it. We were just happy to be in the tournament and Kansas City is a great place.
Q. They were talking about recovering from a couple of games, you guys recover from (inaudible) you had focus on you early, high expectations, some doubters? –?
MARTIN INGELSBY: Definitely want more. We are excited to get in the NCAA tournament, but we definitely want to win a couple of games here. That will be really exciting for this program and we are happy to bring Notre Dame to the NCAA tournament where they haven’t been in 11 years, but we definitely want to make some noise in this thing. We have got to get a few games of practice and get ready and I think we will be prepared.
MARTIN INGELSBY: This is the first time that we have been here. Humphrey has been there before, maybe he can help us with some of that. We just got to play the way we know how to play. Last couple of games we haven’t won, but it is a new tournament for us. We are just getting excited to get down there and playing. We know if we play unselfishly and how we know how we can play and play as a team, we know that anything can happen.
JOHN HEISLER: Ryan Humphrey is next.
Q. Ryan, you have been to the dance and you understand how NCAA games go, that somebody might have to tip in the winning basket at the last minute of the game (inaudible)–?
RYAN HUMPHREY: I think so because it is a long season and each team is going to have its ups and downs. It is just how you bounce back from them. I think we have done an exceptional job on letting the bad games go behind us and move on forward on what we have to do.
Q. (Inaudible) you have been there and must know how to handle this tournament?? — (inaudible) –?
RYAN HUMPHREY: I think that it is attitude and preparation in practice because if you practice good and crisp you will play good and crisp. So I think that now it is said and done, if you lose I think everyone is going to be on their P’s and Q’s in practice now.
Q. (Inaudible) are you relieved to finally go out there and (inaudible) –?
RYAN HUMPHREY: You kind of think that but you want to go farther along than just getting in there. I think we have a lot of competitors on our team and a lot of people with high expectations on the team so I don’t think that we are a group of guys that would just be satisfied by just getting there.
Q. What I meant is (inaudible)? –?
RYAN HUMPHREY: It’s good to be in there because this is what you work for all year. When you have to get up and go run, lift weights, this is what it is for.
Q. Question regarding practice (inaudible) talk a little bit about how practice has been (inaudible) –?
RYAN HUMPHREY: I think we have been business as usual. I think Coach has done a great job on keeping us focused on what we have to do. We can’t just be down because we lost a couple of games. We have to move forward and handle our business at hand.
JOHN HEISLER: I think we are all set. Thank you very much.
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