Mizzou Selection Sunday Quotes

<i>Frank Haith.</i>

Frank Haith.

March 17, 2013

COLUMBIA, Mo. - The Mizzou men's basketball team and head coach Frank Haith took time to meet with the media Sunday evening at Mizzou Arena after being selected as a No. 9 seed in the 2013 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament. The appearance for the Tigers is their fifth consecutive berth and 26th overall selection. Below is what Haith and his team had to say about the first-round matchup with Colorado State.

Mizzou Selection Sunday Quotes
Mizzou Head Coach Frank Haith

Opening statement...
"Obviously we're extremely excited about getting back to the NCAA tournament. We play a Colorado State team that we're going to learn a lot more about tonight, but from what I do know: I know that Larry Eustachy is a really good coach. I know they're big; they're one of the better rebounding teams in the country. Colton Iverson was at Minnesota and at my time at Miami we played against him and I know he's a load inside. We know we have our work cut out for us, but we're excited about being in a tournament and Lexington. Going back to a place we've already played in their building where they've got great fans. In this league, there are no fans greater than theirs, than ours, but they know basketball so we're excited about getting down there."

On team leadership...
"To be honest with you, I think Alex Oriakhi has taken a big part of leadership as the year's gone on. He's really been our vocal guy and playing with a sense of urgency. Not to say anything about Laurence or Phil, but I think Alex Oriakhi has really stepped up. So he's a guy who I think we've relied on to be that locker room guy and be an emotional leader in terms of being an encouraging guy in our locker room."



On playing a team with matching strengths...
"I think that could be true until I watch them. It looks like it on paper. They're big, they rebound. I know Larry's teams in the past, they play a lot of motion. They're aggressive. They play hard. His teams always play hard, but we'll watch some tape. I think the biggest thing is that you would have thought going back to last year's season going 30-5 and we lose, getting back into the tournament is a great feeling when losing all those guys. I think our players, our coaching staff deserve a lot of credit for getting back into the tournament because we see a lot of teams didn't get into this tournament. It's not that easy. We're all very excited to get a chance to continue to play."

On lesson's from last year's tournament..
"Well you asked those guys that, but only one guy played in that game and that was Phil Pressey. I think it's a new team and we're going to go at it. A lot of guys haven't played in the tournament like Keion Bell and Earnest Ross. They're extremely excited about the opportunity to play and the chance to compete when the lights are the brightest."

On moving into tournament play...
"I thought we had a sense of urgency in the conference tournament. Obviously, Ole Miss played great down the stretch and beat us, but I think this team has been playing great this last half of the year. I'm really encouraged by how we've been playing and now we compete for the National Championship. I think our guys are excited about the lights being the brightest. When you lose, you're done. There's no other game when you lose one, but I also want our guys to be very appreciative of the opportunity. The way you respect that opportunity is how hard you go at it in our prep work and how hard you compete when you get out there."

On preparing for Colorado State...
"There's work going on right now. After 20-something years in this business and a lot of time watching NCAA tournament brackets and this was about the quickest I've seen it. We were up there first. We went to work right away getting our guys organized. Our film crew, our managers, have been taping a lot of games and preparing a lot of stuff for me when I get out of here so we'll have some stuff to look at tonight."

On playing in Lexington...
"I think it's a positive that we've played there this year and I said this earlier about the Kentucky fans. I think they were classy, even in us losing there, and they did a good job. That's a historic building and I thought our guys handled themselves well; we just didn't win the game. It's a place close enough where our fan base can get there so we're excited about all of those things."

On the SEC getting three teams into the tournament...
"I think with their numbered seeding, it looked like Ole Miss wouldn't have gotten in if they didn't win. That's a little disappointing, but it makes me very grateful for what we did. With our nonleague schedule and how we won and how we competed, but I thought Tennessee and Kentucky warranted some consideration. I don't know how close they were to getting in or not getting in, but it is a little surprising. I thought our league was good enough to get a couple more teams in."

On seeing Missouri pop up on the screen...
"I never take it for granted. I know how excited I am. Yesterday was a tough day because it takes me a day to get over a tough loss, but I couldn't sleep and was excited about this afternoon. It's so hard. I don't think people realize how hard it is to make the NCAA tournament. It's not that easy. There are a lot of great teams and a lot of great tradition not making the tournament. I'm very proud of this team and this program for getting back into the tournament after last season."

On locker room atmosphere before the selection show...
"I wanted our guys to be really focused about the selection show and really enjoying that moment, but they're going to lift right now. They have weights. It's now about getting us ready to compete."

On taking talented individuals and turning them into a team...
"It has been a challenge, but it's been a challenge that's come together because we're still playing, Colorado State obviously has a veteran team, but I know Colton Iverson was a transfer. He played for Minnesota because we played when I was at Miami and he was at Minnesota. I don't know the rest of their team and personnel and how many of those guys transferred or are straight seniors. They're a veteran team and we're a veteran team and that's what we're going at."

Senior Center Alex Oriakhi

On facing Colorado State...
"I think this will be a great test for us. I've always said rebounding comes down to heart and will, so this will test us."

On how his past experiences in the NCAA Tournament will help his teammates...
"I'll just tell them that if you're fortunate enough to get past the first game, then the rest of them are very hard. You're going to play extremely talented teams. Just take it one day at a time, take it one game at a time, one possession at a time. Don't think too far ahead, because I wouldn't count anybody out. In these tournaments, anything can happen."

On being a senior and this being his final NCAA Tournament...
"Every day I keep telling myself that my days are numbered. I keep reminding myself how I want to be remembered. I think about that every day. One game and you're done. All I know is that I'm going to leave it all out there on the floor, play as hard as I can and motivate my teammates as well. It's definitely a real feeling."

Senior Forward Laurence Bowers

On getting into the tournament...
"Obviously it's exciting. A lot of teams don't get this opportunity. Whenever you see your name pop up, it's joyous. Like coach said, we're playing against Colorado State. They're a great team. I haven't looked at the film, but I happen to know Colton (Iverson), from playing AAU together. I'm just excited about the opportunity so we're going to work hard and get prepared."

On getting teammates prepared...
"It's extreme preparation because you really don't know this team that you're about to play. I know our coaches are going to do a great job. It's just a matter of telling them how much you have to play with a sense of urgency because if you lose you're done. None of us want our season to be done. I really think we have a team that can go on a special run."

Junior Guard Phil Pressey

On getting into the tournament...
"It's a tremendous honor. Whenever you get a chance to extend our postseason play, you should feel blessed. I'm excited for it and can't wait to play Colorado State on Thursday."

On learning from last years' experience...
"You just have to be ready. No matter who you play, anybody can be beat anybody. Everybody brings their A-game to the NCAA tournament. Everybody has that dream of winning the whole thing. Our mindset is that we're going to win the whole thing, so we're going to bring our A-game just like everybody else."

On seeding expectations...
"If it were up to me, I would be in the gym shooting somewhere and somebody could come tell me where we are. It didn't really matter to me. You have to play everybody sooner or later, no matter what seed you are. I feel like the only thing you control is your game, no matter."

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