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#AztecMBB Press Conference Quotes


March 16, 2014

San Diego -

Head coach Steve Fisher

On Selection Sunday:
"I told our players in the locker room beforehand that it can't be fake energy and excitement. You have to know this is a privilege and not a right to play in this event. I remember our first opportunity to play in the tournament (at San Diego State) we went ballistic when we got in. And then we went crazy to get in the NIT. We're in our fifth-straight year in the NCAA Tournament but you still get goose bumps when you walk out in anticipation of where you're going to go, who you're going to play and that sort of thing. So I was like our kids. I was nervous, excited, and not I'm anxious."

On New Mexico State:
"Most people know Marvin Menzies, the head coach at New Mexico State, was on my original staff at San Diego State. He's a great friend. I've watched him play several times and we talk regularly. So Marvin and I talked a couple weeks ago and I'm sure we'll talk again wishing we didn't have to play one another, but we'll be competitors for one game. On his staff is one of my first recruits - Eric Sanders. So there will be a San Diego State connection when we play New Mexico State, and we will look forward to the challenge. They've got the twin towers who are brothers. One is 7-foot-6 and the other is 7-2. They're a good team."

On what his and coach Menzies discussions are like:
"When we talk, we talk about generalities with our team. He's seen us play, we've seen him play. Tomorrow we will have a snap-shot for our players to show them just enough, not too much (of New Mexico State), so they'll be ready to go."

On if he wanted to go to Spokane:
"We were really hoping that we stayed out west, and we got there. We're in the West Region, we're going to Spokane, and we're very excited. We're thrilled that we're in the west."

On being a No. 4 seed:
"We're excited about it, which gives you an opportunity to stay in your region. But all games are hard, and New Mexico State will be good, and our winner will have a really hard game in the next one. So we're pleased with where we're going, we're pleased with the seed and we're looking forward to playing."

On losing the Mountain West Tournament but still getting a No. 4 seed:
"That's how we got into our first (NCAA Tournament), we had to win the MW Tournament to get there. We have been one of those teams that didn't want a crowd to come in (for Selection Sunday) because we weren't sure if we were going to get in, we were on the bubble. It feels good this year and the past three years to know we're getting in, just wondering against who, where and what seed we will be. We're proud of what we've done and we're determined to continue to do it. And now what we want to do, for ourselves first, is we want to win. We want to win in the tournament. And what (the MW) needs, between ourselves and New Mexico, we need to go in and win some games and then have people talking saying, `Look what the Mountain West is doing.' That's the next step for our conference. I'm more concerned about San Diego State, but we need to go in there, prove that we're good and win."

On what he expects from his team:
"We're going to play two games in Spokane, and our goal is to then come home and prepare for who we would play in Anaheim. So you go up there expecting to win and expecting to play two games and win. That's our goal. You have to win the first one to get to the second one, so we're worried about New Mexico State right now."

On having the CBS camera crew following them around during the tournament:
"We did a behind the scenes preview with our 34-3 team (in 2010-11). (The camera crew) was very respectful, they were non-invasive. You didn't know they were around, they were like a fly on the wall. We really haven't talked about it a great deal with our kids. They came in early and did some things with our players, so they were aware they were there. We're hoping they're going to follow us for two weeks."

Senior guard Xavier Thames

On his talk with New Mexico State assistant coach Aerick Sanders:
"I talked with him a couple days ago, he said, `I think we might play you guys.' We're playing them now, so we'll see."

On what he knows about New Mexico State:
"I don't know much about them. I know they have a big 7-5 kid on their team. I don't know anything about them. The only thing I know is they have a 7-5 center on their team."

On possibly playing Oklahoma again, and comfort level with playing a team you are familiar with:
"We have to get past the first game. If we do play Oklahoma, coach Fisher knows Lon Kruger real well so we will be ready for them. We have to see if they win first."

On the advantage of having NCAA Tournament experience:
"It's real big. I think everyone on the team except Josh (Davis) and the freshman have played in the NCAA Tournament."

On advice he gives to players who haven't played in the tournament:
"It's a great experience, take it all in. You don't know if you'll ever be able to do it in your life again. Enjoy the moment and have fun."

On if he was surprised with New Mexico's low seed for NCAA Tournament:
"Yes, especially because they beat us twice, but that's the road to March Madness. You never know what's going to happen."

On the anticipation and waiting for the selection show:
"That's what we play for. You want to get into March and the NCAA Tournament. We are happy to be playing right now."

On playing someone without New Mexico in their name:
"Exactly. That is what I was thinking at first too. We have to come out and play against a good New Mexico State team that just won the WAC Tournament. We have to be ready."

On if the NCAA Tournament seeding was fair:
"Yes, I think so. We were projected to be a 3 or a 4 seed. We lost yesterday so that probably bumped us to a four." "I think it was a good seed for us. We played a tough non-conference schedule. Won our regular season, beat New Mexico, and got to the championship game of the tournament. I thought we were going to be a 3 or a 4."

On if he thought they could have a season like this:
"Yes. Since the spring and summer time I knew we were going to have a good team. This was expected."

On his reaction when the seeding came out:
"Excitement. We have been working all year long for this so to hear our name called is exciting. It's my senior year. The whole team is excited. We can't wait to get out there."

Sophomore forward Winston Shepard

On his reaction:
I'm just happy that we made it. We're in the tournament and got a higher seed than last year. I don't know too much about New Mexico State except they have a really big center. Other than that, I'm looking forward to going up there and getting a win."

On what it was like sitting there waiting:
"We didn't have to wait too long. It was a little nerve-racking just wondering where we're going to go.

On New Mexico State's center Sim Bhullar:
"I know him from the AAU circuit. I know he is big, so I hope Skylar (Spencer) hits the weights."

On not knowing much about New Mexico State:
"The good thing about the NCAA Tournament is you don't know that much about the other team. It makes it a little more fair, opposed to conference (play) where they know everything you run (offensively). So we'll just have to watch all the tape that we can and get ready for Thursday."

On if he's surprised they're a No. 4 seed:
"I personally thought we would be a No. 3 seed, but I think we got a fair draw."

On if the loss to New Mexico gives them extra motivation:
"Absolutely. We don't take losses lightly, but we put ourselves in a position where we didn't need to win. We still wanted to get the win, it would have been our 30th of the season, but we still have a chance to get our 30th win on Thursday."