Coach Few, Dan Dickau and Cory Violette at Wednesday's post-practice press conference.
March 13, 2002
Gonzaga Head Coach Mark Few
On inside game and rebounding against Wyoming:
"Well I think that's a huge key in this game. I don't know where the stats ended up, I think we were one or two, definitely in the top three all year at rebound differential so obviously that's a big part of who we are and who Wyoming is, so I think that will be a real key statistic tomorrow. I also think individual players like Marcus Bailey and Dan (Dickau) are great players but I think the inside game has been a real key for both clubs all year. How we play inside has always been a big determinate of how we end up the game.
On Gonzaga's past NCAA success:
"I think one of the best things we've done, I hope, is that we weren't satisfied initially with that first run to the Elite Eight and we didn't look at it as a pinnacle. I think this year our team has done more Gonzaga firsts as far as the rankings and I think we set a record for consecutive wins. We set a record for most wins in the season with 29. We're going to keep trying to grow. The thing I'm most proud of is we've been able to sustain this level instead of dropping off like most people thought we would.
On Gonzaga now being the favorite:
"We've come into this thing and played, and played pretty darned well. The one thing that has prepared us for that scenario all year is that we've been ranked all year. We've really been on everybody's radar that we've played and they've come after us. Every gym we've played in has been a sell-out. We've faced every opponent's best effort and I think that's really prepared us for what's happened here.
"At this point, regardless of where you are seeded you are going to have to throw out the seeds and just play. That's one thing our program's always done a great job of, understanding that when the ball goes up seeding doesn't matter. The color of the uniforms doesn't matter. You've got to play or you're done. I think we understand that. If it initially upset our guys it upset our guys, but now they're focused in and ready to go."
Center Cory Violette
On his neck injury:
"I've got a really stiff neck right now, I can't turn my head that well. It's probably from all the flying around and sleeping on it wrong. But I should get it taken care of tonight.
Yesterday I was fine and today I moved around quite a bit and it seemed that when it cooled off, that's when it really locked up on me."
On the team's chances of beating Wyoming:
"I think obviously our team believes wholeheartedly that we're going to win the game. But none of us is looking over Wyoming at all. They've probably got some of the best big men we've faced all season. They'll be a load down low, so we're going to be ready, but I think we're all confident."
Guard Dan Dickau
On the West Coast Conference being underrated:
"I think our conference is extremely underrated. Granted some of the teams have not so great records, but at the same time, a couple of those programs are in transition, getting new coaches, and they're turning things around. And they play us extremely hard and they play us extremely physical. So it wasn't like we ever walked into a gym and were handed a 40-point win. We had to work for our wins no matter where we went. And I think Pepperdine is an extremely good team that doesn't get all that much recognition on the national scene, but they're pretty darn good."
On being a favorite in this year's NCAA tournament:
"We're going to approach this game the way we've approached every single game this year and that's to be the most aggressive team. We've gone into 32 different games this year and come out on top 29 times. And it seems that the games where we're out there being the attacker, and the aggressive one, we came out on top."
On teammate Blake Stepp:
"Blake's had an up and down year and it started with the knee surgery last spring. It's a pretty intensive surgery and he did everything he could to come back at the start of the season. And he was living with it in the early season with practice and game times, but he started to play better down the stretch for us. I think his knee is starting to feel a little bit better even though he still has his days when it kind of hurts. Especially if you look at that conference tournament, those last two games. It was unbelievable how he stepped up, hit big shots and as another player on your team, you like to see other guys who want to take big shots and be able to hit them and Blake's a guy who can do both."