Everyone Together Now: 'One Game At A Time'
Dave Neal looked absolutely exhausted at the conclusion of his 15-minute session with the media earlier this afternoon at Comcast Center. And for good reason.
Neal began by talking about how important the N.C. State game was for this Maryland squad. Then he acknowledged that, yes, in the back of his mind -- and likely the minds of everyone of his teammates -- he will remain cognizant of the fact the Terps likely have to win at least two games at the ACC tournament in Atlanta.
Maryland plays N.C. State in the first round Thursday night. If the Terps win, they would face Wake Forest in the quarterfinals on Friday.
Sure, Neal mixed in some thoughts about the team's need to improve its zone offense, why zone defense are sometimes difficult to crack, how tough the Virginia loss was and how formidable an opponent Wake Forest would be if the Terps were afforded the opportunity to face the Demon Deacons again.
But he would always return to the same phrase. "We just have to take it one game at a time," he said.
When Neal stood to leave, he had enunciated the sentiment 11 times.
A few minutes later, Gary Williams entered the media room and took his turn in front of the assembled cameras, microphones, recorders and notepads.
"Well, obviously you have to beat N.C. State, and that's our only focus," Williams said. "You don't get two wins if you don't beat N.C. State. I mean, realistically, where everything is right now, I'd say two wins would put us in good shape. But we're going down there to win the tournament just like we did in 2004. That's the goal. But talking about the NCAA tournament and whatever, probably two wins would put us in good shape."
How, though, do you keep the players focused on Thursday night's game against N.C. State when the whole team knows it will take at least two wins to re-enter NCAA tournament discussion?
"If all you people never talked about it, it would help," Williams said with a grin. "With the Internet now, you can't keep it away from them. So you approach it. You don't act like it's not there. You talk about it a little bit. But they understand it. They're college students; they understand that you have to win against N.C. State. That's the whole key to everything."
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