Elizabeth and I are going to pledge, personally, one dollar for every fan in attendance. I'm hoping to write a check for $10,000 that night. We are encouraging others to either match that gift or just give whatever they can. Maybe it's 50 cents or a quarter for everybody in attendance. Hopefully that can be something that will motivate others to do the same thing.
We have a great chance to be an NCAA basketball tournament team if we take care of business night in and night out in our league. Records are deceiving. You can schedule your way into a 10-1 or 11-0 record. I have learned that you're not going to trick the NCAA tournament selection committee.
We wanted to take advantage of an opportunity if it was there. We didn't want to just make the game an absolute helter-skelter, run-up-and- down. But we didn't want to turn opportunities down either. And we had a bunch of them.
I wasn't trying to get a foul. I don't know that I was worried that I did or not. I felt like if I got one, it might not always be a negative thing at that point. I was just a little frustrated at some calls.
The fact we don't play on the first night of the tournament is big. That was important for us for a number of reasons. No. 1, it gives you another day or rest. No. 2, it's one more feather in your cap as far as how you're perceived by the (NCAA) selection committee.
The difference tonight was the defense in the first 15 minutes of the second half. I thought Auburn kept us off balance in the first half with the 1-3-1 zone. We weren't taking good shots. We didn't do a good job getting the ball around the basket. We didn't do a lot of things well.
No question, it will be nervous. In 2001, I walked out that door right over there. I had 25 people tell me, 'You're a lock. You're in, you're this, you're that.' And you know? When you've been shunned like that, you're a little nervous.
Really in the last two, three or four years we've been as aggressive as anybody in the country with our non-conference schedule. I hope that doesn't hurt us. I hope that all of a sudden that's not used against you, because we could have played three easier teams in December and we'd be 20-9 and everyone will be celebrating.
That was the good (side). There was no question. The last two games he was something like 2-for-15 from the field. But for us to be good, we have to give him the shots when he's open. You just have to take the bad with the good. He had one of those performances that's phenomenal.
You're not allowed to be tired. That's against the rules. That's not an option. They know what happened at Arkansas. They know what happened against Kentucky. They just didn't want that to happen anymore.
This particular team has made me very proud of them. The reason is, they certainly could have accepted the fact that losing a great player, a proven player for us, a guy that we all knew could get baskets in key points in the game. Lose that guy and the easiest thing to do is build in excuses.