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March 23, 2012
NC State's opponent in the Sweet 16 is one of the most storied programs in the history of college basketball, Kansas. The Jayhawks are one of only five programs that have recorded at least 90 wins in the NCAA Tournament and they have claimed eight straight conference titles. KU is 15-4 while playing in the tournament as a No. 2 seed, but NC State point guard Lorenzo Brown isn't much for history lessons.
"I don't know too much about their history," he said. "I just want to play, I try not to worry about history and what went on in the past. I'm just ready for now.
"I think if you think about what went on in teams' past, you'll get caught up in thinking, 'I hope we win this game,' 'what if we lose?' I don't think that's a good mindset to have. I think we just need to go out there and play hard to get the job done."
So far, Brown's philosophy has been working. The sophomore averaged 14.5 points, 7.5 rebounds, 7.5 assists and 1.5 steals per game in the opening two rounds of the Big Dance. Never one to be selfish on the hardwood or even away from it, the point man passes the credit off to his teammates.
"I can't take any credit for it, it's my teammates getting open and hitting shots," Brown said. "I'm sure anybody can pass the ball."
The 6-foot-5, 186-pounder has emerged as one of the nation's most dangerous all-around players in his first full year running the show, but Brown refuses to take all of the credit once again.
"At the beginning, it was definitely tough and I would get kind of frustrated in practice because I wasn't really used to [being the point guard in college], but Coach did a good job of teaching me how to run this position," he said.
The coaching staff has also done a great job of instilling confidence in their troops, which has helped the Pack reach the Sweet 16 for the first time in seven years.
"He's definitely a positive input for us," Brown said. "Nobody actually thought we would make it this far, or that we would make it as far as we did in the ACC Tournament, but [Gottfried] believed in us and the team fought and believed; that gave us an extra push.
"He has always told us, 'don't give up, we still have a chance.' There was a lot of chatter going around about how we need to win this game or that game to get into the tournament, but he said nobody actually knows what we need to do. We didn't know, either, so it kind of helped us. He's always a positive guys and that's what we like about Coach Gottfried."
Why did Brown and his teammates buy into what the first-year coach was saying?
"He's our coach and we think that whatever he says goes," Brown explained. "We just follow him.
"I probably didn't recognize how much confidence we had since the ACC Tournament. Once my teammates started believing in us, it just kind of clicked."
So far, Gottfried has not led the Pack wrong with wins over San Diego State and Georgetown, and the latter probably stands as the biggest college win for everybody on the roster at this point in their careers.
"On a scale of 1-10, I'd give it a 10," Brown said of his team's third-round win over the Hoyas. "I mean it's Georgetown. I watched them play this year and they won some big games. They were a pretty big team, I don't think I've seen a team that was that big, except for Syracuse. That was a great win for us."