Utah State head coach Stew Morrill, senior guard Jared Quayle and junior forward Tai Wesley address the media Sunday evening after the NCAA Tournament Selection show announced that Utah State was selected as a No. 12 seed and will face fifth-seeded Texas A&M in Friday’s NCAA South Regional at Spokane, Wash. at 3 p.m. MDT.
<strong>Utah State Head Coach Stew Morrill</strong>
OPENING COMMENT…”Well they made us sweat it, number one that was pretty tense in out locker room. We wanted to do a private function for that very reason. You just never know. To me, the history is really something that I look at, having grown up in this state. When you talk about Utah State having been in the NCAA Tournament now, this is the 19th appearance. We have been fortunate to go seven times since I have been here. So, we are pretty proud of that. Whenever I boast about the NCAA Tournament, they always remind me that we haven’t won very many games, but it is because you get awfully tough draws. We certainly have a really tough opponent. I have seen them in the past and I know how much talent they have and how well-coached they are. I will know a lot more when I get some film and start working on them.”ON GETTING AN AT-LARGE BID…”Now we are just so thrilled and elated that our 17-game winning streak, our regular season championship, winning the WAC by a three-game margin, was rewarded. When you look at eight teams from non-BCS conferences getting at-large bids it is a big step up from last year when there were only four. I think that is extremely positive for leagues like the WAC and schools like Utah State.”ON PLAYING ON FRIDAY…”To me that is really a nice thing. You are going to be excited whenever you play, but it is a great thing that you get to stay out West. It is very positive that after playing three games, we can catch our breath a little bit before we leave. We would have been leaving on Tuesday, and here it is Sunday evening. By playing on Friday, it gives us a chance to physically try to get some rest. We won’t practice tomorrow. We need a day off. I am not sure that we could have done that if we played on Thursday.ON RECEIVING A NO. 12 SEED…”When you are No. 12 seed you know what kind of opponent you are going to get, but being in is huge. These kids deserve to be in the NCAA Tournament. What they have done this year, nothing against the NIT, but with what this group has done, it would have been a let down. They deserve to be in the NCAA Tournament and they are. There are some happy, happy Aggies right now.”ON THE HECTIC WEEKEND…”It is crazy for a guy my age. It is the way these conference tournaments are. What is kind of interesting to me, that made it a little difficult is that after we win against Boise State, there were a lot of people that had us in and then we beat LA Tech by a big margin and then we are a ‘lock.’ Well then everything started to change with the games being played with all the different winners. Now all of a sudden we are back on the bubble; who knows. That is a lot of emotion for all of us to go through. I think that it is great for the WAC to have two teams in. I don’t think that we played poorly against New Mexico State, we just lost.”ON WHAT THE WAC HAS DONE FOR USU…”You remember days like this for a lifetime. My lifetime is a lot shorter than their’s is at this point. You are always going to remember days like today; awfully fun days. We have been in the WAC five years. We have had three NCAA Tournaments and two at-large bids. One thing that I was a little bit harsh about last time when we got an at-large bid, I said ‘why did we leave the Big West.’ This is why we came to the WAC. This is what the WAC can do for Utah State. It can give us a chance to get another bid in the NCAA Tournament.”ON WHERE THIS TEAM RANKS…”I like this team; they deserve to be in the NCAA Tournament. This is a great group of kids. I have had 24 teams as a head coach; I like this team. They show up every day. They are great acting kids. They don’t care about stats. They care about winning. They share the ball; they play hard. They are coachable. They are a great group to be around everyday. It is what it should all be about. College basketball should be all about this kind of group. They are good kids, good students and good citizens. It is a very special thing to me.”
<strong>Utah State Senior Guard Jared Quayle</strong>
THOUGHTS ON GETTING INTO NCAA TOURNAMENT…”We’re excited, it really means a lot. It’s my last year playing basketball here at Utah State and I couldn’t ask for more; we’ve had a great year. We deserve to be in the tournament. We’re going to work hard and have a good week of practice and we’re going to go into Friday’s game with a lot of excitement and play our hardest. We’re going to do what we can to keep this going.” ON SECOND TRIP TO NCAA TOURNAMENT…”There’s a lot of us that were there last year; a lot of us played and a lot of us have experience (in the tournament). We won’t be as star-struck. It’s a big deal and basically what it comes down to is that we’ve got to go in there and play basketball.” ON FACING ANOTHER AGGIE OPPONENT…”When I heard Aggies I was excited but when they said of Texas A&M I was disappointed. I wasn’t sure we were going to get in it; it was down to the last bracket and there were only a few spots left and a lot of bubble teams had already got in. I was pretty nervous but right as they said our name a big relief came over me and I was glad.” “I’ve watched them a couple times on TV but I’ve never really imagined that we’d play them, but I know they’re athletic. They come from a very good conference and it’ll be a good game.” ON COACH MORRILL’S EMOTIONS…”He’s a great coach and I couldn’t ask for more in playing for him the last two years. He’s taught me more than I could have imagined; just his love for the game, his intensity and his love for his players. He gets on us but that’s what coaches do, they get on us because they love us and they want us to make us better. We’re glad that we were able to do this for him and get back to the NCAA.” ABOUT PLAYING IN SPOKANE…”It’ll be nice, and hopefully we can get a lot of our fans up there and a lot of our family so they can support us. Travel will be short which is always nice. I hear it’s a good place to play.” THOUGHTS ABOUT LAST NIGHT AND GOING INTO TODAY…”We were hoping to win that so we could get an automatic bid, but we played a really good team and they knocked down some shots and they came out on top. Coming into today we were a little nervous, you never know what’s going to happen and you never know what the committee will decide. It’s a relief right now, I’m excited and ready to get playing some basketball.”
<strong>Utah State Junior Forward Tai Wesley</strong>
THOUGHTS ON GETTING INTO NCAA TOURNAMENT…”I’m just overwhelmed, I almost couldn’t keep my emotions in check. When we saw that we were going back into the NCAA Tournament it just feels really good. Our hard work is paying off.” THOUGHTS ON PLAYING TEXAS A&M…”The only thing that I remember is that they are athletic. I haven’t really watched them and I don’t remember anything about them really. I know they are going to be good and we have our work cut out for us.” ON SECOND TRIP TO NCAA TOURNAMENT…”It’ll be different, most definitely. We were kind of star-struck the first time we went to the NCAA tournament last year. I think this year it’s going to be a little different feeling. It’ll be more of a feeling of we belong and we can play with anybody in the nation, and that’s the attitude we’re going to have going into it.” ON PLAYING IN SPOKANE…”I guess we couldn’t ask for a better place; especially for (junior guard) Pooh Williams. He is from that area and I’m sure he will have a lot of family there and I’m sure that will be good for him and for us. Hopefully we’ll draw quite a few people out there. We couldn’t be more excited about Spokane.” HOW IS THE NOSE?…”It’s getting better. I don’t really know what else to say about it. I’ll get it checked out tomorrow and see what things we have to do to keep me on the court. I keep getting the joke that I look more handsome with my nose looking like this. Whatever I got to do to play I’m going to do.” OVERALL THOUGHTS ABOUT THIS YEAR’S TEAM…”It seems like this year has been so special. The chemistry we have this year is very unique and it’s nothing like I’ve been a part of before. We’ve got a lot of experience and we’ve been together for quite a while. You get kind of choked up when you think about what we’ve put in and now we’re getting a little bit of a reward in going into the NCAA.”-USU-