Colonials Tune Out Madness to Maintain Winning Ways into NCAAs
GW Men's Basketball's Thursday Open Practice and Media Availability at the 2014 NCAA Tournament
March 20, 2014
As the madness of March descended upon Raleigh, N.C., on Thursday, two words encapsulated GW men's basketball's open practice at PNC Arena: status quo.
While much of the media focused on alternative storylines, the Colonials focused on the task at hand - an NCAA Tournament second round meeting against Memphis on Friday.
"We try to worry about George Washington basketball and really feel that we have a great opportunity to win a couple games and go as long as we will take us," said graduate student guard Maurice Creek, who enters his second career NCAA Tournament as GW's scoring leader at 14.3 points per game. "We're just worrying about winning basketball games here for our school."
Sophomore point guard Joe McDonald also stressed the importance of sticking to routine amongst the added glitz and glamour of college basketball's biggest stage. "We want to keep it the same as if it was any other game that we're going to play on Friday," said McDonald. "Of course, there's a little more media involved, but everything else, we're trying to keep it as normal and keep it within us, keep everything the same."
Entering his third NCAA Tournament, first at GW, senior forward Isaiah Armwood echoed McDonald's comments: "Just continue to do the things that we do, prepare the same way in practices before games. Keep everything the same so once the ball goes up, this is any other game. We got 40 minutes to play basketball. It's no different."
GW is making its 11th appearance in the NCAA Tournament - and first since three consecutive trips from 2005-07 - 21 years removed from the program's deepest postseason run to the 1993 NCAA Sweet 16.
Up first for GW is a difficult matchup against eighth-seeded Memphis. A win against Memphis could set the stage for a meeting with top-seeded Virginia, which faces No. 16 seed Coastal Carolina in Friday's late game in Raleigh. Should the Colonials and Cavaliers advance, it would set up a rematch of GW's first-ever recorded intercollegiate contest 100 seasons ago on Jan. 26, 1907.
Coach Mike Lonergan summed up the opener of his 11th career trip to the Big Dance succinctly. "Very excited to be here. Our university is excited to be here as well. It's a great opportunity for us and our players, and we know we have a formidable opponent in Memphis, but we're excited about playing tomorrow night."