Stauskas: "We're excited, man!"

Nik Stauskas / USA TODAY Sports

Michigan sophomore Nik Stauskas discusses the Wolverines' selection as the #2 seed in the Midwest Region.


Question:  You guys are the number two seed, talk about a little bit.  You guys are going to be in Milwaukee. 

Nik Stauskas: “You know we worked hard all year and all summer to get ourselves in this position, so we can’t complain about that.” 

Question:  How much of thought are you going to put into the team so you can potentially say it’s not just in the first round but also seeing Duke on that side of the bracket, Louisville?

Nik Stauskas:  “It’s fun to look at and see possible options but with the tournament, you never know.  You can’t assume anything.  We’re really focused on this first game.  We’re just trying to get a win every round.” 

Question:  The game against Duke, is that something that popped out at you, given how you guys did back in Durham? 

Nik Stauskas:  “Obviously that was a tough game but if we got the opportunity to play against them, I’m sure we’d all be excited and we could possibly learn from the mistakes that we made.” 

Question:  Did you look at that bracket and see how loaded it is?  Does it seem pretty loaded to you? 

Nik Stauskas:  “No.  There’s a lot of good teams.  This is the NCAA tournament.  You can’t expect to be playing bad teams.  There is a lot of talent up there.” 

Question:  How much talk was there this week about one seed and you guys were trying to get that? 

Nik Stauskas:  “Really none at all.  That wasn’t really mentioned.  We want to win this tournament and we understood that if we won we could possibly be a one seed but we weren’t too concerned about that.  We were happy with the two seed.” 

Question:  I remember last year, Nik, the team seemed to really get better throughout the entire tournament.  Do you still feel this team has room to grow and get better? 

Nik Stauskas:  “No doubt.  I think defensively we have a lot of improvements to make.  I think throughout the tournament we can hopefully see those.” 

Question:  You guys didn’t have three games in three days in awhile.  Is there kind of a mental, emotional, and physical toll that that takes for you at this point in the season? 

Nik Stauskas:  “A little bit but everyone’s got to go through it.  Michigan State went through it today.  We can’t make any excuses about that.  We’ve just got to rest up tomorrow and then get ready for the tournament.” 

Question:  What do you know about Wofford? 

Nik Stauskas:  “I know they’re from Carolina.  Other than that, I don’t know much.” 

Question:  Which Carolina? 

Nik Stauskas:  “South Carolina? (Laughter)” 

Question:  How would you describe the reaction in the room? 

Nik Stauskas:  “Everyone was excited.  Obviously our bracket is a tough bracket, but we are excited with the position we’re in.  We are just looking forward to watching some film and getting ready for them.”  

Question:  Does it help at all that you look at some of the conference tournaments and you lose like maybe on a Saturday and you have a full day and then you wait until Sunday with your bracket.  This is kind of a very odd setup though, you lose two minutes later you know what’s next. 

Nik Stauskas:  “Last year was a lot different.  We were kind of waiting around, waiting for the decision to be made.  Obviously, we just finished losing so it’s kind of tough to have this way but we’re excited.” 

Question:  Sorry I missed this at the start but any disappointment in not being the number one seed? 

Nik Stauskas:  “Not at all.  We worked hard all year to put ourselves in this position and whether it was a one seed or a two seed, we’re happy.” 

Question:  It is a tough bracket then. 

Nik Stauskas:  “No doubt.  There are a lot of talented teams out there.  Right now, we can’t look too far ahead.  We’ve just got to focus on winning our first game and then from there on out, we will focus on the next one.” 

Question:  It’s up Thursday, kind of a quick turn around, just two days at home.  Do you anticipate working on Wofford on both of those days or what about Texas or Arizona State

Nik Stauskas:  “We won’t look ahead at all.  It will all be about Wofford for the next couple of days.” 

Question:  How different is it for you, this experience?  Last year at the first NCAA tournament... was it different this time? 

Nik Stauskas:  “You know, I think with the tradition this program has seen, you kind of start to expect that you are going to be in a tournament.  It doesn’t mean we are going to take this for granted but you know, all year, the tournament was kind of an expectation for all of us, so the fact that we’re here now, we’re just happy, we’re just excited and ready to go.” 

Question:  Is it kind of weird, two seed history oh-hum, most people would be happy or ecstatic with a two seed or is it just some spillover from the game? 

Nik Stauskas:  “Maybe a little bit slower from the game but at the same time, that tradition that Coach Beilein said, it is kind of expected now.  We’ve had a great season.  We weren’t disappointment but we weren’t super excited.  We are excited to just play the game and get going.” 

Question:  What is the main thing you guys need to do well to advance in this tournament? 

Nik Stauskas:  “We just got to get better defensively.  We’ve shown times where we can really defend and then there are other times where we completely break down.  If we can be consistent defensively I think we will be alright because offensively we take care of ourselves most of the time.” 

Question:  Nik I hate to ask you this over again, just talk a little bit about what happened today. 

Nik Stauskas:  “They were the more aggressive team from the very start.  They got every loose ball, every rebound.  They were just all over the court.  They were a lot more hungry for us today.  We’ve got to give it to them, they played a great game.” 

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