The Lumberjacks are on a nation-leading 20-0 run going into the NCAA Tournament, but they're still hungry for more in their matchup against West Virginia. Stephen F. Austin comes in as the No. 14 seed while Mountaineers are the No. 3 seed.
“That will be a big win. I'll probably be happy for once and satisfied if we win that game,” said senior forward Clide Geffrard.
This is the fourth time in program history SFA has made it into this postseason run. They’ve now gone for three years straight.
“We never take this for granted it. Going to the NCAA Tournament is quite an honor,” said head coach Brad Underwood. “We're one of 68 teams that heard our name Sunday and those are moments you remember a lifetime.”
While going to the NCAA's has become habit, they've only advanced once. That was two years ago against VCU.
“We're still definitely hungry. Everybody but the freshmen have been in the NCAA Tournament. At least all the returners have so everyone’s ready to go win games because everyone's been there. We’ve been there, done that and now we're trying to do bigger things,” said senior forward Thomas Walkup.
Besides feeling like SFA has their best, biggest and most athletic team yet going into the tournament, they also feel the national stage jitters have run their course through the team.
“Last year and the first year we were nervous going in. Last year against Utah we played terrible in the first half. I think we'll be much more ready to go right from the tip,” said Walkup.
Underwood admits there's something about this run that makes the transition smoother, and that's looking at a familiar foe from the other bench in West Virginia head coach Bob Huggins. Underwood worked with Huggins one year at Kansas State.
“Other than playing a very dear friend, I'm excited. They play similar to the way we do. They’re a team that's going to play extremely hard. We know what we're getting with them,” said Underwood. “I've worked with Huggins for a year so it's some familiarity which is comforting to a certain extent but they’re a top 10 team in one of the best conferences of basketball.”
“It’s within the same coaching tree and all so we do some things they do and they do some things we do. It will be fun to see how it all pans out,” said Walkup.
Lumberjacks and Mountaineers face off this Friday at 6 p.m. at the Barclay’s Center in Brooklyn, New York.
It only took a few hours for SFA to sell out on the ticket’s the NCAA allotted to them. Tickets are still available through other vendors.
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