NCAA Transcript: Oakland coach Greg Kampe
Question: That being said, how much of an underdog do your guys feel like, and how do you play that up if at all with your team going into the game with a chip on your shoulder sort of thing?
GK: What people don't understand, and because we're in Michigan, and Michigan State and Oakland have a very good relationship, as our programs have been close for many years, I see this there, too, and you get it being in Pittsburgh, is your team goes every year. And because you go every year, I think you view this different than we do. I mean, this is a reward for us. Our kids sitting up here, me being here, this is a reward for a great season. We're not going to cut the nets down, and I said this to somebody in Pittsburgh this week -- we're not going to cut the nets down in Indianapolis. We know that. Our kids know that. They have a goal to make it to the Sweet 16. We got to storm the court, cut the nets down at our league tournament. That's where the pressure was. You don't realize what pressure is when you can win 26 games and if you don't win that last one you're not going, that's pressure. So our kids went through that, excelled, achieved and they're here. We don't think we're the underdog. We don't have a chip. We're so happy to be here; and because of that, I expect us to play free and easy and expect us to go have some fun with it. They say are you going to change your style of play? No. But if it gets in the last three minutes, if we have a chance to win, we'll change. But this is a reward.
Question: Is that a concern -- getting back to the free and easy -- that your kids won't do that? Do they come out tight? Here's the NCAA tournament, and they're looking for somebody else to shoot, not them?
GK: I've got a veteran team who has tried so hard and tried so many times to get here, I don't see that happening. It happened in the league championship game. We were pitiful the first five, six minutes we couldn't make a shot. But that was because of the pressure to get here. We're here. I don't expect it. If it does, I'm going to blame you, Tom.
Question: You talk about the pressure, can you compare your pressure that you deal with and the goals getting to the Sweet 16 to the pressure maybe a Pitt is facing that they're not expected -- everybody -- it's guaranteed a victory, first round victory? And the Sweet 16 isn't good enough. Just put yourself in Jamie Dixon's shoes.
GK: That's exactly right. You've hit it right on the head. If we win -- Jamie Dixon is a great basketball coach. He's proved that. He's proven himself. He doesn't have to beat Oakland to prove that. But if somehow we won, there's going to be a bunch of people in Pittsburgh that think what's wrong with him, this was a bad year. All that stuff. They lost a lot of players off a great team last year. They had a fluke shot. Don't tell Villanova I said fluke -- a great shot that knocked them out. And they could have been in the Final Four. That's their pressure is to get there. Our pressure is to get here. So it's completely different but it's the same. Our kids feel the same amount of pressure that their kids do. I feel the same amount of pressure that he feels. He's just on a bigger national stage, and ours is just within ourselves. But if we were to win, yeah, they'll be devastated and people will be upset about it. If we were to lose, everybody's going to clap their hands and say you had a great year. I understand that.
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