K-State Quotes about NCAA Tournament Appearance

Head coach Jeff Mittie
On the stresses leading up to the announcement…
“It was different from last year because you felt strongly that you are going to get in. But until you see your name come up, you never know. Seeing Iowa State and West Virginia, who turned out to be the automatic, which we had been ahead of them in league play,  is when you could start to see that we had a chance to host. The spots were becoming fewer and fewer, which was the exciting part. That was quite honestly the nervous part, knowing that we had a chance to host. It was exciting to see it come up. Drake University has an outstanding team. I got to catch them this past weekend playing Northern Iowa in the championship, so it is going to be a great first round match up.”

On knowing the seniors are getting to play again at Bramlage…
“I feel good about our senior group. The leadership has been great. I have said it numerous times. Their commitment is getting better every day.”

On Drake...
“They are a good balanced team. They are a team who really passes the ball very well. They score it very well. They have a lot of good players. Some of our group is familiar with them. Kindred Wesemann played with some of them. They are a very talented team.”

On what was said to the team after the announcement…
“It was the same message as always. It was a little bit of me trying to give them as much information of what I knew about how the week would progress. I had to make sure that they knew to control the things that they can control. Being at home, as all year, is different than the road. On the road, you can control your hotel and other things. At home, it is great to play in front of your fans, but there are more distractions: tickets, classes and friends. I just had to make sure they knew the message of ‘hey let’s enjoy this, but control what you can to prepare yourself for what is to come.’”

On the different seeds …
“It would appear that the committee valued the top 20 wins. West Virginia got some late. You look at what Tennessee got seeded, I had them much higher. It would appear that those types of wins, which is what West Virginia had late, have been valued very heavily. In our case, we face a very talented Drake team. I am sure they will bring a very good fan base, as they are not that far away. It should be a lot of fun to have it in Manhattan.”

On what is most exciting…
“I am most excited to have it at home.  I am excited to have our fans get to watch this team play again. I am excited for our players. You have to be in the top 16 to earn the seed. We did not do that portion. Now, everyone knew Stanford’s situation and knew someone was going to host. I cannot thank our administration enough for doing the work behind the scenes to put us in position. I cannot thank our fans enough for being with us, when you look at the attendance at the UConn game. I have to believe that the NCAA took a look at everything and used that in the seeding process. I am excited to be in Manhattan, and not have to hop on another plane for a while.”

Senior Center Breanna Lewis
On a sense of déjà vu from last year …
“Yes there was a sense of déjà vu to a certain extent. This time we knew we were in, we just wanted to know where. There was a little bit of nerves. We were holding hands in the front row in anticipation just like ‘come on now… any day now.’”

On when it hit that K-State was hosting…
“It hit once they got to the last section. We were like ‘either we are hosting or we are not in it.’ We knew we were in, so we were like ‘okay we might be hosting.’ But honestly, I did not know anything about the brackets or hosting until it was announced. I was just like ‘yeah we are in it,’ but once everyone said we were hosting, I was like ‘yeah we are hosting!’ I was just happy to see our name up there. But once they said we were playing in Manhattan, Kansas, I was just too excited.”

On playing as a senior at Bramlage…
“It is going to be great. We are back in Bramlage. I never thought I would say that again. But, I do not know, it is going to be great. It is going to be a great experience for our team, especially our seniors. We will have our home crowd and be at home. It is going to be great.”

On less stress about not traveling…
“Once they said we were hosting I was just so excited that I do not have to pack as much. It is far less stressful. We travel a lot just during Big 12. So for a NCAA Tournament game, just to know you are home, you have a little more time to relax. You are not going places and to foreign places. You are really comfortable here and to just see things you are familiar with is amazing.”

Junior Guard Karyla Middlebrook
On being in the NCAA Tournament with K-State…
“I am excited. This is something I have dreamed about ever since I was a little girl. Unfortunately, I did not get that opportunity at Alabama. But, sitting here waiting for our names, I realized I was not as nervous as some of the other girls. However, when I knew our name was next and it was, I was just overwhelmed. I was not expecting to be so overwhelmed.”

On hosting…
“It was not a real shock that we were hosting. Coach Mittie has been telling us all week ‘we will not know when we travel, but we are still hoping that we host.’ He always made sure we kept that hope alive which made it less of a shock. I think the biggest shock for me was seeing that we were playing Drake University. I have a really good friend from high school on that team, Lizzy Wendell. So, it is going to be good to get back on the court with her. She is kind of a big deal there.”

On expectations during the tournament…
“I do not know what to expect. Coach Mittie has mentioned that the nerves are going to be new. It is going to be an exciting time. I do not know what to expect, but I know it is going to be a good time.”

On waiting to hear K-State’s name…
“At first I was pretty calm and chill. But once we got to the Stockton Region, which is where Bracketology had predicted us to be in, and once we did not see our name there it was a little nerve wracking. We just moved to the next region, and I was trying to keep my breathing constant and not get overwhelmed. I was kind of the voice of reason my teammates said because they were like ‘what if they forgot about us?’ I was like, ‘guys it is okay. We came into this ranked in the top 25, I am sure they did not forget about us.’ All the while just trying to swallow my own nerves.”

Senior Guard Kindred Wesemann
On reaction on hosting…
“I was more excited that we were hosting. We knew we were going to be in the tournament. It was a little bit nerve wracking, seeing as we were one of the last teams in there. Breanna Lewis was grabbing my hand really hard and I was like ‘easy Lew.’ As soon as our name came up, I had to take my arm away because I knew she was going to pull it all over the place. It is awesome and a great experience. I was really excited and just very happy.”

On playing more in Bramlage…
“I have not thought about that until now. It just means so much more. I thought senior night was going to be the last time that I got to play at Bramlage. But the fact that it is not is just so much sweeter. We get to play in front of our fans a few more times hopefully. Leave it all on the court.”

On Drake University …
“I saw that they beat UNI in overtime in their conference championship. I know a couple girls on both teams. I thought it was a really great game. I thought they both battled really hard. Drake is a good basketball team. I mean, everyone is who gets into the NCAA tournament. There is not going to be an easy win. I am happy they got in and I am looking forward to it.”

Freshman Forward Eternati Willock
On being a freshman in the NCAA tournament…
“I am excited. This is my first time experiencing it. Seeing everyone else’s excitement just makes me more excited. I just cannot wait to see what is in store for us.”

On the seniors being able to play more at home…
“I am really excited for them. I know senior night was really emotional. Everyone was crying. It is just nice that they get to play in front of our fans, in front of our whole fan base. I think it is going to be really important for them. I am glad that they get the opportunity.”

On personal feelings about playing at home…
“I am really excited. I love our crowd. I love our home atmosphere in a college town. I am really excited to play.