Notre Dame men’s basketball coach Mike Brey fielded questions from reporters Thursday at University of Dayton Arena on the eve of his seventh-seeded squad’s second-round game against 10th-seeded Iowa State Friday at 9:45 p.m. ET.
Here’s a portion of the Q&A session:
Q. Duke assistants, the Coach K tree, not too many guys have been successful over a long period of time, with sort of the exception of you. Any thoughts on why it's been that way for such a revered program?
COACH BREY: “It's a great question. I'm asked that a lot of times. Certainly, Tommy Amaker has reinvented himself at Harvard very successfully.
Maybe one advantage I had was I played for Morgan Wootten and my experience coaching then with him. Then I played under Bob Tallent, who was a Kentucky Adolph Rupp guy, for one year when I transferred to GW. Then he got fired, and I played for Gerry Gimelstob, who came from Indiana and was a Bob Knight guy.
So I probably had more experiences other than Mike K. Mike K.'s preparation was the ultimate for me, and I'm forever thankful because, when he hired me, he let me get my hands on everything, and I thought he really let me be ready to be a head coach. But I had more than just Duke background, and I think that was really helpful.”
Q. You talked about on Sunday how getting ready for Iowa State is unlike everything else in the Big East. Does that make this week more fun or more challenging?
COACH BREY: “Great question. A little bit of both. We've gone in with a real loose, have‑fun frame of mind. But our preparation, I'm glad we had an extra day — we don't play until tomorrow —and we had a while to digest it.
They're unique. With five shooters on the floor at times and spreading you out and not much of a low post presence, it's really an adjustment for us. We played some similar teams in our league, but not anything like this. I thought, as much time as we had, we needed to prepare for our big guys, not playing a whole lot of post defense, but having to rotate up and maybe switch out on a shooter.”
Q. Mike, just curious, what does a five‑overtime game do for tournament preparation?
COACH BREY: “I'll tell you what. You know what, it's the game of the year, and still our fans‑‑ I don't know, when I went out in South Bend, I grabbed something to eat, I'm at the mall, at a restaurant — I don't really go to the mall. Why did I say that? I never go to the mall because it would be a pain in the butt.
“Anyway, that's all they know we played. They don't know of any games we lost since then, thank God. They don't remember the two thumpings Louisville gave us. They remember that one.
“You know what it did, though? It really did give us like another level of confidence. It brought Garrick Sherman back, who was not playing for us, and Cam Biedscheid played 50 minutes off the bench. I've never played anything like that in college basketball, but it helped us believe a little bit more. It helped us solidify a spot in this tournament.”