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No. 10 seed Stanford will face New Mexico in St. Louis, Mo., on Friday, March 21.
Back In The Dance
Courtesy: Stanford Athletics  
Release: 03/16/2014

STANFORD, Calif.- Stanford (21-12, 10-8 Pac-12) will square off against New Mexico (27-6, 15-3 Mountain West) in the second round of the 2014 NCAA Tournament, as announced this afternoon by the NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Committee.

The Cardinal was awarded a No. 10 seed and will play the seventh-seeded Lobos on Friday, March 21 in St. Louis, Mo. Stanford received an at-large bid and was placed in the South Regional.

Tip is set for 10:40 a.m. PT and the game will be televised on TBS.

The winner of Stanford-New Mexico squares off against the winner of the No. 2 seed Kansas/No. 15 seed Eastern Kentucky game on Sunday, March 23.

Stanford owns a 21-15 record in NCAA Tournament competition and is making its 17th appearance overall. The Cardinal was a No. 3 seed during its last NCAA Tournament appearance in 2008, falling to Texas in the Sweet 16 following victories against Cornell and Marquette.

The Cardinal sports a 2-1 record against the Lobos. The teams last met during the 2001-02 season when Stanford defeated New Mexico, 81-66, in Albuquerque.

Stanford picked up a pair of victories in last week’s Pac-12 Tournament, reaching the 20-win plateau for the 22nd time in school history and third during head coach Johnny Dawkins’ six-year tenure. The Cardinal finished 3-2 against top-25 opponents this year, defeating No. 23/25 UCLA (83-74) at home while winning road games at No. 10/10 Connecticut (53-51) and No. 17/13 Oregon (82-80).

Stanford will receive a very limited allocation of tickets for the second/third round games in St. Louis, and high demand is expected. For all locations, order fulfillment and seating will be based on level of engagement with Stanford University.

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Head Coach Johnny Dawkins
“Well I think for my staff and my team, we were all very excited of course. It’s been a long time coming for us. I thought our kids really responded, especially our senior class. We talked about leaving our legacy and we wanted to be the team to get us back to the tournament. They’ve done that and that’s what it’s about. It’s about accomplishing, it’s about lasting memories, and they’ll have this for the rest of their lives.”

“I’ve been very fortunate in this game, and so my approach may be a little different. I wanted our kids to understand and enjoy the experience. I didn’t want the weight of the world, or expectations, to define who we were. I’ve never let expectations define me, and I won’t let it define our team. We had micro-goals. We had small goals that I said, ‘If we accomplish these, we will be where we want to be at the end of the year.’ And that’s what we did. We had preseason goals, trying to accomplish them. We didn’t really accomplish them. We had conference goals, really didn’t accomplish them. At the end, we ended up achieving the ultimate goal, to be one of the last 68 teams to play. So I think that by having those smaller goals and working toward them and having some disappointments along the way, helped us, I think, in the conference, especially when we really needed wins down the stretch.”

“Definitely not vindicated. Of course you’re always relieved because you’re excited to be still playing, and have an opportunity to compete for a championship. So in that regard, I’m very excited for our group, as I mentioned earlier. You know, I’m more excited about how we got there. These are things that aren’t really mentioned. We lose Aaron Bright, who was our starting point guard last year. You lose Rosco Allen, who never played for us this year, who was a key contributor and probably started a number of games for us last year. Christian Sanders didn’t play for us this year, who played significant minutes and was a starter at some point for us last year. Andy Brown was a starter for us last year and did not play. So when I look at our team and what we were able to accomplish with those guys not being part of our roster, who arguably will be starters or at least in the top-nine rotation — says a lot about them, and that’s not me. They were on a mission, they wanted to accomplish something, and they were able to do it even though we were shorthanded.”

“I think we believed that we were a good team, we believed that we could compete against anyone, and I thought our kids really bought into how hard we needed to be successful. And that was from day one. I looked at our guys in the fall, and our preparation of how we wanted to approach this season, and they were on point right away. Our senior leadership, with Dwight and Josh, they were there, we all were eye-to-eye with what we wanted to accomplish. So even though we had setbacks and guys were going down with injuries, we stayed the course. We kept believing that we could accomplish. We kept saying that other guys would step up, and they did. And it gave us an opportunity to be successful.”

“I know a little about New Mexico. I know they’re a very good basketball team, they won their conference tournament beating a very good team in San Diego State. Actually their head coach, Craig Neal, and I played against each other in college. So we go way back from just knowing each other. He’s done a great job with his team. I know Steve Alford was there of course, and they retained Craig after he left, and Craig has continued to keep that program in the right direction. They are hot team, won nine out of their last 10, 14 out of 16. They’re playing their best basketball at the right moment. They have some talented, talented players, and they’ve had a lot of success.”

“Of course, I think Dwight Powell made the right decision to return, one, because his mom wanted him to get his degree and she was adamant about that. And Dwight, he had an opportunity to go and put his name in the draft, and he elected not to do that. I thought it was a wise decision. I think he’s had a terrific year for us, he’s an All-Academic Pac-12 player, first-team All-Pac-12 athletically, and he’s had a great senior year for us. I think he still has some good basketball ahead of him on a big stage, so I’m excited for him. I think his decision was the right one and a very selfless decision. I think he thought about a lot more than just his feelings in that. He made a mature decision and I think he’s going to reap the benefits for the rest of his life.”

Josh Huestis
“That’s something that every kid grows up dreaming about, playing in the tournament. Unfortunately we had to wait until our senior year to feel it, but I mean, better late than never.”

“It’s huge. As you know and as everybody knows, Dwight is a huge focal point for our team. The fact that he decided to come back and help us move toward this goal, making the tournament as going as far as we can, it was huge. It was a really unselfish decision on his part just to come back and to help us. Like he’ll tell you, we’re a family, and that’s a really key reason he came back. We have a chance to do what we’ve wanted to do these four years. It was all worth it.”

“We don’t know as much about New Mexico as we’ll know tomorrow. But from what we know, they’re a real hot team right now, playing really well. Real talented guys on their team. Definitely not somebody to ever take lightly, especially when you’re in the tournament. You can’t look past any team. Everybody’s good, so we’re just excited to have the opportunity to play them.”

“Obviously just watching what happened here today with really good teams not making it, we didn’t come in here with any sort of comfort. You’ve seen crazier things happen, teams that you’d think would make it, not make it. So we were nervous. This was something that we had never experienced before, being here. But it was also a lot of excitement just because of the potential that we would make it, and luckily we didn’t have to wait too long to hear our names called, so that kind of took the pressure off. But it was just a huge rush of different emotions walking here.”

Dwight Powell
“It’s a really big deal for us. Obviously that’s something that every player dreams about, and it’s been one of our goals for a long time. It feels great to accomplish that and we’re excited to get started.”

“I think first and foremost, we’ll lean on our coaches. They have a lot of experience at different levels coaching and playing, and they’ve had positive experiences. They know what it takes to prepare for these types of games, these types of opponents that we haven’t really seen, similar to our conference tournament where we’ve seen guys but it’s going to be a lot different. Definitely lean on them, trust their preparation, trust what they’re going to put us through over the next few days in preparation for our first game, and just lean on them primarily.”

“I think one thing that our team did really well this year was kind of keeping the blinders on and staying focused. So we knew what our goals were in the preseason, we knew what our goals were during the Pac-12 season, and we had our goals for the postseason, and we really didn’t let too much affect what it was we were going to do to prepare and accomplish those goals. There was never really a time when I was worried or over-excited either. We knew what we needed to do every day. We had our goals set for every day. We had our goals set for every game, and for every practice for that matter. We just tried to stay focused on those and thankfully we were able to accomplish enough of those goals up to this point that we’re going back to the tournament.”

“The UCLA loss wasn’t one of our best games — not by a long shot — and we have to address the issues we had in that game, and we’ll do so in film and in practice on the court. We’re just going to do what we’ve been doing the whole year as far as preparation and listening to Coach’s advice and watching film and scouting, and just trying to figure out a way to win.”

Chasson Randle
“Yeah, it’s been a very long time. None of the guys on this current team have been, and I’ve never been. We’re just excited and ready to go for Friday. This is something that you imagine yourself being a part of as a kid. You grew up watching the games on TV, and looking at it from afar. But now to be a part of it is just amazing.”

“I’m not sure how many tickets I can get, but I definitely will be coordinating with Coach LaMere and trying to get as many as possible. I’ve gotten a lot of texts so far. A lot of family. My hometown is about three hours away. It will be awesome. It’s kind of a perfect setup.”

“Yeah, we didn’t feel any pressure. We just stayed focused, set goals for ourselves this season, and we accomplished one of them, and that was making the NCAA tournament. Now it’s about making some noise once we get there. All of our attention is focused on New Mexico. We know that they’re a great team and we’ll start preparing for them tomorrow.”

“Everything for us starts on the defensive end. We didn’t do a great job defending UCLA, and in order to win some games in the upcoming days that’s what we’re going to have to do. I think it’s about keeping your foot on the gas. I think we built something special throughout this season and gained some momentum in the Pac-12 Tournament. Minor setback against UCLA but I think we’re still playing well as a team, so if we can kind of use some of that momentum and carry that anger into the next game on Friday, we’ll be alright.”


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