NCAA Tournament Diary with Myck Kabongo
March 15, 2012
We're so excited to be here. We worked all year to get here to the NCAA Tournament. One of our goals was to maintain the standard of Texas going to the NCAA Tournament every year. But, it's not just about going to the tournament - it's about being able to compete at a high level and try to win a national championship, which is our goal here at Texas.
I've watched NCAA Tournament games in the past, and last year's games are what I remember the most. It was great to watch two of my best friends, Tristan Thompson and Cory Joseph, play for Texas last year. It hurt when Texas lost, but I knew after that Arizona game that I would be excited to come in and try to have some sort of redemption for Texas.
It's been a great ride for us in getting to this point. We've battled all year and gone through ups and downs to get here. To be a part of it primarily with five other freshmen and three upperclassmen...it has been a blessing.
Our shoot-around was a lot of fun today. It gave us a chance to see the new court we would be playing on and to see the big lights, the big stage. I noticed a sign over one of the court entrances that read that we were entering a stage rather than a court. I thought that was pretty cool. There are over 300 teams in NCAA Division I men's basketball, and for us to be one of the 68 teams that got here really means a lot. Being able to play in an event like this is special. I'll cherish every moment.
This Cincinnati team we'll see tomorrow can really shoot the ball. They have some talented guards who can really play. Cincinnati has some experienced upperclassmen. This team is from the Big East Conference, which is a tough conference. But, we're from the Big 12 Conference, and we've played teams similar to them.
Cincinnati is like a Missouri-type of team that we saw in our league, but I'm not sure anyone is as efficient as Missouri. Cincinnati is in the same mold of a Missouri because they play with four guards who can shoot at any given time. I think anyone watching this game tomorrow will see two well-coached teams who will play hard.
Getting to the NCAA Tournament with such a young team, it shows that our future is bright. Imagine when we're a little older. This core group of young guys can do a lot of special things. We're growing, but we don't want to wait to win. We have a goal to win now. That's why we're all here at Texas.
We don't back down from anyone, it doesn't matter who we play. We're looking at a team within ourselves that has come a long way from the beginning of the year. We're a team who has found its identity. We give it our all, every game, no matter who we're playing. That's what we found out about ourselves throughout the year. We have a real desire to win.
The upperclassmen have told the younger guys, like myself, to have fun out there. There is not another moment like this one, so we need to enjoy it while it is here. The year flew by, just like Alexis Wangmene said it would. We're going to try to win for him and do it for Alexis.