RALEIGH, NC- "At the end of the day, we all put on our pants the same way" says Coastal Carolina sophomore forward Tristan Curtis. That's just a small part of his rationale about his team's belief that they can be the first #16 seed in NCAA tournament history to knock of a #1 seed when the Chanticleers take on the Virginia Cavaliers Friday night in the second round of the NCAA East regional at PNC Arena in Raleigh.
The Chanticleers finished the season 20-12 and won the Big South conference tournament, beating Winthrop 76-61. Their head coach knows a little thing about playing ACC teams. Cliff Ellis was the head coach of Clemson from 1988-94 and also coached at Auburn in the SEC for nearly a decade. .
His players say he's instilled a strong belief that if they just play their game, they "will" beat Virginia. Curtis says "We're confident in the fact that this is a very winnable game".
"We're a lot faster than they are so if we can get out and run, I think we can take 'em." says freshman center Kyle Buffkin.
The Coastal Carolina locker room was loose and joking around before their practice as they watched another #16 seed hang close with top-overall seed Florida on television Thursday. Friday night, they get their chance to make history.
"Yeah I think we're going to beat UVa, we've done all the work to beat them. We know how they play, we know how they act, we're just going to go out there and we're going to win"' says Curtis.