Media day at the NCAA Tournament is always a hodgepodge of questions. The news conferences with all four teams in the NCAA Tournament semifinals features everything from the serious questions about the upcoming matches to lighter questions that allow fans to get to know the players better.
Check out some of the more interesting tidbits and quotes address at media day on Wednesday in Long Beach, California.
[Editor’s note: This post contains spoiler alerts about the most recent “Game of Thrones” episode. Yes, that was a topic of conversation at the news conferences on Wednesday.]
— Lewis opposite Mitch Perinar described the Battle of Winterfell from the recent “Game of Thrones” episode as a wild battle. The opposite said before the episode aired Sunday that he thought multiple characters were going to die based on their story arcs. He also praised the performance of Ayra Stark being able to kill the Night King. “It was a good kill. Now on to Cersei,” Perinar said.
— Pepperdine setter Robert Mullahey predicted that Jon Snow will sit on the Iron Throne at the series conclusion of “Game of Thrones.”
— Lewis players were asked if there is any extra pressure when serving a good offensive team like Hawai’i to get them out of system. They gave a simple one-word answer of “none.” Coach Dan Friend then added they don’t need to make an adjustments to their serving game plan.
— Friend said his biggest philosophy for determining when to challenge a call is trusting his athletes. The coach said he trusts his players to let him know if there was a missed call and if he needs to use his challenge.
— Friend said the 12-day layoff for Hawai’i shouldn’t have a big affect on the match. The coach said because Hawai’i is familiar with the Pyramid and played in the venue a few weeks ago it will prevent any time-off lag with the Rainbow Warriors’ serving and offense.
— Friend said he is excited to have his wife and daughter flying out to California for the team’s NCAA Tournament semifinal match on Thursday. This is the first NCAA Tournament for Friend since becoming a father. He also said his daughter has become a fixture at the team’s practices throughout the season and his players have been great interacting with her.
— Long Beach State senior libero Jordan Molina described hosting the NCAA Tournament as a “bitter-sweet” experience. The libero said the team is excited to play on its home court for a NCAA championship, but the senior class realizes their time at Long Beach State is coming to an end.
— Long Beach State coach Alan Knipe said the team prepped during the season to likely have an off week before coming in the NCAA Tournament. The 49ers’ schedule this season featured multiple bye weeks.
— Knipe said he is hopefully that the NCAA Tournament semifinals will be not only soldout but that there would be an overflow of people watching the match on video screens behind the Pyramid.
— This will be the first meeting of the season between Pepperdine and Long Beach State. Knipe said it was a good thing that he did not schedule non-conference matches against every MPSF school this year. The coach said that created opportunities on his schedule to travel across the country for matches against ConfCarolinas schools and to play host to EIVA and MIVA teams.
— Long Beach State All-American outside attacker TJ DeFalco said he has not spent a lot of time playing Fortnite this season. DeFalco said in an interview last year that he would spend some time playing the video game to relax when away from the court.
— Pepperdine coach David Hunt likely set a NCAA Tournament record for the shortest introduction statement to open a news conference. Hunt’s entire opening statement: “I don’t know. We are happy to be here. That is my comment.”
— While his team did not overlook Princeton in its five-game opening round win, Hunt said he didn’t think the rest of the volleyball community was giving Princeton enough respect before and after the match. “Princeton is a damn good volleyball team,” Hunt said. “They have pieces that are really talented and Sam [Shweisky] does a great job with them.”
— Pepperdine libero Noah Dyer said the key to him being successful both on the court and in the classroom is making sure to get enough sleep. Dyer has earned multiple academic honors throughout his college career.
— Pepperdine was informed during the news conference that tickets to its NCAA Tournament semifinal match cost about $100 on the secondary market. Hunt then jokingly looked at his players and said they should have scalped their tickets.