Q&A: Price on how to succeed in the NCAA tournament

Junior transfer went to two straight Final Fours with Louisville.

Junior transfer forward Zach Price went to two Final Fours with the Louisville Cardinals in 2012 and 2013. During the latter, the Cards beat Michigan to take home the school’s third national championship and first since 1986. Price talked to The Maneater about those two Final Four runs and what it takes to succeed in tournament play.

[The Maneater]: What did you learn during those two Final Four runs, about yourself, about your team, about what it takes to go to a Final Four?

[Zach Price]: I learned it takes a lot of teamwork, actually, just to become cohesive as a unit, as a team. Being able to trust your teammates and your teammates being able to trust you is the main thing you have to do. In two Final Fours, you have a play a certain role. Although I did not play in either one of them, you just learn how to buy into your role and how to become a team player.

[M]: Everyone talks about tournaments being so momentum-based. Do you feel that way?

[ZP]: My freshman year, we were actually the underdogs, so I’ve seen both ends of that table. I like it either way. I like being on top, and I like being at the bottom. It gives you more tenacity to get the job done.

[M]: What’s the key to tournament play?

[ZP]: Take it one game a time, definitely. You can’t look and see, ‘who’s in your bracket? Is that gonna be a bracket buster?’ You have to take one game at a time. If you take your time and focus at beating each team, then the further along you’ll get.

[M]: Do you have a particular game from either of those two runs that really sticks in your mind to participate in, to watch, to play your role on that team, that was just the highlight of that entire run?

[ZP]: Probably the win against Duke. That was just an amazing moment for us. As you know one of our teammates went down, Kevin Ware. It was a hurtful moment. It made you not want to step on the court and play the game of basketball. For us to pull that together and for us to pull tighter as far as a brotherhood, I think that’s what really excelled us to winning that championship.

[M]: Is it weird to look back at Louisville and look back at the rings you’ve won with them and the success you’ve had with them and try to make a run with a different team now?

[ZP]: Not necessarily. I just look at it as a passing phase. Louisville’s taught me a lot of things. I’m very grateful for the things that Louisville has taught me. I don’t regret any of the decisions I made and I just look forward to receiving my opportunity here.

[M]: You played in the Big East, which is this tremendous basketball conference, to the SEC, which people say isn’t as dominant. What are the differences you’ve seen in those two conferences?

[ZP]: Physicality. The physicality level in the Big East is definitely much higher, but at the end of the day, the SEC is more fast-paced, so, I mean, it’s a two way street. I like, but I like the adjustment.

[M]: Are you gonna fill out a bracket this year?

[ZP]: Oh, no, I don’t think I’ll fill one out. I actually never fill out brackets.

[M]: Never?

[ZP]: I never fill out brackets. I only used to do it back in high school, but like when I’m actually in college, I do not care. I’m not trying to fill out a bracket, I just want to focus on my team and doing what we gotta do. I’m not looking at who’s beating who.

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