“You're going to try to win every game, no question. We're glad we won the tournament. We're glad we won some big games. But our goal is not to be great in November or December. We've got to, as we continue to preach to our guys, be very humble with some of the early success and understand.
“How you handle success is just as important as you handle failure and how you handle adversity. It's just as important.”
To push the point, Ford and his staff used the N.C. State game as a teaching tool. And not the game's finer moments, either.
“We've watched 45 minutes worth of film against N.C. State as far as things that we could do better,” Ford said. “There's a lot of room for improvement. But I am proud of the effort.”
That effort was most apparent on the defensive end, with the Cowboys holding its three tournament foes to 30.7 percent shooting (56-of-182) from the floor and creating 35 turnovers.
Consider it another sign of growth for a Cowboys team coming off a season when the Lob Stilly movement provided the only positive perceptions.
“We start with defense,” Nash said. “When you play defense first, you win a lot of games.
We stress it a lot. All you have to do on the offensive end is put the ball in the basket. And we've got too many scorers on the team not to do that.”