Georgetown coach John Thompson III did his best to avoid distracting his players before Thursday's NCAA tournament game, but he couldn't prevent their reaction to what Eastern Washington coach Jim Hayford said before the teams met.
Speaking Wednesday on a national radio show ahead of Thursday's round of 64 game, Hayford predicted his 13th-seeded Eagles would beat the Hoyas, who were 1-4 in their previous five NCAA tournament games.
Thompson said his players informed him of Hayford's prediction and were ready to show on the court how they would respond to it.
"I didn't need to stoke them up and didn't want to calm them down," Thompson said after the Hoyas' 84-74 triumph over the Eagles.
"Maybe it's just me, but when I think of that [guaranteeing a win], I think of Joe Namath, I think of Muhammad Ali, I think of Larry Bird and the 3-point shooting contest," Thompson said. "The kids brought it to me and said, 'Their coach is guaranteeing victory.' I kind of looked down there at him. Thought he didn't foot the bill of guys that usually guarantee victory. Our guys were fired up about that."
Georgetown, which hasn't played in the round of 32 since 2007, will face Utah, the South Region's 5-seed, on Saturday.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.