Carl Sias felt the same way.
“We came into the game pretty upbeat,” he said. “We weren't intimidated by them. We're basketball players just like they are. We wanted it as badly as they did.”
Racer fans weren't buying it either. A large contingent of them made the trip to cheer the team on.
“It was the most exciting trip,” former basketball secretary Cheryl Whittaker said with a grin. “It was an absolutely wonderful experience. We actually had to drive to St. Louis in a snowstorm to catch a plane to Nebraska.
“We had maybe 200 people from Murray at the game. All the usuals were there, Lindy Suiter and his gang, all the families of the players and coaches. And we made it sound like we had twice that many or more.”
The players may not have had butterflies. But play by play announcer Randy Herndon most certainly did.
"I was nervous before the game because I didn't want to sound like an idiot,” he recalled. “But it's hard to separate your emotional ties to the team from your description of the action. Of course you aren't supposed to be an objective voice. You're the Voice of the Racers not a CBS announcer.
“And it's far more interesting to listen to an announcer who lets his emotion show than one who doesn't. But I had to try to keep myself somewhat in check.”
As the game got underway it appeared that perhaps the conventional wisdom had been correct after all. Late in the first half N. C. State held a 32-24 advantage. Things looked bleak for the Racers.
But a quick rally tied the game at 32 with 4:06 left in the first half. Then Newton put in a three guard lineup and told his team to spread the floor. Mann broke the tie with a 3-pointer and by halftime Murray State led 41-36.