"A 15 (seed) has beaten a two," Brown said Thursday. "So when you talk to your kids about that, and you look them in the eye and you're preaching, they believe you because it's happened."
Six times, in fact. Twice on the same day last season.
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Wells Fargo Center, Philadelphia
Alas for the Great Danes, one of those 2012 instances was Lehigh slaying Duke.
"Lehigh didn't do us any favors," Brown said. "That's for sure."
Indeed, last year's defeat to the Patriot League champions fueled returning Blue Devils throughout offseason workouts. They had played poorly, especially on defense, and coach Mike Krzyzewski openly questioned their toughness.
But Krzyzewski and his players, surely following his lead, insist the Lehigh scars are irrelevant to Friday's Midwest Regional encounter.
"Our team's motivation is something bigger than the way last year's season ended," senior center Mason Plumlee said.
"If we keep looking back at our experiences, then we would really get overconfident," Krzyzewski said, "because we've won four national championships and been to 11 Final Fours. There's no need to go back to good or bad experiences because not all these guys were involved in that.
"The best thing to do is to be involved in this experience, and we're not reminding the seniors that they've won a national championship when they were freshmen. … My feeling is, stay in this moment."
Points well-taken. But certainly last season reminds veterans such as Plumlee, Seth Curry, Tyler Thornton and Quinn Cook of postseason's potholes — regardless of the opponent.
Like Lehigh last season, Albany (24-10) has never won an NCAA tournament game — Duke has won 96. The Great Danes are 0-2, their most recent early exit to Virginia in 2007.
Moreover, Albany was merely the America East's fifth-place team during the regular season before winning three games by a combined seven points in the conference tournament. And while seniors Mike Black and Jacob Iati give the Great Danes solid backcourt play, neither approaches guard C.J. McCollum, the NBA prospect from Lehigh who tormented the Blue Devils for 30 points last season.
"With a healthy Ryan Kelly … I think they're the best basketball team in the NCAA tournament," Brown said. "They score from all five positions. It's tough to simulate Duke in practice because we don't have that size, that length, that athleticism."
Last week's Maryland setback was Duke's first in 19 games with Kelly, a 6-foot-11 forward, available. The Blue Devils were 9-4 in contests he missed with a right foot injury. Similarly, Duke went 1-2 last season without Kelly, sidelined for the final three games, also with a foot ailment.
"We've had a team that at points in the season has been the best … in the country," Plumlee said. "We feel very confident going into this tournament."
Plumlee believes the Blue Devils were at their best in November and December, when they defeated Kentucky, Minnesota, VCU, Louisville, Ohio State and Temple. The latter five made the NCAA tournament.
"I think we're heading (back) in that direction," Plumlee said.
The only NCAA tournament team Albany has played was Ohio State, on the road in early November. The Great Danes played an exceptional opening 15 minutes before losing 82-60. Two nights later, they won at Washington.