ST. LOUIS -- Nothing bothers the guys from Georgia Tech.
They walloped top-ranked Connecticut. They won at Duke's crazy Cameron Indoor Stadium. They played Friday night's regional semifinal without top scorer B.J. Elder and still beat Nevada.
Now comes mighty Kansas in the St. Louis Regional final, a team that's gone to the Final Four the last two years and has a dazzling array of talent. That's got to prompt a worry or two, right?
Hold on a second while the Yellow Jackets yawn.
"We've just got to come out and play like we normally play," forward Anthony McHenry said. "We've had tough games this year. We'll be fine."
Now that kind of talk would ordinarily be nothing more than a bunch of cliches. But these third-seeded Yellow Jackets (26-9) not only really feel that way, they've built an entire season on their low-key attitude.
Kansas (24-8) may be seeded a spot lower, but it is a heavy favorite for today's game. While Georgia Tech eked out its first three NCAA tournament victories by a combined 13 points, the Jayhawks steamrolled their opponents, winning by an average of 22. Kansas not only broke Alabama-Birmingham's pesky press Friday night -- the same press that sent overall top-seed Kentucky packing -- they tore it apart with such ferociousness the game is going to be a must-see for anyone playing the Blazers.
But Georgia Tech is a team that gets more excited about its stifling defense than monster dunks; a team so balanced three players are averaging in double figures and six score 8.8 points or more; a team that now has complete faith someone is going to step up no matter what the circumstances.
"That's the most important thing, offensively and defensively: Guys give themselves up to make the team better," captain Marvin Lewis said. "That's what makes us so successful. There's no selfishness on our team, it is about trying to contribute and make us better.
"The guys we have, we can be successful if everybody plays together," Lewis added. "We get it done as a family."
Good thing, because the Yellow Jackets are going to need an entire clan against Kansas.
Wayne Simien has been awesome, averaging 20 points and 10 rebounds, even though he re-aggravated a groin injury in the first game of the tournament. Keith Langford and J.R. Giddens also are scoring in double figures.
Then there's the experience factor. All of the starters except Giddens, a freshman, have played in at least one Final Four. Langford and point guard Aaron Miles don't know what it's like to end a season except in the Final Four. "It helps moreso from a mental standpoint," Langford said. "Knowing you have to treat these games obviously with seriousness because if you lose, you go home. But at the same time, you still have to play like any other game.
"You have to be patient, know the other team is going to have hot spurts, make runs. Know that there might be a few mistakes that you make, but you just have to maintain a level head."
That's what the Yellow Jackets are trying to do, too. Their first three games have been offensive disasters, with the Yellow Jackets averaging only 64.7 points, about 13 below their season average. So just as they have all year, they've let their defense carry them.
Georgia Tech hasn't allowed anyone to score more than 67 points and is holding opponents to less than 38 percent shooting. After Nevada raced out to an early first-half lead Friday night, the Yellow Jackets limited the Wolf Pack to 7-for-33 shooting in the second half. Top scorers Kirk Snyder and Todd Okeson were a combined 3 for 22.
Doing the same thing against Kansas might be tough, especially if Elder doesn't play much. Elder, who averages a team-high 15.8 points, sprained his ankle two minutes into Friday night's game. He's expected to play, but coach Paul Hewitt doesn't know how much.
But just as they have all year, the Yellow Jackets are confident they'll find a way to get it done.
"As a team, we all band together, no matter what's going on," Lewis said. "To the last play of every single game, we are going to fight and do it together."