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Like it did in the Final Four run, it’s the Rams’ defense that makes everything else go.

“You can see what we do on film, but it’s different when you’re out there playing against it. People are going to prepare for it, but you’ve still got to deal with that havoc,” Theus said. “We want to get the other team tired, and we may be tired, too, but we want to push them to their limit.”

A master motivator, Smart used the Rams’ much-criticized inclusion in the 2011 NCAA tournament field to help fuel their run to the Final Four, showing his team clips of “experts” counting them out.

He now uses the banner marking that season to reinforce the identity that can get them back.

“That’s the only time when we reference the Final Four,” Smart said. “‘Hey guys. This is what goes into winning and if we do what goes into winning.’ Then I’ll point at the banner and say, ‘That’s what we can do.’”

It helps to have Theus and Daniels, who both played with that team, still around.

“I want that as bad as I want my last breath,” Daniels said. “Me and Darius talk about it every single day, but we have to focus on the A-10. We have to get through this, but it would be a great feeling.”

Theus averaged 15 minutes per game on that team, and Daniels 4.7 minutes.

“That year was very special, but it would mean a lot more if we could do it this year because our role is much bigger,” Theus said. “It would be amazing. Like Troy said, we talk about it all the time, just to get back to that Final Four. That was the best time of my life. I would love to get back there.”

Smart would, too. Perhaps as a reminder to his team what it takes to get there, or as a way to warn opponents of what is coming, their warmup jerseys all have the same word — HAVOC — on the back.

“You can describe our style of play in one word,” Smart said. “How many people can you say that about?

“That in and of itself doesn’t win you the game, but it does help in recruiting, it helps with an identity and I think people like that. There’s no question this is a style for hungry, aggressive, tough-minded guys with something to prove, and we’re fortunate that we have some of those guys.”