Eastern Washington (26-8), the No. 13 seed in the South region, will face No. 4 Georgetown at about 10 p.m. ET Thursday in Portland. Hayford's Eagles have won five straight games, most recently against Montana in the Big Sky championship game last weekend.
Georgetown (21-10) lost to Xavier in the Big East tournament semifinals last weekend. The Hoyas are also 2-5 in their last five NCAA tournament games, most recently falling to Florida Gulf Coast in their first game of the 2013 NCAA tournament.
Hayford said Rome's show was the only radio appearance he was doing before the game.
"You know, my guys play fearless," Hayford said. "So all those other noises... we've arrived in Portland, we've blocked them out. You're the only interview I'm doing today. Our guys are locked in on winning this game. What I love more than anything else is our guys believe that they're going to win."
Comfortable in the underdog role—Eastern Washington defeated Indiana on the road back in November despite a 12-point second-half deficit—Hayford gave his guarantee unprompted as the interview was winding down.
"We're gonna win and talk again, Jim," Hayford said.
Georgetown coach John Thompson III said later Wednesday he had heard about Hayford's guarantee.
JTIII on Jim Hayford guaranteeing victory: "I heard about that. We'll see on the court."— Adam Kilgore (@AdamKilgoreWP) March 18, 2015
- Mike Fiammetta