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March 23, 2019

Mike Anderson

Bloomington, Indiana

Indiana - 63, Arkansas - 60

MIKE ANDERSON: Coming in, obviously we talked about coming in and having an opportunity to participate in this tournament. We were in it to win it, and kind of ran out of time. Indiana, they did what they were supposed to do here at home. They took advantage of the home court, made some free throws going down the stretch. We missed some free throws, had a couple lay-ups there at the end, and when you play a road game, you've got to be able to make plays to keep yourself in position, and we were right there. I thought the game went back and forth, and they got a little cushion there, we had a little cushion early on, but it went until the final horn, so just proud of the effort of our guys. I thought they fought. We matched their physicality, I thought, inside. Made Morgan and De'Ron work for everything. I thought the guys that made a big difference in the game was the Green kid. I thought he had some clutch baskets for them.

Q. In a way it sort of feels like the story of the game, so many close games that went both ways all season.
MIKE ANDERSON: Right, it seemed like -- I talked about our team going on runs. It seemed like the games were streaks, it seemed like. We were in almost every game we played this year, so we'll use that, going through that. The inexperience caught up with it now and hopefully we can gain some experience so we can win those kind of games. We've been in enough of them. But I was proud of, like I say, our guys. They held their poise, even going down the stretch in this game, and with all the things that have taken place, you lose your best player, a guy that went for 29 and 12 against these guys, and now you've got to do it with other guys. But I was proud of -- you think about Isaiah, you think about Desi, I thought all those guys -- I thought Gabe gave us everything he had. They gave me everything they had.

Q. It was a tough shot obviously for Jalen, but he got it up --
MIKE ANDERSON: It was good. I thought it had a chance.

Q. Does your heart sink when you realize --
MIKE ANDERSON: Yeah, more so for the guys. I thought they played hard enough, and at times I thought we played well enough to win. Coming in here, I thought we had a great chance of putting it all. But you've got to be able to make plays. Like I said, free throws, loose balls going down the stretch. We had a couple lay-ups that we missed right point blank. You get that and-one, it just changes the whole complexion of the game.

But give Indiana credit. I thought those guys, they rose to the occasion and made some plays for them. Green even knocking those down, knocking down those free throws.

Q. When you look at Desi's game and the way he was playing, how tough was it not to have him the last four --
MIKE ANDERSON: He was a guy that had it going on, whether it be attacking the basket, making passes or stepping up, knocking shots down. I thought he played his heart out. He was trying to take charges. Even I think his last foul was trying to take a charge. As I said, these guys have learned a lot of things, and it was -- he was a guy that had it going on for us. But we've got multiple guys that are capable of doing it.

Q. Morgan does a lot of dirty work around the rim, but how effective is he in establishing the --
MIKE ANDERSON: He's good. He's good. That's one of the things we really talked about. What he tries to do is lock you in and seal you, and I thought for the most part -- he's got a great pair of hands. He's a senior. I mean, you think about it, he's been around a while. He's pretty crafty. But I thought we made him work for everything. We made him work for everything.

Q. What did you learn about your team these last two games?
MIKE ANDERSON: We have a team. I think we have a team that's going to get better, and the off-season, they're going to have a tremendous off-season. I think they aspire to be -- to be better than they were this year. There are some games there where we let slip because of our inability to make plays or make the right decision. Even in this game here, you could just see it. You could see that sometimes where the inexperience comes in. We got a 1 on 5 and we still try to get to the basket as opposed to just bringing it out and making them execute.

But I think for the most part, this team has heart. I think they want to be coached. As long as you've got that and you want to be coached and we've got some guys that will be better, though. The off-season, whether it be in the weight room, whether it be getting reps up, in the gym, working on your individual skill, the gym will be open. The lab -- that's what we call it, the lab. The lab will be open. I think it's going to be a great off-season. But right now I want them just to get away from it. We've been going since June, 1st of June, so now these guys will get a chance to hopefully catch their breath and catch up in school. A little bit over a month of school left, month and a half, so they've got to finish up and finish up strong.

Q. What would you say about your team given the fact that this was a hostile environment and they gave it a good run? And also talk about just the atmosphere.
MIKE ANDERSON: That's the thing I said; they're not intimidated. We've played in a lot of great environments, when you think about even an SEC, playing at Texas Tech. We've played in some environments, and I think that's why -- what impressed me more than anything else was even without a guy that was the leading rebounder in the conference, third leading scorer, and we come in, and our guys were right there until the horn. So that shows me the growth. We go to Providence and play well.

So these games to me, obviously gives these guys the blueprint of what's in store for this team, and we've got to get better. I think we've got to get better.

Q. They outscored you in the paint. Is that where you really --
MIKE ANDERSON: Well, that's their strength. That's their strength. They play power basketball. We made them work for everything, you know, and some of that was at the free-throw line. But I think on the other end of it, I think we did a good job of spacing the floor and getting in the gaps and getting to the lanes. We didn't get many free throws in the first half, but in the second half I thought we did a much better job, and now you've just got to capitalize. In a game of this magnitude, it's going to be a possession here, a free throw there, a steal or a stop there, but you've got to be able to capitalize and make the play. But that's their strength, and I thought we made them work on scoring.

Q. Every game when you were a player at Tulsa, an assistant coach at Tulsa, UAB, Arkansas, every time you've been involved in the NIT, the next year you actually went to the NCAA Tournament. I don't think that's a coincidence. How good do you feel with this experience if you guys --
MIKE ANDERSON: Like I say, you think about what we just did. Obviously coming off a disappointing season, but we have a chance to have a new life in the NIT, and with this type of team, whether it be practice or games, that's going to be so instrumental in your development because what you're doing, you're developing their mindset, a plan for a championship. But to go to the Big East and play at Providence, that's going to pay off big, big dividends, and then coming here to a hostile environment, and they're playing much, much better than they were in the beginning of the year, and so what that signals to our guys is we can play with anybody. Just get a little more seasoning, get a couple more pieces to go with what we've got, we will be better. I know that.

Q. Isaiah tied the NCAA freshman record, Jamal Murray's record --
MIKE ANDERSON: Did he? Okay.

Q. And then Isaiah the last eight games was 18 of 28 on threes. What did you think about what Desi did, and what did you think of (inaudible)?
MIKE ANDERSON: It tells you the potential of those guys and our team. I think we got the right guys. And obviously throughout the year, they've gotten better. Even Isaiah, as people start challenging him, he was out on a record pace early on, and then people really started -- once he got the confidence, really getting into him, and I think you saw his savvy starting to take place and him learning from that and getting away from people and creating, getting to the basket. So now you put in an off-season where he can get in the weight room and get stronger, eat a little bit more, he's going to be even better, I think.

Desi obviously got the opportunity to really impact the team even more so. I thought he took the ball, he ran with it, and you can just see the confidence is soaring right now. They feel like they have some of the better players, not necessarily just on this team but in the country, and I think that's huge for the individual development of a player. The mental part of it and the physical part of it, and having an opportunity to go out and showcase it. I think that's the beauty of it, and that's going to make us an even much better basketball team as those guys get better.

Q. All the fouls today, was that because Indiana is so good inside or was it just a rough day?
MIKE ANDERSON: A different game. It was a different type game. If you think the tempo was more at their pace -- they had some opportunities, they just didn't score. It was other guys scoring. I'm sure Indiana had a little bit to do with that, but even our guys. They had some open looks, but they just didn't knock them down.

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