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March 14, 2015
NEW YORK CITY, NEW YORK
Villanova Â– 69
Xavier - 52
Q. Â Josh, congratulations on the win and on being the tournament's Most Outstanding Player.Â Your thoughts on that award and the tournament victory.
JOSH HART:Â Thank you.Â I know I'm going to sound like a broken record the last couple of days, but I got to shout out to my teammates.Â The confidence they had in me.Â They kept on finding me when I was open.
Then when you have the confidence of your teammates, you're able to go out there, play, and have fun.Â So that's just what I did.
Q.Â Best regular season in Villanova history, you guys don't have that one big star.Â What's made this team so special?
DYLAN ENNIS:Â It's the confidence Coach puts in us.Â We trust in what he does.Â They've been doing this for a long time.Â We have the confidence in each other as well as Coach.Â We just stick together.
Q.Â Josh, Chris Mack came in here before and said you guys are capable of winning a National Championship.Â Going through the season now, do you feel like you're capable of beating anyone going into the tournament?
JOSH HART:Â I think so, yeah, if we play Villanova basketball, but our focus is on getting better every day.Â Our focus is on, tomorrow we're going to find out who our next opponent is and just preparing for that game and just getting better every day and just taking it game by game.
So obviously, that's our goal this year, but we have to go through everybody in the NCAA Tournament.Â They're tough teams.Â All those teams are experienced.Â All those teams are talented.
Like I said, it's our goal, but we have to get better every day to do that.
Q.Â For both players, guys, this is the first Big East Tournament championship for Villanova in 20 years, and as a longtime member of the conference, what does it mean to the basketball program, the university, and both of you as players?
DYLAN ENNIS:Â As players, we're very excited about it.Â We haven't been here, but I think every player would say they're really excited for Coach as well.Â Coach has been grinding with Villanova for a long time.Â For us to be finally able to give it to him, we're happy about that.
The school gives us so much support.Â We love them for it.Â From the students to the teachers to Father (Donohue), you know.Â Everybody is happy about it.
Q.Â Coach said earlier this week you guys have done a good job of not getting ahead of yourself, focusing on one game at a time.Â How important was it for you guys to win this thing and shed that short coming of last March?
JOSH HART:Â It felt good.Â Obviously, we came here and kind of failed last year.Â So we kind of let the past be the past.Â Obviously, this definitely feels good, and we just have to build on this.Â We have to go back tomorrow, get better, and then figure out who we're playing and just prepare for that game.
Q.Â Josh, I know this is obviously a big moment for the team, but as an individual, your name is now etched alongside Patrick Ewing and Chris Mullin and Kemba Walker.Â What does that mean to you just to know that?
JOSH HART:Â It's an honor.Â It's definitely humbling to be in that list of guys.Â But like I said, I've got to thank my teammates for that.
Dylan did a great job finding me when I was open, Darrun.Â Our bigs did, Danny, J.P., Ryan.Â Coach had full trust in me.
Like I said, when I have those guys' total confidence, we just go out there, play, and have fun and do whatever I can to help them.Â I've just got to say it's a great honor, and it's definitely humbling.
Q.Â Coach, this one's for you:Â What's your opinion about winning the conference title, in this atmosphere (inaudible)?
COACH WRIGHT:Â Anything we do at Villanova in the Big East is very, very significant.Â We take great pride in being part of this conference.Â We take great pride in the history of Villanova; we really do.Â So to be one of the coaches that has won that, just like Josh said, it's very humbling.Â It's a great honor.
There's not a lot of coaches at Villanova.Â It's a great place to coach.Â You can look at the records, all the coaches have won at Villanova.Â It's a great place.Â I'm very honored to be a part of it.Â And this league.Â We love this league.
Q.Â Coach, talk about the play of your Most Valuable Player.Â He shot 21‑of‑29 over three games and missed no more than three shots in any game and made seven shots in every game.Â Talk about his play in the tournament.
COACH WRIGHT:Â Honestly, he's about halfway there to what he can be.Â He really can be a great player.Â He had a great freshman year.Â We all hear about the sophomore jinx, and he came back and had a better sophomore year, which is really difficult to do, because this year people knew who he was, and when he came in the game and knew he was coming in to give us energy.Â And to do it in all these big games, it just shows you talent, character, and it also shows you how much better he can get.
Q.Â Jay, do you mind talking about winning your first Big East Championship, your first time in the championship game.
COACH WRIGHT:Â It's a thrill, man.Â Like I said, I grew up coming to this tournament as a fan.Â When I coached at Hofstra, I would make sure, even if we were in the championship game, which was always 11:00, I'd come here to this tournament to watch Villanova.Â This is my favorite tournament.
I love the NCAA Tournament, obviously, but this is where we're all from.Â We're all from the Northeast.Â New York, Madison Square Garden is the Mecca, and so to come here and just play in it is a thrill for us.Â To win it, I can't even tell you.Â I don't know if it's really sunk in yet.Â I do know we're going to have to forget about it, though, on Monday.
Q.Â Jay, you mentioned earlier how the '95 team was honored because of winning the Big East Tournament.Â How do you feel about this group of guys now being honored 20 years from now, coming back and taking a bow?
COACH WRIGHT:Â That's a great point, Joe.Â When we played our last game against St. John's at home, the '95 team was there, and they came in the locker room.Â They're a very revered group at Villanova, and we said that to our guys.Â We said, "It would be great if you guys come back as Big East Tournament champions, also."Â Already, we're going to come back as regular season champions, but we said that would be great to do.
I'm thrilled for these guys because these are really special players, but also special Villanovans.Â These guys take pride in being part of the program.Â They take pride in playing for the guys that came before them.Â They know all the history.Â Stewart Granger was here behind the bench tonight, Alvin Williams.Â They know all these guys.
For these guys to be‑‑ the names you mentioned, Patrick Ewing, that means a lot to them.Â But to be mentioned with Alvin Williams and Kerry Kittles, that means more to these guys.
Q.Â Jay, there's been some great Villanova teams, but nobody's ever had a season before the tournament like you guys.Â Is this the best team you've coached?
COACH WRIGHT:Â They've got a chance.Â They really have a chance.Â We'll see how they do in this next tournament, but this does have a chance to be the best team I've ever had.
Q.Â Jay, oftentimes, when cutting down the nets, the coach is the person who makes the last cut.Â You specifically asked all your team to have Pinkston make the last cut.Â Can you tell us why.
COACH WRIGHT:Â He means so much to our team.Â He really exemplifies what our guys are all about.Â He came as an McDonald's All‑American.Â He was a leading scorer on this team, and in his senior year, he just did whatever the team needed him to do, not score as much.Â He could, but he didn't need to.Â And he just sacrificed all year.
He's going to graduate on time, like all our guys do.Â He had a little trouble his freshman year, and he's in New York City, which means the world to him.Â I thought of it, but I know every guy on this team would want the same thing.Â As soon as I said, they said, "Yep, J.P."Â He means so much to us, and New York means so much to him.Â This was a beautiful experience for all of us to watch him.
Q.Â Coach, you won the regular season.Â Now you've won the tournament.Â As such, your voice right now carries.Â With the NCAA coming up, how important is it for you to be able to trumpet the idea that six teams in the Big East should be in this tournament coming up?
COACH WRIGHT:Â I always leave it to the Committee.Â I think the Committee does a great job.Â If anybody cares about my opinion, just playing against these teams and watching what all the other teams have done this year, I definitely do think all six teams are deserving.
I think, if Seton Hall would have stayed healthy, I think they would have been an NCAA Tournament team.Â They had the talent.Â They had injuries.Â They lost some guys.Â If they would have stayed healthy, I think they would have been in, too.
I think that's the strength of this conference.Â No one loves the old Big East more than me.Â It's not the old Big East.Â It's never going to be.Â But there's no old ACC either, and there's no old Big Ten either.Â This is something really special.Â Every school here that comes to this event is a basketball school, the purest, everybody.
You can tell the crowd, they're intelligent basketball crowds.Â It's awesome to be a part of this.
Q.Â Jay, when Chris Mack was in here, he said that he thought you guys were capable of winning a national title.Â As you head into next week, do you feel at this point you're capable of beating anyone?
COACH WRIGHT:Â I definitely do.Â I appreciate that from Chris.Â He doesn't just throw things around like that.Â I really respect the job he did with his team.Â That game they had to win at Creighton was a tough game.Â I think that one put them in the Tournament.
But we could win it.Â But we could get beat by anybody.Â It's just the way college basketball is.Â We're not Kentucky in terms of depth and talent, but we could beat them.Â But we could lose to a 15 or 16, too, if we don't play right.Â I just think that's what we are.
Q.Â Jay, you mentioned the Big East isn't the Big East anymore, but the conference tournament is the conference tournament.Â Is there a sense of relief for you?Â I know you had your fair share of wins in early 2000 and could have won the Big East Tournament.Â Is there a sense of relief that you kind of needed this at all?
COACH WRIGHT:Â Not personally.Â It's thrilling.Â It's thrilling.Â There's kind of a relief for our program in that ‑‑ I sit and think about we had some teams like '06 with Randy Foye and those guys, I kind of feel bad they didn't get to experience this.Â The '09 team, I felt bad they didn't get to experience it.Â I felt they were good enough to win it.
It's hard to be a good enough team to win this tournament, but I'm thrilled for these guys.Â I'm thrilled for these guys and our program.
Q.Â Coach, do you have any closing comments on playing the conference final on a Saturday and having to play on a Thursday and also playing on a Sunday.
THE MODERATOR:Â Saturday versus Sunday playing.
COACH WRIGHT:Â For the finals?Â I think it's huge.Â I really do.Â Plus you get to enjoy Selection Sunday, which is great.Â On our campus, it's like a holiday.Â It's nice that the guys get to experience that, and the families all get to be there and the students get to be there.
And you do get that day of rest.Â If you're playing on Thursday, it's important.
Q.Â Jay, can you talk about the crowd, the Villanova fans tonight.
COACH WRIGHT:Â Every time we come‑‑ our strongest alumni following, the largest number of alumni is in the metropolitan area.Â When we come up here, they just love it.Â They love the Garden like we all do.Â They all grew up with the Big East, all of them.Â It's just awesome to play here.
They always come out strong in the Garden.Â I'll tell you, when the game‑‑ when they were doing the introductions and I could hear‑‑ it sounded like a home game.Â I could hear them chanting, "Let's go Nova!" before the game started, I was impressed.Â I kind of forgot about that, but it hit me real quickly.Â We've got an advantage here.
Q.Â Jay, if you look at some of the best teams in the country, most of those teams have a big star.Â You guys don't have that guy.Â Is that a strength for you guys in terms of they don't know where to look?
COACH WRIGHT:Â I think it is.Â I think we have guys that are capable of being stars, but they know they don't have to be, and they accept that.Â They love being a part of the team, and I think that's our strength.Â I think that's our strength, that a number of these guys could be stars if we needed them to be.
Q.Â Jay, can you talk about the success the team had against their zone, especially in the first half?
COACH WRIGHT:Â I thought the Providence game really helped us because we struggled against Providence's zone, and it almost cost us the game, and it gave us a chance to look at it last night, talk about it today, look at it again today, and then be prepared.
Chris is a smart coach.Â He saw it.Â He was like, we've got to give it a shot.Â And I thought the guys really adjusted well.
Q.Â Coach, another terrific season for you, but do you feel like it's overlooked?Â I feel like Villanova on a national scale isn't being thrown in with names like Wisconsin, Virginia, Duke, Kentucky.Â Do you feel like you're overlooked on a national landscape?
COACH WRIGHT:Â I don't think I follow that enough to know.Â A lot of people have asked us that.Â I'll tell you what, in the Northeast, in Philadelphia, we get a lot of attention.Â I think Fox Sports does a great job of putting us out there.Â We've got commercials with our guys on it.Â We get a lot of‑‑ every recruit across the country watches every game on Fox Sports.Â I feel fine about it.
And the guys don't play for that.Â They play for their teammates and their coaches and the people at Villanova.Â We get a lot of attention there.Â I have heard that a lot.Â We're not bothered by it at all.Â We're pleased with the attention we get.
Q.Â It seems like you locked up a Number 1 seed this week.Â How big of a difference is that between being a 1 and a 2?
COACH WRIGHT:Â I really don't think it's that big of a deal.Â I said that when we might not have been a 1.Â I just don't‑‑ it's all matchups.
I remember we were a 1 seed‑‑ tell me if I'm wrong.Â I remember the game.Â I think we were a 1 seed in '06, and we got Arizona from an 8‑9 game, I think.Â That team‑‑ we played them at the Wells Fargo Center.Â If we didn't play that game at home, that team was beating us.Â It's just matchups.
A couple of years ago, we were 2 or 3 and got an UCLA team in the second round, and they were real young.Â They had a lot of freshmen that were leaving early for the NBA, and they were young.Â It wasn't as difficult a matchup because they were so young.Â It's so much matchups.
Q.Â Jay, a couple days ago, you said your team was not one of your best defensive teams.Â After the last two nights, would you care to amend that?Â Or do you still feel the same way?
COACH WRIGHT:Â We're getting there.Â I felt the last two nights were a great setup for us, especially last night in that Providence did such a great job.Â We couldn't score, but we did a great job on Henton.Â And Dunn, even though he got 22, was a killer.Â We made it tough on him.Â They had to bring Lindsey off the bench to hit some threes.Â We did a good job.
We lose that game last night if we don't defend like that.Â And then tonight I thought we really stepped it up, too.Â That's what we've got to keep doing.Â We've got to keep getting better, and we could be one of our best defensive teams.Â We could get there.
Q.Â Coach brought up against Kentucky, how do you think you'd match up if you played them?Â Is that a team you'd like to see?
DYLAN ENNIS:Â I think Kentucky is a great team.Â Whoever is put in front of us, we approach it the same way; we play the Villanova basketball way.Â I think, if we play Villanova basketball, we're a tough group of guys.Â If we stick to our core values, and I think we can beat anybody.Â As Coach said, we can get beat by anybody as well.
But I think if we continue to play with each other and play confident‑‑ Coach gives us all the confidence in the world.Â If we play defense how we've been doing, I think we should be fine for anybody.
Q.Â Coach, a lot of times in the NCAA Tournament, team will get a scare, and they'll bounce back with a strong game.Â You kind of had it last night, and then tonight, do you think that's the best preparation you could have going into the Tournament?
COACH WRIGHT:Â That game for us last night was great for us after you win it.Â When you're in it, you don't ask for one of those, but that was great for us.Â It really was because we had a lot of chances to lose that game, and we battled.
Those games are good for you.Â When you get in the NCAA Tournament, if you make a run, you definitely have those games.Â I'm glad we got it in the tournament.
Q.Â Coach, you talk about defense.Â Talk about your defense against Stainbrook.Â He's been dominating the last couple of nights.Â Tonight, just 4 points, 2‑of‑8.Â He was clearly out of rhythm.
COACH WRIGHT:Â I thought our depth on him‑‑ we tried to keep fresh bodies on him.Â He's been dominant.Â We had Daniel Ochefu, Pinkston, Kris Jenkins and Josh Hart on him at different times.Â We tried to do it, fresh bodies, fresh bodies, and you've got to be tough on him.Â He did a great job.
Q.Â Going back to the whole 1 seed thing, again, it's not official, but most likely you guys will probably stay in Pittsburgh.Â How big will it be to stay there?
COACH WRIGHT:Â In '05, we played up in Syracuse, and that was our first tournament since I was back at Villanova as a head coach.Â We were shocked how welcoming everybody from Syracuse was.Â It was unbelievable.Â They did everything for us.
And then in '09, we went to Boston in the final eight.Â It was after B.C. left the Big East.Â And everybody in Boston was so thrilled to have a Big East team there.Â It was pretty cool.Â It would be nice if that happened in Pittsburgh, too.Â That would be cool.
Q.Â Jay, offensively, it's been a feature of your team all year, but just talk about how tough it is for teams to guard you guys.Â You had nine threes tonight, shot 50 percent from the floor, you had 24 points in the paint, and you had 27 points off the bench.Â A lot of weapons.
COACH WRIGHT:Â Again, I think that is our strength.Â That balanced scoring and guys that are good enough to be 20, 22‑point scorers.Â Both of these guys could be 22‑point scorers on another team.Â But their mentality is positive being an 8, 10, 12‑point scorer and being a good team player.Â I think that's our greatest strength.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports