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March 15, 2015

Branden Dawson

Tom Izzo

Travis Trice


Wisconsin – 80
Michigan State - 69

COACH IZZO:  Extremely proud of my team, and I'm proud of the way they played.  I'm proud of the way they prepared.  I thought we played one of the greatest games we've played for 32, 32 and a half minutes, or 35, 36 minutes.  And then we made a couple mistakes, and they made a couple of great shots, and that's the way the game goes.
To go 9 for 9 from the line, to do almost everything we wanted to do, to dominate them on the boards, it was a couple of bad turnovers and a couple great plays by them.  So extremely disappointed, but extremely proud that this team battled and prepared last night, tired, prepared as good last night and this morning as any team I've had.

Q.  At this program there's no silver lining in losing, but your best performance of the year.  How can this now propel you for next week?
TRAVIS TRICE:  We've just got to correct our mistakes.  Like Coach said, we feel like we played great for about 35, 36 minutes, and just ‑‑ we had a couple mistakes where we fell apart.  But other than that, I mean, we're proud of the way we played.
BRANDEN DAWSON:  Just what Travis said, we just had a couple mistakes that we made down the stretch.  We played good as a team.  We listened to the game plan, we were well prepared, and we just came up with some key mistakes down the stretch that you can't make against a disciplined team like Wisconsin.

Q.  Travis, what did you guys learn from the last three days, and do you think you're playing your best basketball right now?
TRAVIS TRICE:  I think we learned a lot about our team.  I feel great where we're headed right now.  Our coaching staff did a great job of preparing us all weekend.  Players did a good job of executing and carrying out the game plan and not losing heart.
Yeah, it feels bad to lose, but we're happy with where we're at right now going into the tournament.

Q.  With the NCAA Tournament ‑‑ getting over the disappointment, is that an issue with the NCAA Tournament, not having a hangover or anything like that, when obviously everything you guys put into this game, to come that close?
BRANDEN DAWSON:  Yeah, I think we played good as a team, so we were the last two teams in the championship, so like Travis said, we can't hang our heads.  We still have another chance with the NCAA Tournament coming up, so we played good, so right now we definitely feel comfortable going into the tournament.

Q.  Coach called a time‑out with 3.7 seconds remaining.  What was going on during that time?  I'm sure it wasn't drawing up strategy.
TRAVIS TRICE:  Coach did it on purpose, and he said, he made us look around, look around the gym, and he wanted us to look at that and remember that feeling.  Take that all in.  That way we don't want to feel that feeling again.  And I think that was the perfect thing to do.  I mean, to sit around, and you're looking at the gym, everybody else is celebrating, probably mad that we called a time‑out knowing they were going to win.  But we just don't want to feel that feeling again.
BRANDEN DAWSON:  Yeah, I agree with Travis.  Coach, he wanted us to just look around the gym and just see how it felt.  Like I said, we played good as a team, so we definitely just have to learn from our mistakes and just listen to his game plan.

Q.  Branden, being from this general area, so much talent that comes out of this region, what do you think it is about a Chicago player that makes him stand out from players from the rest of the country?
BRANDEN DAWSON:  I'll say guys from Chicago, they're just all‑around good players.  Guys from Indiana are good players, too, but it's just the way‑‑ just a different style of basketball that they play.  Chicago, they play hard, so being a guy from Indiana, really just taking over the same thing.

Q.  You talk about building blocks, and your guys certainly gave you one today for next week.  Taking those timeouts, doing those little things, how do you see this translating for next week?
COACH IZZO:  That's really what I did in the time‑out.  I didn't just say look around.  I said look around, but understand that ‑‑ I preach a lot about winning games and winning championships.  To win a game, you do a lot of things right.  To win a championship, you do 90 percent of the things right.  We made some mistakes.  We had a couple turnovers that were just ridiculous, but they come back, and give them credit, they had to make some shots.  I thought there were a couple tough calls.  Everything goes that way at the end of a tough game.  But we had our chance to win the game, and we didn't finish the job.  But for once, it wasn't at the free‑throw line.  We got 9 for 9, we out‑rebound them by 9.
That's a very, very, very good basketball team we played, deserving of all the accolades that all of them have got from Bo as Coach of the Year, and hopefully Hall of Fame, to Kaminsky's Player of the Year to hopefully National Player of the Year, to hopefully a No.1 seed.  They deserve everything they got, and they proved it because we gave them as good a shot as I think anybody has.  To get them down 10 at that time of the game and them have enough resiliency and senior leadership to come back, that's a team that can compete for a national championship.

Q.  Similar question that I asked Branden.  You started two guys today from the Chicago area.  What is it about this region that makes it so special in producing talent?
COACH IZZO:  Chicago is a big city, they've got a lot of good players.  I think the Midwest in general has a tougher kid.  I love getting guys from the cities.  I think they're hungrier sometimes, they're tough, and of course when there's more people, there's more chance to have more players.  There's been a lot of good players that have come out of Chicago.  I think the saddest part of the day for me is I thought Branden Dawson had, whatever minutes he played, all but one or two‑‑ he played 38 minutes and I`d say all but one or two were phenomenal.  He jumped over people, he made shots, free throws, he got rebounds.  We put him on Kaminsky and he didn`t guard him the whole game, but he did one hell of a job on him.  And you know, he had a guy at 19 points, but on Dawson, I don't think he had nearly that many, so maybe that shows why a Chicago kid, tough kid.
And I'm pleased for Branden.  I'm the first to push him.  I'm the first to hug him, and today was a day where the guy gave me everything he had.  He prepared last night well.  Guys did such a good job last night and this morning, and trust me when I say this, that is a good team that we played.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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