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March 20, 2015

Trevon Bluiett

Myles Davis

Dee Davis

Chris Mack

Jalen Reynolds

Matt Stainbrook


Q. Myles, now you've had some time to digest Georgia State and watch a little bit about them, what are your impressions of that team heading into tomorrow's game?
MYLES DAVIS: They might sound like they're a lower division team, but they have some big name players. With Ryan Harrow, we don't know if he's going to play but we're acting like he's going to play; R.J Hunter, big time player, Kevin Ware; and all the rest of those guys. We're treating them like we'd treat anybody else. They're a really good school. They're here for a reason. We can't let our guard down because they're a 14 seed. We're going to go into this game like we do every other game and try to play harder than them.

Q. Myles, you struggled from three-point range probably through the end of the season, Big East Tournament, but were able to get two to fall yesterday. How important was that for your confidence and moving forward?
MYLES DAVIS: It feels good to finally see a couple shots go in. The best part about it is my teammates always are going to tell me to keep shooting the ball, and the coaching staff, too. I'm going to keep shooting. That's what shooters do. Hopefully I can make more shots to help the team out more. If I bring more offense, I feel like we're a more deadlier team. Hopefully I can keep it rolling.

Q. Matt, I know no one has ever asked you about being an Uber driver before, but I saw the shot of you after the game. When do you have time to do that? What are your hours? Have you ever given your teammates rides, and is it something you plan on doing after you finish basketball?
MATT STAINBROOK: Yeah, first off, I don't plan on doing it after basketball. Certainly that's not in the game plan right now. But on off days, on days where we have a couple days off -- especially before the season sort of started and we only had practice and didn't have a ton going on, with my grad class schedule, I don't have a ton of classes so there's a little bit of downtime. It helps me relax, it give me a chance to clear my mind and not have to think too hard. I'd say right about now I probably do between 10 to 20 hours a week depending on how busy the week is. Obviously not doing a lot this week. In the off-season -- I'd say at the beginning of the season, I was doing 20, 25 hours. But yeah, no, just trying to pay some bills and have a good time with it.

Q. Do you ever give your teammates rides?
MATT STAINBROOK: Once before. Not Myles. Myles isn't grateful, so I don't give him rides, but I've had some other teammates that I've given rides.

Q. Matt, any inherent pressure in going up against what has become America's team or at least one of the teams out of the first day that seems to have captured some nationwide attention?
MATT STAINBROOK: I don't think so. I think our team is preparing for them like any other team. We're not going to over-hype them as being the nation's team, but we're also not going to downplay them. We know they're a very good team, and I think we're excited and preparing so far very well for a very good team.

Q. Trevon, yesterday Dee talked about being friends with R.J. and today he said he's also friends with you. Can you talk about that and do you know other guys on their team, and what's it like to play a team where you're familiar with so many of their players?
TREVON BLUIETT: Yeah, me and R.J., we go back, probably since third grade, we played on a couple teams together, probably stayed ten minutes away from each other, a couple of weekends we'd stay over at each other's house. We were pretty close back when we were younger. I don't really know anybody else personally on that team. I think it'll be a good experience to be able to go against somebody that you grew up with. I've never played anybody as close, relationship-wise, as I'll be playing him tomorrow, so it'll be kind of good to get back and play with him.

Q. Matt, when you had your technical foul yesterday, what happened, and how does that sort of fit in? I know you want to play close to the edge but not go over it. How do you sort of get up to playing right up to it but not go over it like maybe you did there?
MATT STAINBROOK: Yeah, so after he dunked the ball, he had a couple words for me and I wanted to make sure that I reiterated that we were equally -- we felt the same way. But it was one of those things where you don't want another team getting excited, getting hyped, getting their momentum shifted their way. But at the same time, I can't get a technical and allow that to be another change in emotions for other teams. I just wanted to try to play with intensity and it kind of spilled over a little bit too much. I don't think that's going to happen again, so yeah.

Q. Jalen, it seemed like yesterday you were a little bit outside your comfort zone, weren't playing maybe the way you had in the past. Was that more the opponent or was it you or maybe jitters, first NCAA Tournament game?
JALEN REYNOLDS: Definitely wasn't jitters, it was just shots wasn't falling for me last night. I have to put that behind me and focus on the next game and just focus on making shots for the team.

Q. Dee, as someone that's been to the tournament before and won, do you give any advice to your teammates, or is it at this point, it's different team, different players, and you kind of roll with what you guys have done so far through the Big East Tournament?
DEE DAVIS: Mostly all I've been telling them is not to overlook an opponent. My freshman year Lehigh beat Duke, and we were supposed to play Duke after playing Notre Dame, and Lehigh had us down maybe 15 points at one point in the game. Really just not overlooking the opponent and coming out to play.

Q. Myles and Dee, how much comfort is it to have Matt playing the way he's playing right now? He seems to be really comfortable, and obviously has a size advantage at the post. But as guards how do you try to incorporate him into what you guys do?
DEE DAVIS: Well, playing with Matt makes it easy, especially if he's playing well and confident. Playing inside out makes the game a lot easier for us. It gives us the opportunity to have open shots, and if he's scoring and getting fouls on the other team, it gives us a better opportunity down the stretch.

MYLES DAVIS: I feel like Matt is one of the best big men in the country. We like to play inside out with Matt. Not too often do you get to have Matt, being a great passer, starting to pass the ball a little bit more than Dee, which is kind of surprising. But no, Matt is a good big man, and without Matt, we probably wouldn't be as far as we are right now.

Q. Trevon, kind of digging into your past, when you were looking at schools and making a decision and settling on Xavier, picking Xavier, was there tradition in the postseason, their ability to get to the tournament, a factor in you choosing the school?
TREVON BLUIETT: Yeah, you know, when I was choosing schools, one thing that would stick out to me would be how good the basketball program would be. And looking at Xavier, not a lot of people look at them as a team to really go deep in the tournament. Ever since -- I think I read a stat -- like since 2008, they've made the Sweet 16 a couple of times. People don't really notice that and take notice of that. But I do, and I think that's the one thing that kind of factored into my decision in coming to Xavier, is just that Xavier is actually a prestigious basketball program, but people -- it just takes a lot of time to look into it to see that.

Q. Do you feel like you're coming into this game with a chip on your shoulder? Going back to the Big East Tournament, people thought you weren't going to beat Butler or thought they were going to be playing Georgetown, and maybe no one thought you were going to make it to the championship, and here you are a win under your belt in the tournament. Do you come into the game feeling like people underrate you at all?
MYLES DAVIS: I definitely feel like people don't look at us as a big-time program, and the thing is we take that and we use it to our advantage. We try to come into every game and try to prove people wrong. It gives us an edge. It makes us play hard. We've been trying to prove to people all year. We've had our ups and downs, but the best part about it is we're starting to play our best basketball towards the end of the season. Yeah, we have a chip on our shoulder and we love trying to prove people wrong, and it just -- it's great, and it's fun out there when you get to see Xavier basketball, how well we move the ball, and how good our defense is starting to become. Hopefully people start recognizing us more, and that's our plan is just to go out there and play hard.

JALEN REYNOLDS: And just to tie into what Myles is saying, it's not about what everybody else is saying, it's about what we do and how we produce on the court. We're obviously all in this together, so just keep it going until the wheels fall off.

Q. Chris, how did you decide to take Matt Stainbrook from Western Michigan? I saw pictures of him when he was there. His body looks different than it does now. What did you see in him and did you imagine him becoming the player that he is right now?
COACH CHRIS MACK: Well, Matt's first college game for Western Michigan was against Xavier in the Cintas Center, and that was his first game. And we had a center named Kenny Frease who was really good player, an All-Conference type player. And I think Matt, on his first game of his career, if he didn't get a double-double, was right there, nine points, eight rebounds, and really played Kenny toe-to-toe and held his ground. So just made a note of that like wow, how did we not recruit a guy from Lakewood, St. Ed's, a storied program, a guy that certainly looks like a player to me, a little out of shape. And then a couple years later he ends up transferring, and we just asked a couple of our colleagues that played against him, that coached against him, their thoughts, and Rob Senderoff of Kent State says, man, I love big guys and he has a good touch. And you look at Matt's statistics as a sophomore, and he's pulling double-doubles against Duke, Colorado, Temple. Seemed like the bigger the competition, the better he played. So we brought Matt down to visit, and he was interested. Just had a very open and honest conversation with Matt, told him that we weren't going to take him unless he was serious about basketball. He couldn't show that he was serious and still weigh 320 pounds, said we're going to try and get you down to 260 pounds. I told him you're going to take off your funky elbow pads and your knee braces, and your wild hair, you're going to cut. And he was like, Coach, that's no problem, I'll do that. I'll do anything you ask. We had heard a lot of people say he'll do anything that you ask. And we had heard a lot of people say that he will do anything that you ask him to do. I told him, you're going to take off those hideous looking goggles. He said, Coach, I sort of have a lazy eye, and they're prescription. I said, all right, buddy, you can keep the goggles, and that's sort of how we went about it. Then we were also able to give Matt a workout, and we did a post drill that we do every day in the off-season, in the preseason workouts, and Matt was the best guy of our post guys. He knew how to seal, he knew how to use his body, and I said right there, if he can do that at 320 pounds, imagine what he can do at 270 pounds. From that day forward, I kept texting with Matt when he was still at Western and then when he was back at Cleveland, before he came down in the summer, this is what you're going to run today. I want to know your time on the track, you're going to do two and a half miles today, tell me your time. Every day he would text me back, Coach, this is what I got. And he showed up on his unofficial visit at 320 pounds, and in about a month's span before we got him, he showed back up at Xavier to start summer classes down 17 pounds, so I knew that he was serious at that point.

Q. Yesterday he's obviously playing extremely well, he gets that big basket and the technical foul. I mean, is that him, that sort of fiery, right on the edge player, and how much did you -- how unhappy were you at that moment given everything?
COACH CHRIS MACK: Well, you never want your players to get technicals. You know, Matt can get chippy, and oftentimes it can be with the wrong people. It can be with the referees. He generally doesn't say squat to his opponents. I really don't know what happened. I don't know if they were exchanging barbs with the dunk at the end, and Matt, this was sort of his way of getting back. All that stuff is really meaningless, and you've got to be above that. And Matt is a fifth year senior for the most part, and his career has always been above that. But you do want your seniors to play with some urgency, to play with some fire, and I think Matt is certainly playing like that here down the stretch.

Q. With such a short turnaround, your team, their team plays what you are, who you are, as you are, and Coach Hunter said that what they like to do is confuse opponents on defense, try a lot of different looks within one possession. Have you seen that before in other opponents this year, and what do they do to really kind of disrupt teams on offense?
COACH CHRIS MACK: Well, they reach constantly. They employ a match-up zone. We have to do a great job of being ball strong. When you drive around your man, most teams try to get back in the play. Georgia State is content to let you go around them and then reach from behind. That's why they're fourth in the country in turning people over. Our guys have to be cognizant of that. If we can take really good care of the ball, get good shots and be good on the glass, I think our offense will be fine, but easier said than done. Georgia State is in this game for a reason, and we just have to take really, really good care of the ball.

Q. Of all the crazy things that went on yesterday in the first day of the tournament, Georgia State seems to be the best nationwide story. They're inspiring a lot of attention. What are you going to do with your kids to keep them concentrating on the task at hand and not get caught up in we're going against what has essentially become America's team?
COACH CHRIS MACK: I mean, our guys don't read USA Today. I don't know how to answer that question. I mean, I think fan bases in general get caught up in that. Players don't. I'm more worried about players understanding zipper flair, understanding when they run a stagger ball screen, they'll either stagger away for Hunter or they'll pop the 4 man. That's the only thing we concern ourselves with. We don't worry about the nation's feel-good story. They can find another story after Saturday if we do our job.

Q. Myles struggled from three-point range in the Big East Tournament and for the first part of yesterday's game. How much does that impact you guys to maybe have him making some shots and have that confidence?
COACH CHRIS MACK: Well, he's one of the best shooters on our team. Matt -- not only Matt, but certainly out of the post, Matt, finds our guys on the perimeter when they choose to double. I think we've been a really good passing team all year, and if you've got guys like Dee and Myles and Trevon and J.P. hitting shots, it makes us that much harder to guard. It was really good to see Myles knock in a couple. He's worked at it. He's got to understand last year was last year. This year is a new year. He's had a phenomenal year. He could have easily been named the most improved player in the Big East based on what he did as a freshman versus his sophomore numbers, and he's got to play like that. And I thought when Dee went out with foul trouble, Myles assumed the point and did a great job, and it was good to see those two threes go in for him.

Q. What does Jalen need to do to play more like Jalen in tomorrow's game as compared to the last game?
COACH CHRIS MACK: He needs to focus on the next play. You know, like Jalen sometimes plays as if he's that character on Charlie Brown that has the rain cloud above his head all the time. So if something goes poorly for Jalen, he slumps his shoulders and drops his head, and what he doesn't understand is that affects the next play. You've got to have a short-term memory, and that's part of the reason that makes Jalen such a great player is he cares so much and he's bothered when he doesn't play well, but the really good ones I've been around have a next play mentality. What can I do to help my team on the very next play, whether it's defensively, offensively, and he and I talked about that, and I'm confident he'll be a better player tomorrow. He usually shines when we need him most.

Q. What about Dee? Has he shined, not necessarily on the court, but maybe in the locker room or talking to guys, because he's had this experience, he's been here before, and a lot of the freshmen obviously haven't.
COACH CHRIS MACK: Well, I'm incredibly proud of Dee. I think he's been maligned throughout his career as just an average point guard. The fact is he's one of the top 15 assist men in the entire country. He does a great job of running our show, running our team. It doesn't matter if you throw out a zone, a press, man-to-man, he runs our stuff and gets guys in the right spots, and there's a comfort zone when Dee is on the floor. When he's hitting shots and people don't respect his ability to shoot the three, he's had some really big games in his career, none bigger than yesterday. I'd like to think that his experience as a freshman in the NCAA Tournament, being part of a Sweet 16 team, has really fueled his desire to be even more so of a leader here as of late to get that feeling back and to get back to the stage that he was on as a freshman in a bigger role. I'm really proud of Dee.

Q. How much is R.J. a key to his team? He didn't score much in the first half of the last game, but obviously made the winning shot and came up strong.
COACH CHRIS MACK: They wouldn't be here without him. The truly great players can shake off a bad game personally and make plays like he did, whether it's on the defensive end on or the big three that you mentioned. As I said yesterday, he's an NBA-caliber prospect, and our players understand that. We've got guys that are from Indianapolis. Trevon Bluiett knows R.J. Hunter extremely well and his family. Dee, those Indianapolis kids know one another, so there's going to be no wow, I didn't know he'd shoot that shot or I didn't know he had that in his arsenal. We understand that R.J. Hunter is completely capable of going off for 40 at any point in time. We have to do our best to chase him off screens, make life difficult for him, and at the same time, they've got other very, very good players, talented players and are really led by their perimeter players, and it's a different style than we've seen.

Q. I know you know Coach Hunter just from the recruiting trail, but did you remember watching him when he played at Miami when they played Xavier when Byron was a freshman?
COACH CHRIS MACK: I don't think they had televisions back then. I listened to him on the radio a little bit, he and Byron. No, the Miami teams back then were really, really good. Ron Harper, Coach Hunter, Little Newsome, those guys were really, really special. I remember all those wars growing up and just falling in love with basketball, whether it was just going to games, listening to them on the radio, following them when your paper was 15 pages long and was full sized and not four inches by four inches and a lot of car ads. Yeah, I remember those days.
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