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March 24, 2016

Jay Wright

Daniel Ochefu

Ryan Arcidiacono

Louisville, Kentucky

Villanova - 92, Miami - 69

THE MODERATOR: We'll begin with an opening statement from Coach, and then we'll have questions for the student-athletes.

COACH WRIGHT: A great win for us. We're thrilled against an outstanding Miami team. You could tell by that first half both teams just couldn't stop each other. Both of us are man-to-man teams. Both of us went zone because we couldn't guard each other.

I just thought we kept it going. Look at the offensive numbers. Miami shot 53 percent. 58 percent from three. It was just two very good teams. I thought we just defensively, in the second half, really, really stepped up. If you look at the numbers, it's kind of crazy to think that was good defense.

But I'm very proud of the second half defense. When you play great teams like Miami, that's going to happen. And we just got more stops than them.

Q. Ryan, you guys, coming into the tournament, were an iffy 3-point shooting team, and you've been making 53 percent so far in the NCAA Tournament. What has been the difference?
RYAN ARCIDIACONO: I think we're just taking better shots. Throughout the season, we didn't really mix it up, catching and shoot and getting in the lane and kicking out to guys.

I think we are doing that now. We're taking what the defense is giving us while being aggressive. We're trying to get the threes up. If they're not wide open, we'll try to get in the lane and make a play for someone else.

Q. Ryan, you came out very aggressively tonight. Was it a mindset, or did you just see something in the films that enabled you to get open shots?
RYAN ARCIDIACONO: No, it was just a mindset. I wanted to be aggressive from the start, and we did great baseline out-of-bounds play to get me going. Then I just was being aggressive for plays that were called for me and just read the defense and I was -- I think I was making the right play at that time.

Q. Ryan, you said this is your team. Coach has said it, your teammates have said it. Did you feel in this kind of game maybe that was your role tonight, to get everyone else going?
RYAN ARCIDIACONO: For sure. Like I said, I wanted to be aggressive, whether making plays for someone else or catching and shooting and making plays for myself. I wanted to set the tone on the defensive end. On the offensive end, I found myself getting open looks and getting to the free-throw line. A couple of plays from the foul line were from turnovers that Mikal got on, dove on a loose ball. I have to credit my teammates for finding me in the open position.

Q. Ryan, were you in some sort of discomfort at halftime? You came out long after your team had hit the floor and seemed to be walking a little gingerly.
RYAN ARCIDIACONO: No, I was fine. I think there was a loose ball in the first half where I just fell and landed on a bone on my back. The training staff was doing something with it. So I was fine. It was just getting a little -- put a heating pad on it. I felt fine after that.

Q. Daniel, they start coming back right near halftime. What was it that you all did to stifle that and then to start the second half hot?
DANIEL OCHEFU: We just got on each other. We had a lot of defensive lapses and we had some bad offensive possessions that led to turnovers. They got three threes in transition. In the huddle, we got on each other, refocused and got back to what we were doing.

Q. Daniel, first play of the second half, you came down and you were limping. What happened there? Were you nervous about it? How did you end up feeling so good after?
DANIEL OCHEFU: I just tweaked it a little bit, my ankle. I wasn't that nervous, really. I knew I was going to get going, and my teammates and coaches were just talking to me as I was trying to get back going. I knew as soon as the adrenaline started rushing, I'd be good. Just a little tweak. Nothing really serious.

Q. You guys had four guys with at least 14 points. Talk a little bit about the balance and what kind of team that makes you.
RYAN ARCIDIACONO: I think it just makes teams have to deal with a lot of guys, and they can't key on one person. We're honestly just reading the defense. We're not trying to have one person go off.

And we read the defense today and we made plays for each other. And I think we all were catching and shooting, making the right decision.

DANIEL OCHEFU: When guys have offensive games like today, it doesn't really surprise us because we have a lot of talented offensive players. But I think guys stepping up on the defensive end, getting the turnovers, getting easy buckets in transition, making them grind a little more on defense was definitely big for us.

THE MODERATOR: Guys, congratulations. Thanks for your time. Questions for Coach.

Q. Jay, Ryan's start tonight is as aggressive as we've seen him come out maybe all season. What did you think of it, and was that kind of planned to have him go out there and try to be more aggressive than normal?
COACH WRIGHT: No, it really wasn't a plan. I think we've said over the season, he just has a way of knowing what the team needs at each individual time. I'm sure he -- I haven't got to talk to him about it yet, but I'm sure he thought, okay, we're in the Sweet 16. I'm a senior. I'm going to make sure we get going the right way.

Q. Jay, you've been around him for four years. Did it surprise you that Ryan was thinking that way? Because you have so many guys on this team that could have done that.
COACH WRIGHT: It did not surprise me. We've seen this at Villanova. There's just times when he starts doing it and getting it going, and I think everybody on the team feels like thank God Arch is taking this over.

But the coaching staff never tells him to do it. And he's always the first guy, if someone else is getting it going, to get them the ball.

Q. Jay, I'll ask you the same question I asked Arch. What have you seen that you think caused the big uptick in 3-point accuracy in the postseason here?
COACH WRIGHT: I think that what Arch is saying is we've been -- we've got some new starters. Jenkins is starting for the first time. Hart is starting for the first time. Brunson's playing for the first time. Bridges is playing for the first time. We've got a lot of young guys.

Our program, we have a saying, shoot 'em up and sleep in the streets. We want the guys to start aggressively. And if you saw our game against Oklahoma early in the year, we were very, very aggressive shooting threes. Very unintelligent shooting threes.

But we want to be that way and then over the course of the season refine our decision-making but staying aggressive. I think we have been able to play long enough that we're just -- we're making our best decisions right now.

I think you're seeing the best of our decision-making from three. And so when good shooters take good shots, you're going to make them. And when good shooters take bad shots, you still make some, but not a great percentage.

Q. Jay, as well as the team is playing on both ends of the floor, could you be any more pleased with how hard they're playing? Seems like every loose ball, every offensive rebound, every ball on the floor, they were getting just about all of them.
COACH WRIGHT: I'm really pleased with their intensity. It all comes from them. You can just see they're hungry. They're hungry to advance. They're hungry to prepare. It's all coming from them. It's really -- that's when you're a good team. When the players take over responsibility for all your core values, you're a good team. It's Daniel and Arch, the seniors, but it's everyone else buying in.

We're definitely playing our best basketball right now. We haven't played this well in any game this season. And that's your goal.

Q. Jay, as someone who's been around the Big East for a very long time, what do you think when you hear the term "Power Five" as it's applied to basketball? Does it bother you at all?
COACH WRIGHT: No. I just think football. I really do. I think "Power Five" are football conferences and conferences that are created for football. And then some of them, like the ACC, happen to also have great basketball teams and are a great basketball league.

And we -- the Big East is just -- we are what we are. We're just a basketball league. All our decisions are made about basketball. Our leaders are basketball people. Our school, the tradition is basketball.

I'm not saying it's better than anybody. It is what it is. If you're a basketball person, that's where you want to be. Our commissioner's Val Ackerman. She's a basketball person. Stu Jackson is right here. Basketball. It's pure basketball. It's for basketball purists.

Q. Jay, Kris Jenkins really sort of started this run maybe a week and a half, two weeks left in the regular season. You've always said he was the best, if not the best, among the best pure shooters on your team. Have you found him more? Has he made himself more available? Have the games just gone toward him? What exactly is his range?
COACH WRIGHT: Really, what's happened is he was overweight, and he got -- he really cut a lot of weight. But he had always played as an overweight player, out-of-shape player.

And last year he cut weight, but he still didn't know how to play like a finely conditioned player. About halfway through this year -- so we always would have to take him out because he would be tired or just not playing with a lot of energy.

About halfway through this year, he really found his -- he found his stamina. He found his stride. And he played defense consistently, rebounded consistently. So we could keep him on the floor. He's a great scorer. If you keep a great scorer on the floor for 35 minutes, which he played tonight -- he didn't used to be capable of that -- he's going to get numbers. And that's what you see him doing.

And he does have tremendous range. I don't like a couple of those that he took. He's the most confident offensive player. Scottie Reynolds was like that. He just believes he's making every shot and he can score from anywhere and well beyond the NBA 3-point line. He believes in it. I see him when he's shooting on his own. He does it. And it does have extraordinary range.

Q. You just gave us a flashback with Scottie Reynolds. So shoot 'em up, sleep in the streets. Where does that come from, and what is it meant to convey?
COACH WRIGHT: I think it came from a guy that played for -- I read a book about a guy that plays for the Buffalo -- it was either Kevin -- help me here, guys. It was either Kevin Riordan -- it was either Riordan, Mike Riordan. It might have been Mike Riordan. He had that. I just read a book, and he said that. And he was a great shooter. The concept is to be a great shooter, you have to be willing to keep shooting, even on a night when, if you don't make them, no one's going to let you come into their house. They're going to make you sleep in the streets, you were so bad. If you're going to be a great shooter, you can't fear sleeping in the streets. We talk about that all the time.

Then we want them to start with that confidence, but then learn how to be the intelligent basketball player and make good decisions.

Q. Coach, obviously, your Elite Eight opponent is being determined as we speak. Is there a preference between either Kansas or Maryland you'd like to see?
COACH WRIGHT: No. Neither of them, really, would be nice. A lesser-talented and well-coached team would be good. We go with that. We just want to advance. We scrimmaged Maryland early in this season and we played Kansas last -- a year or two ago in the Bahamas. It's funny. We played Iowa in the Bahamas too.

And lot of those guys are still on the team, and they were young. They were a really young team. Now those guys have grown up and they're really good. So we'll take what we get. Just happy to be here.

Q. Jay, there's probably no such thing as an undriven team in the Sweet 16.

Q. But what can past disappointment put into a team and drive it? Are we seeing some of that right now in the last couple weeks?
COACH WRIGHT: I think you see in our seniors and juniors -- I really don't think they look at those last two years as disappointment. We've really tried not to make it disappointment to them.

We lost to Connecticut, who was the national champion, and we lost to a very, very talented NC State team who had won at Louisville, at Carolina, beaten Duke. And we played good games in both of those games. Just got beat. And we made sure those guys didn't ever look at that as a disappointment. We were proud of them, and we wanted them to be proud of themselves.

I think what you're seeing is a team that's learned a lot from those games and that is experienced. They've been there twice. They've lost. They don't fear it. They don't fear losing in the second round. Then don't fear losing in the Sweet 16. They just are driven to advance.

And I think having no fear is what we're seeing.

THE MODERATOR: Thanks for your time.

COACH WRIGHT: Thank you, guys.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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