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March 9, 2017

Jim Larrañaga

Kamari Murphy

Bruce Brown

New York, New York

North Carolina - 78, Miami - 53

THE MODERATOR: We're with Coach Jim Larrañaga, Kamari Murphy, and Bruce Brown. Coach, just a brief opening statement, and we'll go to questions.

COACH LARRANAGA: I thought Carolina was very sharp from the start. They made a lot of shots early, got some things going.

I didn't think we were sharp all day. Our defense did not put up much resistance, and our offense was out of sync from the very beginning. End result is a 24-point, or whatever it was, 25-point loss.

Q. Jim, it seemed like in the first game you guys did a really good job in the interior against them, did not happen that way today. What did they do differently, or what did you do differently?
COACH LARRANAGA: I think that's the thing about North Carolina. They're very predictable what they're trying to do, and our players knew what they were trying to do. We just couldn't stop it.

Our attention to detail, our focus at the defensive end was impacted by how poorly we were playing offense. You miss shots. You turn it over. You give them some easy baskets. You get frustrated with your offense, then all of a sudden you're thinking about your offense when you should be playing defense.

There were just so many times they did exactly what we knew they were trying to do. They threw that lob pass a number of times. They didn't get that once against us at our place. Our guys defended it exactly the way we planned to. And last night -- and some of it may have to do with not having time to actually practice it on a court. We did it in a ballroom last night at the hotel at 9:00 at night. Not a lot of time to prepare.

And even though you should remember what we did the first time, because you play so many games against so many different teams and they do so many different offensive plays, it's challenging for a player. But without that game preparation, we just didn't play well.

Q. Coach, in terms of Bruce being the offensive bright spot today, I'm curious, first of all, what you made of his overall performance here? But also the fact that his numbers have been disproportionately good against North Carolina and Duke this year. What do you think that says about his growth and development as a player?
COACH LARRANAGA: I think Bruce is a great competitor, and I think he loves a challenge. I think he should have been on the All-Rookie team. I can't believe a player of his caliber who had the kind of year he had did not make the All-Rookie team. Just not right.

But I thought he was pretty solid today, but you need a team effort. In Bruce's case, I know he wants to win. It's what the game is about. Win the game. And he's going to do whatever is necessary to do his part.

Q. What about Carolina's defense made it a tough shooting day for you?
COACH LARRANAGA: Well, the first thing is their defensive pressure early on, on the ball and on the initial pass and on our initial ball screen, was far better than it was the first time we played them. So we had a much harder time trying to get into the paint and score. But I think part of that was we were not nearly as aggressive and quick and thoughtful in our decision making.

So I think a lot of credit goes to their players' effort, team effort defensively. I'm sure Coach Williams mentioned to them how the game went in Miami.

Q. Coach, I'm just wondering your thoughts on the value of having the ACC Tournament in a big city like New York or Washington or somewhere versus Greensboro. As you may have heard, Coach Boeheim had some strong thoughts on it yesterday.
COACH LARRANAGA: What did Boeheim say?

Q. He said there was no value to having the tournament in Greensboro whatsoever, none.
COACH LARRANAGA: I'm only kidding. I know what he said.

Q. So what are your thoughts on that?
COACH LARRANAGA: First of all, I coached in the ACC in the early '80s, from '79 to '86, and I thought it was the best basketball league in the country then. For a majority of my years there, we played it in Greensboro. I think one year we played it in Atlanta. Another year we played it in the Cap Centre in Washington, D.C. To me, the ACC Tournament, no matter where it's played, is a tremendous event and deserves the recognition that it does get.

But the fact of the matter is New York City is the capital of college basketball, starting back when CCNY and LIU were winning national titles, and kids were growing up in the city and becoming All-Americans and NBA players. So to bring the ACC, the best basketball conference in the country, to the mecca of college basketball and give it the exposure that it truly deserves, I think is a great thing. Not to disparage any other city or any other location, but New York is special.

I played for Dave Gavitt at Providence College, he is the first commissioner of the Big East conference. He kind of founded the league, and his goal was to create a conference that could compete on the national level with the ACC, and the way he did it was he brought the Big East Tournament to Madison Square Garden in New York City, and all of a sudden, every kid around the country was following Big East basketball.

From a business model, you want to get as much exposure as you can so that the coaches in your league can recruit the best players, and they know more about your league than anybody else because of the exposure they got during the ACC Tournament.

By us coming to New York now, we hope we will benefit from it in the long run. In addition, we no longer have eight teams like they were in the '80s. We now have 15 teams, and we're spread out all over the place. We may be called the Atlantic Coast Conference, but we have Notre Dame, we have Louisville, we have Pittsburgh, we have Miami and Virginia Tech -- all in the Big East. So we've taken the creme de la creme of one league that was highly thought of and put it with the creme de la creme of the ACC, and now we have, in my estimation, the best basketball conference in American history of college basketball.

Q. Do you want it to stay in the big cities, or are you okay with it rotating to Greensboro?
COACH LARRANAGA: Again, as I said, this is not my choice. My choice is for us to be the best basketball league in the country and for everybody to know that because of the exposure we're getting. So the bigger the venue, the more people that are watching, the more media exposure, the better for the conference.

Q. Kamari, you guys got within three in the first half. Did you think things were in pretty decent shape all things considered at that point?
KAMARI MURPHY: Yeah, leaving the first half, we left the floor with a lot of confidence. But coming back, again, we couldn't stop what they were doing. We knew what was coming, but they continued to attack us.

And then on our end, we were hesitant. We weren't attacking them. We just wasn't glued together this game. I'm not going to say we fell apart, but they just were the better team today.

Q. Kind of put things back together when you get into the NCAA Tournament here next week?
KAMARI MURPHY: It's another season. When we came into this one, we said it's a new season, 0-0. So NCAA is a new season. We're going to leave this game behind, leave this tournament behind, and then start a new season in the NCAA Tournament.

Q. Kamari, you're from Brooklyn, right?

Q. What neighborhood?
KAMARI MURPHY: East New York, Brooklyn.

Q. What's your view on what Coach just said? And how was it for you come can back to Brooklyn to play in this tournament?
KAMARI MURPHY: It was amazing. Besides the family and friends that I got to see, it gave guys that have never been to New York the exposure. Like Anthony Lawrence has never been to New York City. We went to the World Trade and took that tour. So it gives guys that have never been around the world that exposure.

Of course, I would love it to come back, but this is my last year. I think it was fun. I think they should continue to do it.

Q. Have you ever played in this arena before?
KAMARI MURPHY: No. They played Providence my redshirt year. I came to watch, but I never got to play. So this is my first year this time.

Q. Bruce, two parts to this. One is, curious how you account for your ability to put up particularly big numbers against UNC, against Duke. And just related to that, the fit you see at Miami, the success you've had here on the court, the success you've had off the court with the GPA at 3.0. Does Miami feel like a long-term fit for you in both of those ways?
BRUCE BROWN: Yes, for sure. My success with Duke and North Carolina is just Coach L putting me in positions to score the ball, pick-and-roll offense, and back screens.

The school is just they help me a lot in the classroom. I get tremendous help from my academic advisors. I go extra hours to get help on tests and quizzes. So it's a perfect fit for me, honestly.

Q. And just real specific to the end of the first half, where you had that putback and then that dunk right at the end of the half, did you feel like you were getting the opportunity to carry the team on your back in a fundamental way at that point?
BRUCE BROWN: I was just trying to give us a boost of energy. I felt like we were down and we weren't playing the way we knew we were capable of. So I was just trying to give us energy, get us hyped. I guess it didn't work.

Q. The other two Miami teams we've seen you take to the NCAA Tournament, both went to the Sweet 16. They also were, what, top two or three in the league. What do you see from this group, what could make it a potential Sweet 16 type of team or even more?
COACH LARRANAGA: Well, despite the fact the way we played today, this has been an outstanding defensive team. We've been very hard to score on. We have some guys that are just tremendous defensive players.

The guy sitting next to me, Kamari Murphy, is as good a defensive player as I've ever coached. He can do so many things at the defensive end of the floor.

And Davon Reed is an All-Conference defensive player. Bruce plays very hard defensively. I thought Ja'Quan Newton's defense yesterday on John Gillon was a big key. And if our young big guys come along and guard the basket for us a little bit better and rebound, I think that gives us a real chance against anybody.

I would look at Carolina and think they're a real threat to win the National Championship, and yet we split with them. I mean, I know we played bad today, but we're very capable of playing a whole lot better than we did. At the offensive end, we're not quite as consistent as we are defensively, and if we share the ball well and get some assists and don't turn it over very much, we'll be a tough team to beat.

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