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March 9, 2017

Tony Bennett

Devon Hall

London Perrantes

New York, New York

Notre Dame - 71, Virginia - 58

COACH BENNETT: First, credit to Notre Dame. We were outplayed today. We were behind in the play. They really were moving the ball well. They're hard to guard. They played well, and we didn't have one of our better games. We have to learn from it but pick up and move on and just were a bit lethargic.

Again, when a team can move the ball as quick as Notre Dame moves the ball and we were a step behind, they got a lot of easy looks, and they looked fresh, and we weren't as fresh physically or as fresh mentally as we've been in the past against them for sure.

Q. Coach Bennett, what do you guys need to do to prepare yourselves for the Tournament now that that's what you're looking towards?
COACH BENNETT: You learn from this. We talked about it in the locker room after. We've got whatever little bit of time now. We recover. We rest. But we prepare as well as we can in practice and tighten up. We weren't as sound as we've been in the past. A formula for our success has been we've taken care of the ball, and we've shot it pretty well.

Notre Dame guarded us hard. They were ready. You could see it. They were very looking forward to playing us.

We've got to find ways to guard a little better when we get in that situation, handle those four-guard lineups, and just keep battling. There's not a whole lot -- we don't throw it inside and score a ton, but we've got to just keep doing what we've done and have a great however many days prep it is for the NCAA Tournament.

Q. Tony, how is Isaiah feeling right now? 14 minutes tonight, obviously, he was a big part of your game last time against Colson and things like that. Will this break help him?
COACH BENNETT: He is. He's struggling with a bad virus or whatever this is. Maybe a blessing in disguise if he can get some more rest and recover. He is a big part of our energy and helping defensively, and he wasn't right in terms -- they're hard to guard.

When it's Beachem, it's a hard matchup for Isaiah. And Colson. They put pressure on you. They're playing Colson as the five. And they've got good quickness and skill offensively. So if your defense isn't really locked in, it's a problem, and they exploited that tonight.

Q. Coach, Kyle obviously had a tough night tonight after the good night last night. How much were they kind of keying on him, do you think, after what he did yesterday?
COACH BENNETT: Well, obviously he played well yesterday, and I'm sure they were contesting shots. As a first-year guy, he's got to learn from that. That wasn't one of his stronger games, and there's going to be some ups and downs. But he was good last night and not as good tonight.

Q. Tony, I think you used ten players in the first ten minutes. Could you tell right away that something wasn't right tonight?
COACH BENNETT: Well, they just -- I think, again, Notre Dame, they were hard -- I felt like we were behind the play. Again, there's matchup issues with them because of Colson at the five, and we had to use Nzei in limited minutes. We weren't knocking down our shots, missing easy ones and then weren't knocking them down.

So, yeah, we were scrambling a little bit. It's a hard matchup who you're going to play at the four. So, yeah, I was searching for sure.

Q. Tony, you guys are so good defensively from your chair, what Mike is able to do offensively, how impressive is it in terms of schemes and how he uses guys?
COACH BENNETT: He really spreads the floor, and he plays four guards and a really skilled five man that can shoot the three and bounce it and is a double-double guy. So their ball movement was terrific tonight. The pace on their cuts was good, and they had us behind the play. When we're at our best defensively, we're there, and we're anticipating.

So, yeah, they put a lot of pressure. We've had a lot of good success against them. We've bothered shots and protected the lane, but we had trouble protecting the dribble off the bounce, and when they started getting in that way, again, we're playing catch-up.

Q. London, your shooting wasn't what it has been. How much of it was Notre Dame, and how much of it was fatigue or anything else?
LONDON PERRANTES: Obviously, Notre Dame played some good defense tonight. But, yeah, missed some chippies, some layups. I had a couple of open threes that I missed. I don't know, I can't really tell you what it's from.

Obviously, Notre Dame played good defense, and I put my hat off to them for that, but obviously I missed some open jump shots as well.

Q. Coach, you mentioned you guys have been playing well defensively, especially throughout the year. What do you guys need to do offensively to take that next step, especially against teams that play faster like Notre Dame?
COACH BENNETT: Well, we've got to play better defense. I'll start with that. But, no, we've got to take care of the ball. We had a couple of live ball turnovers that led to some easy buckets and even some out-of-bounds defense that got some easy buckets.

But it's the ability to -- all I want these guys is to get quality shots and take them. If we're making them, great. If we're not, we're going to shoot the outside shot when it's there. We'll occasionally look inside. Got to try to touch the paint and make plays. Probably, when we take care of the ball and are low with our turnovers and moving hard and taking quality shots, that's what I ask for, and running our offense with pace, screening well, getting London the shots and helping him set people up.

I think it's not going to change for us. It's just doing it a little bit better and taking care of the ball. I think that's a huge thing for us.

Q. London, you mentioned yesterday about your defense being so successful against them in the past. What do you think was the kind of change today that they were able to get some shots into you guys?
LONDON PERRANTES: I don't think our ball screen defense was good at all. Matt Farrell was able to throw the ball out of our -- I guess we tried to trap a ball screen when it happens, and we didn't do that at all today, which allowed open shots and allowed us to be behind the play, which is tough. So, yeah, I mean, that was a huge part of it.

Q. Question for Tony. I don't know, it's probably a difficult comparison to make, but obviously last year the ACC did so well in the tournament, the NCAA Tournament. I'm curious, can you compare just how the teams are competitively speaking last year to this year, and in terms of just going forward, what that might mean.
COACH BENNETT: The depth of this league is so much better. In terms of parity in college basketball, it's matchups and who's playing hot basketball in the NCAA Tournament. There were some really good teams last year that had a chance to go all the way. This year, I think there's a balance in college basketball, so it's deeper. I don't know how many teams we'll get. Obviously, we want to get as many as we can.

We're a different team than last year. Matchups will be important for us. Carolina is playing. I think it's comparable and maybe a little more depth.

Q. London, after the North Carolina game, you talked about the connection between your guys' offense and defense and how, when you're a little bit off like you started tonight, it kind of bleeds into that. Was that what you guys were feeling at all tonight? Was there any tightness?
LONDON PERRANTES: I think it kind of just started with our defense. We gave up some easy looks at the beginning of the game. Obviously, we're not going to make every shot, but I think giving up some easy looks kind of takes the air out of house, and knowing that we're not supposed to or we shouldn't be giving up easy looks kind of messes with our head, I guess you could say, especially with some of the young guys. Obviously, Kyle and even me had a little slump today shooting the ball-wise.

Yeah, it all starts with our defense, and we weren't right from the jump, and that kind of dug us a hole.

Q. Devon, I believe Virginia beat Notre Dame ten straight times. Did you see anything different in Notre Dame today?
DEVON HALL: Yeah, I think they just came out with a lot more energy than we did. We were kind of lethargic, like Coach said. We weren't as good as we usually are at our ball screen. So it was a little frustrating for us. And they just came out with a lot more pace and effort than we did.

Q. Coach, it did look like Marial got it going a bit today. Did he look more confident or anything?
COACH BENNETT: Yeah, Marial, he can create a shot off the bounce. He got us some buckets when we were there. He's been -- had a little bit of a knee issue or a quadricep issue. He looked like he was moving better, and he gave us a lift. We cut it to six at the half, had some chances, then in the second half it separated again. I was happy to see some of his offensive prowess come back.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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