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March 11, 2017

Bryant McIntosh

Chris Collins

Washington, D.C.

Wisconsin - 76, Northwestern - 48

THE MODERATOR: We'll ask Coach Collins to make an opening statement, then questions for Bryant.

COACH COLLINS: Just credit Wisconsin. I thought they were very good today. They were very sharp. They were very physical. They beat us to all the loose balls.

I thought early in the game, both teams were kind of struggling to get a rhythm early. I thought their ability to beat us in the hustle stats was big, offensive rebounds, loose balls. They were good. Their big guys were tremendous. They made shots, 12 threes. That's why they're a championship-level program.

For us, we just never could get in a rhythm. I thought we had some shots early in the paint. We needed to see it go in a little bit to find some energy. We just weren't able to do that.

Credit Wisconsin. I thought they played very well. They deserve to be playing tomorrow.

Q. Bryant, you shot so well in your first two games here. How much of what happened today was the result of Wisconsin's defense and how much was the shots not falling?
BRYANT McINTOSH: A lot. I think they guarded us pretty well. They took a lot of our stuff away, pushed us out on the floor.

We didn't do a very good job of sharing the ball either. We only had a couple assists for the entire game. That's something we have to be better with. When we cause them to collapse, we got to share it.

They did a great job of trying to take our stuff away. It's a credit to them.

Q. Between not having shots fall for you, what they were doing defensively, when the lead starts to get into double-digits, how tough is that?
BRYANT McINTOSH: Yeah, it's tough. They had it going. They were hitting shots. I thought especially in the second half, when we were trying to make a push, we could never close the gap. Trying to expend that much energy after playing a couple games in a row in the past couple days is tough.

They're a really good team. You can't dig that big of a hole in order to try to expend that much energy trying to get back into the game if you're wanting to win at this level.

Q. Bryant, what do you think the vibe is going to be like within the team in terms of how long you think about this one, when you start thinking about what's ahead?
BRYANT McINTOSH: Yeah, I think we'll think about this loss. We'll have to sit on this one until we figure out what our next game is. If we're fortunate enough to get our name called, then it's time for us to move on once that happens.

I'm sure that's how the coaches will be. I think that's how we will be, as well.

Q. Bryant, this is your first extended Big Ten tournament run. How did you deal with the highs and the lows? What did you learn over the past three days?
BRYANT McINTOSH: I think we handled it fairly well. It's so much about when you get this late into the tournament, it's about energy. It's about effort. We didn't have enough of either today.

They beat us every 50/50 ball. They deserved to win the game, and we didn't. Didn't even deserve to be on the floor at some points. They put it on us today.

Just disappointed in our energy and effort.

THE MODERATOR: Thanks, Bryant.


THE MODERATOR: We'll take questions for Coach Collins.

Q. 25 points over turnovers yesterday, only four today. Is that something you realize that's happening during the game?
COACH COLLINS: Wisconsin notoriously is a team that takes care of the ball. It's not as easy to turn them over. I mean, they're playing all seniors out there. They have guys who played in these games their whole careers. They understand the stage. They're poised. They're tough.

We knew we weren't going to turn them over 20 times. That's not how they play. Against Wisconsin, you know they're not going to beat themselves. If you want to compete against them, you want to beat them. You have to beat them. They're not going to make mistakes.

So you have to execute well. You have to be very tough defensively. You got to lock up the boards. You got to get the loose balls.

I thought those were the areas, especially when they got some distance with us there late in the first half, I thought those were the areas where they were able to stretch out the lead.

Initially our defense was pretty good. We had a few breakdowns. A lot of their buckets were coming off offensive rebounds, throwing out for threes, a loose ball they got which led to a basket or transition.

You know when you play these guys what kind of game it's going to be. It's going to be a possession-by-possession, execute-based game. We weren't able to match that today.

Again, they were the better team. They deserved to beat us.

Q. Looked like you had a nice moment there in the handshake line with Greg Gard. Was some of that in relation to what happened a month ago?
COACH COLLINS: No. I was just wishing him luck. Yeah, they're a great team. I have great respect for their program and him as a coach. At the Big Ten level, I wished him luck for tomorrow, wished him luck in the NCAA tournament.

I've talked all along how much I respect their program. We've emulated, try to do what they've done. It was more just well wishes.

Q. You had a great win last night, a tough one today. How do you make sure on the precipice of history that your team doesn't get too high or too low? Where do you feel your team's mentality is right now?
COACH COLLINS: I think we're going to be fine. We're going to be fine. We got beat today. I think sometimes psychologically we talk too much about all that kind of stuff.

We had two great wins. We got beat today by a really good team. We get rested up. We dust ourselves off. Hopefully, nothing's guaranteed. Tomorrow night, whenever that show is, we see our name called, and we figure out and start preparing for who we're going to play.

But we're going to be fine. We got character in our locker room. We're going to be ready. We'll get rested, get prepared. We'll try to play our best next Thursday or Friday, if we get that chance.

Q. I agree nothing's guaranteed, but it's been a heck of a six months in Chicago. Cubs fans waited their entire lives. I assume that the school and its alumni have waited their entire life. What do you expect in terms of the players, school, alums?
COACH COLLINS: If that happens tomorrow night, I think there will be a lot of happy people, which makes me happy. I love Northwestern. I love the people, the community, the fans. Everybody has really embraced us, embraced this team. I know it's a long time coming for a lot of people that followed the program for a lot of years. Hopefully there will be a lot of joy.

I'll be most happy for the players, though. Those are the guys that have earned this right. They're the ones that have gone out there and performed night in and night out, losing key guys throughout the year, Pardon, Lindsey, for extended periods of time. Just finding a way to win, be effective in this league, get to the semifinals of the conference tournament.

It will make me happy to see a lot of smiles and hopefully excitement on people's faces. For our guys, a lot of the guys came here because they wanted to be a part of the first -- not just the first tournament, but a first of a lot of milestones that this team has been able to accomplish, which they deserve.

They've been a great group to coach. I'm excited to continue the journey. I hope we can keep playing for a while, because this has been a really fun team to coach.

Q. What did you learn about your team here in D.C.?
COACH COLLINS: I mean, I don't know what I learned. I felt we were a good team. I think we're playing well. I really do.

I sense when we played Indiana a couple weeks ago, even though we lost that game, I feel like until today, where we just got beat, were a little bit out of gas, I feel like our level of play has been really good for a four-, or five-game stretch.

We're sharing the ball, playing hard, grinding defensively. That makes you feel good heading into next week. I feel like we're in a good place. I know we're excited to hopefully keep playing.

THE MODERATOR: Coach, thank you.


FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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