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March 14, 2017

Andy Enfield

Dayton, Ohio

THE MODERATOR: We're joined by the head coach of USC Andy Enfield.

COACH ENFIELD: We're excited to be here, back-to-back NCAA Tournaments for our program. We play the same team, Providence, and we're excited to get it going in Dayton tomorrow night.

Q. Coach, because I think it's the first time in I think eight or nine years that teams have actually met in the first round again, back to back, like you and Providence have. What do you carry over from last year's game and last year's experience that you think that might help you this year?
COACH ENFIELD: We really respect Providence. Coach Cooley and his staff do a great job, terrific players.

We had a great college basketball game in Raleigh last year. One-point game at the buzzer. A lot of lead changes, back and forth the entire game. And we're expecting the same type of atmosphere, same type of game tomorrow night. So we know they're a very good team, a little different this year. We have new players. They have new players, but there's three or four core returnees on both sides.

Q. Not seeing your team outside of, I think, one and a half games, we do recognize some names from last year's team. How are you different?
COACH ENFIELD: Well, we're 328 out of 351 in experience in the country. So we're young. Last year we had no seniors, and we lost a few guys that were going to be seniors to the professional ranks.

So we replaced our upperclassmen with four freshmen and we had two transfers. So we have four returning players on our roster -- Bennie Boatwright and Chimezie Metu, who are sophomores, and then our two experienced guys, Jordan McLaughlin and Elijah Stewart, who are juniors. So we still have no seniors.

Our two transfers -- Shaqquan Aaron is a sophomore; he sat out last year, and Charles Buggs is a graduate transfer. But those had never played in our system and our four freshmen. So we're totally different than we were last year. Similar system, style of play, just different players.

Q. Coach, you're real big about being able to get out here because of the time difference and get your players adjusted everything like that. How was that delay last night, how did that affect you guys?
COACH ENFIELD: The five-hour delay that we had waiting for an aircraft that worked? We were just fortunate that we were on an aircraft that got us here.

There's no excuses once the ball is tipped. You saw what Michigan went through last week in the Big Ten Tournament. Anytime you're dealing with aircraft, you just have to make sure you're safe and get to where you need to be.

Q. There were quite a few teams that are here for the very first time -- Northern Kentucky, UC Davis. If you can look back at your time at Florida Gulf Coast, what do you recall about preparing for that experience? What were the biggest challenges that maybe these coaches all faced?
COACH ENFIELD: I think you're really excited to be here for the first time. But even though as a coach I've been here numerous times, but some of our freshmen -- all our freshmen have never been here and a couple of our transfers.

So I think it's an excitement for everybody and even though you've been here three or four times or five times you still get really excited for the NCAA Tournament.

This is the best event in college sports. So as far as the mid-major teams that had to grind it out and win their conference tournament and there's no at-large bid, you just went through a conference tournament where you had to win three, four games to win the automatic bid. And that's an accomplishment in itself.

So, when you walk into an NCAA Tournament and you're an underdog, I just told our players we can beat whoever is on that court. You have to play well and have some fun. And go and go and shock the world.

So I think most teams that come in are confident because they just won their conference tournament, and I think as a coaching staff, just to keep the confidence up, because -- no one cares what the rankings are, what's your record or what conference you play in, it's the NCAA Tournament and anyone can win a game.

Q. Curious your reaction to the point guard matchup. Last year it was all about the point guards, and slightly different personnel this time with Cartwright and obviously Jordan?
COACH ENFIELD: Yeah, last year Kris Dunn was the top -five pick in the NBA draft. He was exceptional. Jordan McLaughlin is our version of Kris Dunn, just a little smaller, meaning six feet.

Great player. He's been our leader all year. He's our team captain. He's led us in scoring, two out of the first three years. This year he's averaging about 13 and five assists, almost two steals a game. He's been playing terrific basketball. So we're excited for Jordan. He's an all league player.

And Cartwright, on the other side for Providence, has really improved. He's from California, from Compton. And I give him a lot of credit. He's made a big jump. He's a junior now. And really impressed with his development and his improvement.

Q. Talking to some of the players in the locker room, it's kind of a split decision between whether the play-in game is something to get the wheels turning, and another split between not having to play an extra game. How does it play into your role as a coach in getting them prepared for an extra game?
COACH ENFIELD: We don't see it as an extra game. This is the NCAA Tournament. And this is what you work hard for all season, in the offseason, during the season. And we're excited to be here. And we have to play this game in Dayton, and we're really excited to do that.

So we don't look at it as an extra game. We just know this is the NCAA Tournament. We lose, we go home -- if we lose we go home on Thursday and we have no more games for a long time.

Q. It's my understanding that you and Ed Cooley have traveled and done some things together on your Nike tours. Who is the better golfer?
COACH ENFIELD: Well, that's not even close. No. He's a better entertainer. He's just a terrific person, a lot of fun to be around. But he doesn't make too many holes on the golf course without asking for another dozen golf balls (laughter). But he's certainly fun. If you have a chance to play with Coach Cooley, 18 holes you should do it. You'll go through about 36 or 46 golf balls and you'll have some fun.


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