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March 17, 2017

Bob Huggins

Nathan Adrian

Jevon Carter

Elijah Macon

Tarik Phillip

Buffalo, New York

Q. Question for Elijah. Notre Dame's offensive style is kind of unique to the fact that they don't really have a true post player and they're kind of five out and away from the paint. What does that do for you as far as defending -- drawing you away from the basket? Was that something that you think you could handle tomorrow?
ELIJAH MACON: Yeah. Definitely. I just feel like as a team, we're going to go over what we have to do today, especially just figure out who we're going to guard in the game today and that's pretty much it.

Q. You said you have offensive system (inaudible).
ELIJAH MACON: Definitely. Kind of compare them to Iowa State. They try to spread the floor a lot. But we're going to go over our principles today and take care of it.

Q. For Nathan and Elijah, you're going up against bigger, taller guys yesterday. Tomorrow you're going up against a post player that's shorter, like you said, more athletic. If there's a difference in the way you played them and approached them especially in the post?
ELIJAH MACON: Definitely. I mean just knowing, he like to play off angles, just knowing that you have to stay down, especially just guard him off ball and basically try to keep him out of the paint as much as possible. That's pretty much what I've seen from watching film so much.

NATHAN ADRIAN: I think it changes how we have to guard them as a team more than individually. You know they're five out instead of having someone sitting in the post. It will be a whole team effort.

Q. For Jevon, Mike Brey said you had done some playing with Matt Farrell this summer. Is that accurate?

Q. What did you see out of him and how has he developed as a point guard now that he's had a full season under his belt?
JEVON CARTER: Pretty much what everybody's been saying all season. He's pretty aggressive. He can pass, he can score. He's a good point guard. It's just our job to do a good job and stop him from being comfortable.

Q. Tarik, for you, and Nate as well, especially seniors. You guys have been involved in a lot of these NCAA Tournament games. Tarik you hit a game winner a couple years ago, but does it feel different now that you're a senior, and this run has taken on more importance?
TARIK PHILLIP: It's a little different. Because, as you said, we've been here before. Not one time, but two times, so we feel more composed.

NATHAN ADRIAN: I'd say there a little bit more difference towards the end of the game, when it's a little bit closer, and you're comfortable and you start to realize, if you blow this one, then you're not going to have another chance. So it kind of gives you a little bit more of drive to win.

Q. They make the fewest turnovers in the country, I guess for Jevon, anybody wants to answer this. Do you think it's going to be tougher to impose your will?
JEVON CARTER: I don't know. Every game is a challenge. If we come out and do what we've got to do, the it's possible. We just got to play hard.


ELIJAH MACON: Yeah. I feel like if we come out and do what we're supposed to do, just do what all our coaches ask us to do and everything, I feel like everything will take care of itself. And we just go out and play our game.

THE MODERATOR: Any other questions for West Virginia student-athletes? If not, gentlemen, appreciate your time. Good luck tomorrow.

THE MODERATOR: We are joined by West Virginia head coach, Bob Huggins, who has his team preparing to play Notre Dame in the first game at 12:10 tip-off. We'll go straight to questions for Coach Huggins.

Q. Coach, you've said after every post season game, you haven't been happy with the way your team has played. How far away are you from a level where you feel like you'll need to get to to win this next game?
BOB HUGGINS: We've got to make shots. We've got to make shots. We've got to make free throws, and we can't turn it over. I mean, if we do those things, we're pretty good. If you don't do those things, you're not very good. But that's just not us, that's everybody. I just really say that we didn't play very well so you guys have something to write. I know how hard it is.

Q. We can write about anything.
BOB HUGGINS: And do. And do, by the way.

Q. Coach, you obviously saw Notre Dame a lot in the Big East. Just some of memories going against Mike Brey in the Big East tournament games, whatever it might be?
BOB HUGGINS: Well, we had some great games. We hard a hard time winning in South Bend. They had a hard time winning in Morgantown. Fortunate enough to beat them in the semi-finals of the Big East Tournament in 2010 in Morgantown. And they had a three to win the game. Fortunately for us, not for them, it was short and got banged around a little bit. Actually Da'Sean Butler, nobody knows this, he ran over and hugged Wellington Smith who got the rebound. The reason he went over and hugged him was because Da'Sean did not block out man and he had a clear run at the goal and it just happened to bounce Wellington's way, so they he ran over and hugged him, because he said he would never have heard the end of it if this guy would have rebounded it and scored.

Q. Bob, a lot of times it seems like Mike and his team fly a little under the radar nationally. What as a coach, do you think of the job he's been able to do at Notre Dame over the years?
BOB HUGGINS: I think Mike's one of the better coaches in our game. You know, Mike's a guy who can pretty much take anybody and make them pretty good. And, you know, they didn't always play the way they're playing now. I think he does a great job of adapting style of play to personnel. And they do a great job of -- they've got great ball movement, they've got great spacing. They can score it at the goal, which is kind of imperative in our game, to be able to figure out a way to score it somehow.

I was just telling them, our game's about numbers, you know? 1 on 0 is the best number, and we are generally pretty good at those. Then, you know, 2 on 1, and 3 on 2, we're not quite as good at. When you're 5 on 5, it's hard to score, so that's why everybody does all of the things they do, ball screens, single-doubles, staggers, flairs, whatever, they've got to try to create a 5 on 4, so that you've got numbers. When you add the spacing that they do, they have great spacing, that makes them a hard team to guard.

Q. Coach, you guys have obviously gone up against a lot of talented point guards in the Big 12, Frank Mason, Devante Morris Morris, Jawan Evans. Farrell from Notre Dame, where does he kind of compare with that group, and how do you kind of see him and Jevon going up against each other tomorrow? What do you think that could be like?
BOB HUGGINS: Well, I think he's different than those guys because he plays so well off the ball. You were kind of talking about guys who were really, really good with the ball, and not that he's not good with the ball, but he can play off the ball as well as he can play on the ball, which I think those other guys kind of grew up with the ball in their hands and really play with the ball in their hands. They're the guys that get in the seam, and create numbers, where he's a guy who, a lot of times, comes down, gives it up and he's the guy who's coming off the screens, and setting screens, and trying to create numbers for his team.

Q. Yesterday, first half, I think it was about four or five straight times you guys converted on baseline in plays. I know you see it every day, but what's it take to get to a point where your team's executing at that level, and how important is that in these games here in March?
BOB HUGGINS: Well, I'm like everybody else in our business. When, you know, somebody runs something against us, that it's hard for us to guard and they score, I steal it. And everything we run is something that I got from somebody else that. You know, you might tweak it a little bit, but we've been running the same thing for ten years at West Virginia, and we just keep scoring. So, obviously, Nolan Richardson was pretty damn smart.

Q. Just given how well they handle the ball and limit turnovers, is this a bad match-up for you?
BOB HUGGINS: They don't let us pick. I mean, if you're asking me, would we have picked them, absolutely not. I don't know if it is or it isn't. I guess that's why you play. We're going to try to do the same thing to them that they do to us. We're going to try to create numbers in the half court, and we're going to try to take transition when it's there. I don't know whether is or it isn't. Probably about 2:00 tomorrow, I'll have an answer for you.

Q. Bob, do you miss the Big East?
BOB HUGGINS: Who doesn't miss New York? Who doesn't miss the Garden? Sure, you miss the Garden. But, the Big 12's been great for us. And we're playing in -- it's been the best RPI league in the country for the last four or five years. There's been great players. You look at -- the coaching in that league is terrific, and there's no bottom. And the reality is for as great as the Big East was, there was a bottom. There were nine or ten teams that were really good and then there were about five or six that weren't so good.

And, you know, you looked at the schedule. You talked about, you know, match-ups. Those are the ones you kind of said these are the ones that we really need to get because these are gettable, and the Big 12 doesn't have that. Oklahoma State today takes Michigan to the wire, and they're really good, and they lost their first six league games. I mean, think about that. If that's the bottom, our bottom's pretty good. Then they ended up not being on the bottom, obviously.

But coaches in our league are just -- that's the worrisome thing. Every time you look down there -- honestly, sometimes I'd look down there and think, well, if it gets really good, I might be a little smarter than that guy down there. I'm looking down there in the Big 12. I don't see anybody I'm smarter than.

Q. When your players were up here earlier, it was a bit of a somber mood for some young men that won yesterday. Taking the emotion out of the game, is that important, as like a key to victory, or do you encourage sort of the highs and lows?
BOB HUGGINS: I was in the locker room with them. They weren't very somber in there. It's a long year, you know? It's a long year and you can't get too excited about the highs, and you can't get too down about the lows. And, you know, I think probably the appropriate thing to do is to keep an even keel. But, I mean, if you don't play with a lot of energy and a lot of enthusiasm, the way we play, you get exposed.

We've got to cover a whole lot more ground than everybody else does, because we're playing the length of the floor when everybody else is playing a half court. So, energy and enthusiasm are incredibly important us to. They're just probably saving it. Tricking you is what they're doing. See, they tricked you.

Q. Bob, I was just curious about your thoughts on the N.I.T. going to four quarters. Is that something you would like to see, experimenting with it this year. Is that something you would like to see the game go toward? Just what are your general thought on that format?
BOB HUGGINS: I think we ought to stop having our Rules Committee in Palm Springs. I think because they just feel this need to make changes to justify them being there, and what's wrong with our game? I mean, I don't know what's wrong with our game. Why do we need four quarters? I think everybody plays four quarters in high school, and they can't wait to get into college and play halves. But that's just me. But I do think we ought to move the -- we ought to have them here in Buffalo in February.

Q. Coach, have you figured out Lamont yet? He hit a lot of shots in the Texas game then obviously he hit a lot of shots for you yesterday. Is it youth or obviously a bad match-up?
BOB HUGGINS: I think he started rushing things a little bit, quite frankly. You know, people are bigger, stronger and faster, you know? And they get to the ball a lot faster, and I think he just started rushing things. When he slowed down, then he started making shots again. But that's the same with everybody. I mean, nobody consistently makes hurried shots.

Q. Other questions for Coach Huggins?
BOB HUGGINS: As a side note, I think the other thing about the Rules Committee, you have to have somebody on it over 6 foot.

THE MODERATOR: Anything else about Rules Committee, or --

BOB HUGGINS: I have a lot of things about the Rules Committee.

THE MODERATOR: I thought you might. We have a little bit of time. That's why I was wondering.

BOB HUGGINS: No. I think I already got myself in enough trouble.

THE MODERATOR: We'll call this it then. Thanks, Coach.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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