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March 18, 2017

Chris Holtmann

Andrew Chrabascz

Kelan Martin

Kamar Baldwin

Milwaukee, Wisconsin


THE MODERATOR: Joined by Butler Head Coach, Chris Holtmann and Butler student-athletes, Andrew Chrabascz, who had 15 points, Kamar Baldwin, had 13, Kelan Martin, 19 points, 6 rebounds, 4 assists. We'll start with an opening statement from the Coach, then take questions for the student-athletes.

Coach, please.

COACH HOLTMANN: Really proud of our guys. We beat a really good team in Middle Tennessee. We got so much respect for how Kermit's team plays and how they compete. And we saw it in film for the last, you know, 36 hours and impressed. I loved our guys. I loved the fight they showed possession after possession. And players win games. We've got really good players and they had a heck of an effort.

THE MODERATOR: Thanks, Coach. Questions for the student-athletes, please.

Q. Andrew and Kelan, just to get through this round after losing the last two years here, is there a big sense of relief?
ANDREW CHRABASCZ: I mean, for sure. Before the week started, we knew that this was a one-week-at-a-time thing, one day at a time, even. Getting past today with a W and going to this one, we knew it would be a big challenge. Getting the W today it is a relief. We're not done yet. We're going to have to focus for whoever our next opponent is coming up.

KELAN MARTIN: I agree with Andrew. I think we know that Winthrop and Middle Tennessee was tough. It's tough games throughout this tournament. Nothing is going to be easy, and it's just one game at a time, one possession at a time. I think for us staying together was the biggest key to our victory.

Q. Andrew, you seemed to get more touches in the second half than the first. Was that something that was discussed at halftime, was that a point of emphasis, or was that just kind of the way that the things evolved?
ANDREW CHRABASCZ: Just how they evolved. People finding me in open areas, coaches making great calls. I mean, when they find me in the sweet spot, I have to be aggressive or I'm making a fault to the team passing it out.

Especially with the way they weren't helping off too much with Avery sitting right in front of me, that's an unbelievable shooter, obviously. Opened the floor completely. It definitely was a huge factor for us.

Q. Kamar, Giddy Potts scoreless tonight, 0-7 on the heels of Keon Johnson, 7-19. I know it's not just you, but you've primary duty on those guys. What went into your preparation with this matchup, especially with two days going into it?
KAMAR BALDWIN: Just make them take tough shots the whole game. It was a great team effort. It took the whole unit to keep those guys in check, and we were able to do that both games.

THE MODERATOR: Other questions for the student-athletes.

Q. Kelan, you guys had gotten into some foul trouble there in the second half. You had to switch off on Williams a couple times there and Upshaw a lot can. You just talk about your defensive and the way you had to step up there?
KELAN MARTIN: They're not your typical big men. They both are like 3s and 4s, so I think me and my team stepped up defensively and we just tried to make them take tough shots, like Kamar said.

Q. Kelan, you I think had been urged for the last three seasons by Coach Holtmann to influence the game more than on just by shooting, and we saw that in multiple ways today. Is that something that you're like mindful of everyday? Does it come more naturally? Just kind of how did that whole process work? Since you're coming off the bench in February, you're efficiency ratings have been extremely high.
KELAN MARTIN: Just a mindset, a want -- you got to want to defend, want to rebound. Then just doing other things an scoring, impacting the game in other ways. I think I've been doing that coming off the bench since February, like you said. Just, you know, bringing energy to the game, you know, and I think I've been doing that. That's why we've been advancing, you know.

Q. This question is for any of you guys. Middle Tennessee State never had the lead tonight and part of that was due to the hot shooting you guys had early. Just generally speaking, how different is it to play with a little bit of an advantage from the beginning so that you don't have to chase for 35 minutes the way that they did? How different is that feeling? Because I'm sure at times you guys have been in both spots over the course of your careers.
ANDREW CHRABASCZ: I mean, we know how explosive they are at the same time. So we're never relaxed in those moments. Like you said, we were shooting really well, but we know that the only way you're going to win in these games is making sure your defense is on point. So, making sure we were focusing on that, and even when they made the run late in the second half, we knew we had to gather back together. And like I said, the game is not in our hands by any means until the final buzzer goes. That was a big thing for us.

Q. Sorry if you've been asked this yet -- before, but did it take a little while to get used to that defense? They were 1-3-1, it morphed into 2-3, did all kinds of different stuff. Did it take awhile before you felt comfortable attacking it?
ANDREW CHRABASCZ: Yeah. We've seen 1-3-1, but nothing like that honestly. That's way more extended than we were seeing. I know I was a little sloppy with it today, but once you got comfortable with it, you look over the top of it a little bit more. That's when we were able to find open opportunities in the corners especially and penetrate. But, yeah, it's something very unique and definitely -- you can practice it as much as you want, but once you see it in a game, it's something completely different because they practice it over and over and over again. We were luckily able to adapt pretty quickly.

THE MODERATOR: Anything else for the student-athletes? Thanks, guys. Congratulations on advancing to the Sweet 16.

Questions for Coach, please.

Q. Chris, if you had to identify one or two or three things that led to this outcome, what was your checklist?
COACH HOLTMANN: We made shots, for one. You know, things look different when you make shots. I think that opens some things for us. I knew we were going the make shots against their changing defense. I thought defensively we were really solid. I thought our zone really helped us, kept them out of the paint some, and that was important for us. But I thought our man and zone were both really effective.

And then I thought our guys played with great resilience like they have all year. We've got really good players who play with the right mindset and respond to the adversity in the game with the right maturity. And I think we need a resiliency against a team we really respect.

Q. Coach, did you like -- what was the big thing for Andrew in the second half, the way that -- at times he took over the game?
COACH HOLTMANN: We went to him some on the low block a little bit more. We've done that the bulk of -- you know, we've tried to close games playing threw him in the last seven, eight minutes. It's not too different. It's hard to maybe do that the whole game because teams change how they guard them and stuff, plus we placed him at the 5th, which helped us in a mismatch.

Q. Chris, you -- I think, you mentioned three times in the news conference yesterday that Middle Tennessee was a Final Four and kind of the trendy pick to win. Did you get -- kind of deliver a similar message to your guys? Seemed like you were trying to get them back in the underdog position, which this program has traditionally operated well out of?
COACH HOLTMANN: I was just reading my phone. I was just reading what people were sending me, honestly, David. I had a coach friend of mine send me a clip yesterday of CBS Sports Network saying we weren't good enough to be beat them, we didn't have good enough players to beat Middle Tennessee.

I would like to call those guys out. I would love to. I won't. I didn't show that to our guys, but to say it burned me up, it absolutely did. Did we say to them that there was no question that they were the trendy pick to beat us? Absolutely. You know, I mean -- you know, as I said earlier to our team in there, as the late Joe Cornet said, we're still here.

Q. Chris, how did you feel -- how did you feel like you needed to massage the foul troubles that your guys had? I know you went to a zone after a couple of guys got in foul trouble.
COACH HOLTMANN: Yeah. The hardest stretch for us was when AC got -- when Andrew got two fouls earlier in the first half, because he is a guy we play through so much and he's great at reading things and solid defensively. So, balancing that was critical. And then we had that kind of rough stretch in the first half where he was out. That was a concern for me, but getting to the half with him with two fouls was critical. And then I think the zone did help us because they were going to just throw it inside on us if we didn't mix it up a little bit.

Q. Your players talked about it, but was there anything specific were you doing on Potts? I know Savage was in his shirt most of the game. He looked really, really frustrated. They were trying to run him off screens. I think that's only the second time in his career he's been held scoreless.
COACH HOLTMANN: He's a really good player. He's a really good player. I think our guys just made him work, just tried to make him work, be where he was at, find him in the zone or man, had great awareness of him. You know, 30, 22, and 20, man, are they really good. I got a lot of respect for how they play and how hard they play, the whole team, how Kermit coaches those guys. I got so much respect for what they bring to the game. To get -- they're 31-5. There's no way they were a 12 seed. So, to hold him scoreless was big.

Q. As the game played out and Potts was not as much of a factor as Middle Tennessee would have hoped, were you able to do anything defensively to adjust and focus more attention in other areas, perhaps that you thought might have helped you?
COACH HOLTMANN: Not necessarily. I think we just tried the stick to the game plan. We didn't do a whole lot of stuff. We trapped the post a few times because we knew they were going to go there. It wasn't real effective, to be real honest. No, he's a guy that can get 8, 9 on you in a real hurry. We didn't feel like at anytime we really took him out of the game. We tried to stay as highly detailed with him as possible.

Q. Chris, when you have that quick turnaround, how much of a challenge is it to face a team that kind of plays a difficult kind of defense? What did you do to prepare besides the experience you had against Xavier?
COACH HOLTMANN: Yeah. I'll tell you, Bob, our staff did an outstanding job with these two game plans. They really did. I can't say that enough. Terry Johnson, Ryan Pedon, Mike Schrage, and Emerson Kampen, Brandon Crone, they did a terrific job preparing this game plan in a really simple way against a complex defensive team. And that was really our approach is we wanted to be simple, more than anything with a quick turnaround. And we tried to get as much in yesterday as possible and so that today they could play with a free mind.

I told them, hey, by noon today the game plan is going -- you're going to know it backwards and forwards. You're going to be able to relax until tip and play with a free mind. Our staff did a great job doing that.

THE MODERATOR: Anything else for Coach? All right. Thank you. Congratulations.

COACH HOLTMANN: That's right guys.

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