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March 14, 2018
Q. Devin, a couple years ago, not that long ago, you were playing for a WPIAL Championship a couple blocks away. Now playing as a senior for a National Championship. Does it feel like it's come full circle for you?
DEVIN WILSON: Yeah, sure. Great to be my family and friends, get to see me in my last hurrah in this tournament. Being able to be back home is a great feeling, and hopefully we can keep winning and keep surviving as we go along.
Q. Devin, what have the past 72 hours been like for you since you found out the team would be playing in Pittsburgh? How many requests have you gotten. What's it been like to kind of go through this whole experience over the past 72 hours?
DEVIN WILSON: A lot of requests. A lot of asking for tickets, kids coming home, whether they have jobs in other states, things like that. I have a lot of friends still here, a lot of family that still lives in Pittsburgh.
It's been a fun experience. It hasn't been heckling or annoying at all. To see all of the love and support I'm getting from family and friends has been awesome. Hopefully, we can get a couple wins and to be able to, like I said, survive and advance.
Q. Justin, having been in the NCAA Tournament last year, having played against Wisconsin, is the mindset any different this year? Is the conference level any different this year because you had that experience last year.
And, Devin, for guys like you that did not get to play in that game last year because you redshirted last year, is this going to be more of a nervous-type feeling tomorrow, jitters or excitement? How is the mindset for some of you guys that didn't play in that game last year going to be?
JUSTIN BIBBS: I guess you can say I'm more prepared. I have an opportunity to be more relieved since I experienced it. I'm ready. I'm excited. I won't have as much jitters as last year, but I think I'll be more prepared.
DEVIN WILSON: For me, I haven't experienced it yet on the court, so the jitters is not something I experience until the game starts. By then, you've been playing basketball for so long it just becomes a game after a while. But being able to watch it and see the pain in the guys' eyes from last year, being able to lose like that, it's hard to see, so I know that they're going to ready to go this year. Hopefully, the guys that played in it last year can use that experience and propel the guys that didn't win last year.
Q. Justin, being next to someone like Devin, for someone who has been here so long and is a fifth-year senior. How much is it just his experience and his veteran leadership kind of helped you guys since you got here?
JUSTIN BIBBS: You can tell just by the way he talks. He knows everything. He's a great leader on and off the court, and I mean he's -- yeah. He just finds a way just to leave an impact on any part of the game, just in the locker room. Something to say, and it just helps a lot. It helps me a lot. It helps the young guys a lot and even helps Coach Buzz a lot, too.
Q. I guess this question I have for either one of you guys. As of Sunday when we talked to you, you hadn't seen Alabama too much. Now that you've had a chance to study them, what do you think about your opponents?
DEVIN WILSON: They are a very good team. Athletic, fast, they like to get up and down the floor a lot. They have a couple dynamic scorers that can really open up the game. I think we need to be able to guard them as a unit, as all five of us, as we have been doing the last couple games that we've been in this new style of defense that we've been trying to play. I think if we're able to kind of guard everyone and stay as a unit, I think we'll be all right.
Q. I guess for both of you guys, what makes Sexton so good, and, I guess, in studying him and preparing for him, I mean what kind of challenge is that going to be for you guys defensively?
JUSTIN BIBBS: Every time he touches the ball he's a threat. He's not taking his foot off the gas pedal. I mean, if he gets it 94 feet, he's going full speed. He plays for his teammates at time, plays for himself at times. He's just a great player. Like he said, we all have to stop him. Can't be one-on-one defense. It has to be five of us against him, against his team. He's just a great player.
Q. I talked with Justin -- I'll ask Devin this. I talked to Justin the other day about the Notre Dame game and how the last time we saw you were kind of stumbling in the second half. He said he spent until Sunday morning looking at the thing, and it bugged him, rightfully so. How long did you kind of pour over that game and suffer over it, and do you feel there's things that can be corrected from that game or did you just kind of put it in the past?
DEVIN WILSON: I was possibly a little shorter than him just because it's one of those games where it got out of our hands. We kind of let it go. That's something you try not to dwell on especially -- but when you look back, it happened in Miami as well. We had a second-half breakdown. That's when it kind of worries you a little bit, and that's when you get in the film room and talk to the coaches and say, What's happening in the second half when we're dropping off so much, whether it's offensively or defensively.
So like I said, you look back at both of those games and I think that's where you get better at and that's where you improve at it by seeing what happened in both of those instead of just looking at one where shots didn't fall, they rally a little bit. That's kind of how I viewed it.
Q. Devin, a lot has been made of how defense has improved since you came into the starting line-up. Just curious, what do you see as being your biggest role on that end of the floor? What are some things you try to do to help that team defense?
DEVIN WILSON: Just communication. I think I'm loud on the court when we're playing. I think guys trust me that they know I'm going to be in the right spot at all times. Just being able to help the guys out. I try to pride myself on being a good defensive player.
When other guys see that, I think that thrives them to want to be good defensive players too. That's been a whole team vibe, and you see everyone, whether they play five minutes a game or 40 minutes a game like Bibbs does. That's a whole team buy-in, and that's what enables us to propels ourselves forward on the defensive end.
Q. Justin, does Alabama look like anybody you've seen this year and how so?
JUSTIN BIBBS: That's a tough one. All right. Offensively, like us, a lot of ball screens. The point guards, a big threat. Numbers-wise, they are like us. A lot of twos, they hit their threes. Transition, I like to get up and down. Offensively, they're like us.
Q. Devin, following up what you said before. What did you learn about yourself? Was there a commonality in the Miami game? What did you learn about the second-half struggles about what you want to correct or improve upon there?
DEVIN WILSON: I think we relaxed a little bit. Each game we went in with a good lead in both games, so I think we kind of took our foot off the pedal. Not so much as in the Notre Dame game because the first four minutes of that game, we had a really good run, had a couple break-out lay-ups. In the last 15 minutes things started to disintegrate.
From the Miami game, it was right from the jump. We fixed it in the Miami game coming off strong in the first half, but didn't keep up it like in the Notre Dame game where it disintegrated. I think we need to keep our foot on the pedal and why really pride ourselves on why we had that lead in the first half in the first place, which was playing good defense and getting stops and then doing what we do best, which is getting coming out in transition and getting easy lay-ups or wide-open threes.
Q. Alabama is a pretty good team defensively. What do you see on tape from them defensively?
DEVIN WILSON: Want me to take it?
JUSTIN BIBBS: You got it.
DEVIN WILSON: They are long and athletic, which helps any team be a good defensive team. Being able to stop guys and keep them in front of you is a huge factor. They are not necessarily small, like how we play, but they are not really big either, kind of how Duke plays.
Like I said, they're kind of tall across the board, 6'9", 6'8", 6'5", which helps rebounding purpose and they're not getting any offensive rebounds which helps them defensively as well because they're not giving up second-chance shots. Whenever they just are able to play solid. They also take really good shots, too. That helps the defense.
Other than that, they're a solid defensive team. That's something we're going to have to work on today and tomorrow to be able to get the shots like we want and be able to run the floor like we want to.
Q. The -- on Collin Sexton, what's the defensive challenge? Are you worried about keeping him out of the lanes so he doesn't get fouled and goes to the free-throw line a lot or more like getting threes like against Auburn? When you mention them being a long athletic team, that's not exactly the greatest match-up for you guys, whether Louisville, Florida State, or Kentucky. How do you beat an athletic team?
JUSTIN BIBBS: Yeah, I think I said it before, just for him, it's going to be all five of us. It's not just whoever got him at that moment. I mean, he's a great player. -- I forgot the question.
Q. Him penetrating (inaudible) two and three?
JUSTIN BIBBS: It's going to be a foursome, successive threes, hands in his face at all times. Obviously, we don't want him in the paint shooting draw fouls. We'll going to have to try and contain him and just shoot, just -- what we call bad shots.
Q. You know, most teams say they want to play their best basketball in March. Do you feel you're able to do that now and if so, why. If not, what do you think you need to work on before tomorrow?
DEVIN WILSON: I think the last two weeks we haven't played our best basketball, and I think that's kind of -- that might work into our favor. We came in seeing what we needed to work on, and now we're able to correct it, instead of kind of riding that high horse and thinking that everything is okay when maybe they're not.
I think that's a good thing for us. We're able to fix the mistakes we had in the Notre Dame game and the Miami name game. If that's able to help us on the defensive end, that's going to be huge for us because our offense is what it is. We're a high field goal percentage shooting team. We take good shots. We don't turn the ball over as much as we think we should and things like that. So, being able to kind of, like I said, see those mistakes and being able to correct them, I think is going to help us in the long run.
Q. Getting back to size and length, how do you guys go about beating a team like that because that's giving you trouble in the past, that kind of match-up?
DEVIN WILSON: Just rebounding. I think that's something we've always harped on. Being able to limit them to one shot. Like I said, I don't think they're so much like Louisville where they have 7-footers running all over the place and they can run the floor. It's a little different. They are maybe a couple inches shorter, same athleticism. It's a little bit different.
Like I said, that's another challenge we get to embrace and to try to get over that hump. We haven't been good against athletic teams like Kentucky, Louisville or Miami. Things like that. That's one more challenge we get to face and hopefully we face it with something good.
Q. For either one of you guy, you're not -- you're in a situation a lot of teams are in if you exited early in a conference tournament. You've played twice in two and a half weeks which is way out of routine for you guys. Is that concerning for you to establish a rhythm and stay in rhythm?
DEVIN WILSON: I haven't really thought about it like that. That's a good question. I don't think anyone in our locker room is going to notice it that way. The way we practice is very intense. It's very too the point. I think you get over, oh, we haven't played a while, or we play in practice, you kind of see each other. That's a tough situation to kind of be in. You never want to be in that situation.
At the same time, you never want to play four games that you have to in a tournament or something like that. I think we're in a good spot, in a good groove, guys bodies are healthy. We don't really play a super ton of guys. We don't play 10, 11 guys all the time. It kind of varies from game to game. Keep guys like Bibbs and J Rob heathy to play those crazy amount of minutes is really going to help us out right now.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports