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March 14, 2018

Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman

Duncan Robinson

Moritz Wagner

Wichita, Kansas

Q. You guys have obviously had a couple of days off or actually ten full days off before your next game. How have you guys been staying fresh, and do you feel the layoff is going to affect you at all?
MORITZ WAGNER: I think obviously enjoyed the Big Ten Championship a little bit for a couple of days, but then we didn't waste too much time. We got back to the gym as quick as possible. And yeah, it's a great challenge waiting for us tomorrow. And we have a lot of work, obviously, to do.

MUHAMMAD-ALI ABDUR-RAHKMAN: Yeah, like Mo said, we enjoyed our championship. And then we got back to work. Took much-needed rest. We had a tough end of the season, a lot of games back to back. And we took a much-needed rest and got back to work and started focusing on Montana.

DUNCAN ROBINSON: Like they both said, got some rest, and then stayed sharp, tried to compete and then clean up some things that we wanted to work on. And then once we found out where we were playing and who we were playing, we started focusing on them.

Q. For them when the Selection Show happens and they see you guys pop up, they might be familiar with you guys because they get to watch you on national television. What is it like for you guys when you see a Montana team that you've probably never seen or heard much of before?
DUNCAN ROBINSON: First and foremost, we knew they were a really good team. You don't win your regular season conference and also win the conference tournament as well without being a good team. So 26, 27 wins, whatever they have.

And we have a lot of respect for them. But the next couple of days after Selection Sunday we were kind of getting used to them, figuring out personnel and tendencies and stuff like that.

MORITZ WAGNER: Yeah. Similar to what Duncan said, I mean, I wasn't necessarily familiar with the name and the players at first, but I looked at the wins. That was like kind of the key number. And then I figured out that they won both the regular season and the tournament. So that's a great accomplishment, and they deserve a lot of respect. So yeah. It's a great challenge.

MUHAMMAD-ALI ABDUR-RAHKMAN: Yeah, like they both said, we saw that they were a great team, winning your season championship and the conference championship. So you knew they were a good team. I actually have a friend from back home that's a big Montana fan. So he re-tweets stuff on Twitter all the time. So I see guys pop up sometimes.

Q. You guys are being picked to win this game, go far in the tournament. What's the mindset heading into this first game?
DUNCAN ROBINSON: You know, we're focused right now on getting one tomorrow. Like we just said, we know this is a really good Montana team that's won a lot of games this year. So first and foremost, we're focused on Thursday.

MORITZ WAGNER: I don't think we're necessarily worried about who's picking who. We're just focused on the next day and the next challenge and approach every game as it's a championship game, and then we'll see. But doesn't matter to us who's picking who.

MUHAMMAD-ALI ABDUR-RAHKMAN: As they both said, we just can't get ahead of ourselves. We have to focus on the task ahead, and that's Montana, and that's all we're focused on.

Q. For you guys, the short turnaround you have had to see film on Montana, what stands out, why you think they had such a good regular season and conference tournament to be a good basketball team this year?
DUNCAN ROBINSON: First and foremost, they're talented and they play really hard, and defensively they mix it up, throw different stuff at you. So that'll be a challenge for us adjusting to that, get up in passing lanes, force turnovers and they play at a good pace.

These are all things we tried to simulate in practice these last couple of days, and hopefully we'll be ready for it tomorrow.

MORITZ WAGNER: I think they have a really good balance between outside and inside game with a very strong athletic back court and really good inside game as well. And as Duncan said, they're very challenging to guard. And yeah, they're a good challenge.

MUHAMMAD-ALI ABDUR-RAHKMAN: Just like Mo said, they have a great balance between guard play and inside play. And I think leadership, they have a lot of experienced players. Definitely helps, and it'll pose a tough challenge for us.

Q. So with their defensive scheme, obviously that's their calling card. Could you guys compare their style a little bit what you've seen on film to anyone that you've played maybe in the Big Ten or all season long?
DUNCAN ROBINSON: Yeah, a little bit with Illinois in our conference, just how they get up in passing lanes, make catches really tough, and then will blitz ball screens periodically.

So we look back on that film and how we fared against them. We learned a lot from that game as well playing against Illinois because they're a tough team to play against, like Montana is as well. So hopefully that experience we gained will help us tomorrow.

MORITZ WAGNER: I mean yeah, there's nothing really to add to that. Pretty simple answer.

MUHAMMAD-ALI ABDUR-RAHKMAN: Pretty much Illinois. Same thing.

Q. Not necessarily a basketball question, but do you guys know or can say anything about knowing anything about the state of Montana in general? Just curious.
DUNCAN ROBINSON: It's got some mountains. I know that. It's got some great outdoors. I'm from New Hampshire, so I appreciate that sort of stuff. Never been there, but maybe I'll get to go at some point.

MORITZ WAGNER: Yeah. I just knew that it was in the west, northwest; right? And I kind of connected it to the mountains as well. So that was what I knew.

MUHAMMAD-ALI ABDUR-RAHKMAN: I can't say I know much. I'm guessing there's a lot of grizzly bears there. That's fine with me. Yes. Don't know too much.

Q. Muhammad, just going back to what you said earlier, I was curious about your friend that tweets about Montana and what that connection is?
MUHAMMAD-ALI ABDUR-RAHKMAN: He's actually just a friend from a school around the city of Allentown where I'm from in Pennsylvania. And he just always tweets about Montana sports in general, football and basketball. And so I always just see his tweets. We don't really talk much, but I always just see it on my Twitter feed.

THE MODERATOR: Okay, guys. Best of luck tomorrow night. Thank you very much.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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