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March 15, 2018

Bill Kennedy

Admon Gilder

Tyler Davis

Charlotte, North Carolina

THE MODERATOR: Who has our first question?

Q. This question is for Admon. You've done a great job all year of guarding the opponent's best scorer. What do you know about Diallo, who has been Providence's leading scorer, and how are you going to defend him?
ADMON GILDER: We watched a whole lot of film on him. He's a big guard, about 6' 7". I know they punch it in to him a lot. Just know, stick to our bigs, we front the post from the guard's standpoint, and we have a great bigs who will be able to help us on the help side and come over and even block a shot for them. I think it's a good match for me, not just me but the whole entire team. Looking forward to it.

THE MODERATOR: What was the next question?

Q. Tyler, you have a size advantage in the post. You've had a size advantage for a lot of years. What is it going to take to get you involved, one, and also to take advantage of that size on offense and defense?
TYLER DAVIS: I just need to do my job like I have been all year. Coach Kennedy is going to get the ball into me. I got to make the right play, make the basketball play. Use my size to the my advantage. Seal inside, be a force in the paint, do my job.

THE MODERATOR: Who has the next question?

Q. I'm curious, have you guys watched Providence on TV at all, all season long?
TYLER DAVIS: Not on TV. This past week. We feel like we know them well.

Q. Follow-up. Your size has been a big advantage all season long. Looks like it could be in this game as well. I imagine could you just talk about how difficult your practices are practicing against each other?
TYLER DAVIS: It's fun. Playing against Rob, Tonny, Isiah, and we have a guy that's not playing, next year he'll be good. You got to get ready to go every single day, go to war. It gets you better and I love the competition.

THE MODERATOR: Anyone else? Okay. Guys, thank you.

Questions for Coach Kennedy, raise your hand.

Q. Coach, in terms of the way that Providence is, they have a lot of players who can be installed at different positions on the floor with the exception of the point guard who is always the point guard.

Q. Is there some aspect of preparing for a team that has that level of versatility, that is different or more difficult than someone who plays a lot of people at traditional positions?
COACH BILL KENNEDY: It's definitely different. You know, playing a Carolina East Coast style of basketball, we're taking advantage of people one-on-one. Got to be able to make physical plays on the defensive end. Hopefully we won't get our guards in foul trouble. Their size on the perimeter is an advantage with their team, and I think our size with our post guys is an advantage with us, but it's definitely different style of play. We've practiced against a lot of different teams this year, played Penn State probably closest to a similar as Providence when we played Penn State earlier in the year.

Q. Billy, your thoughts on the matchup on Kyron with TJ, guy has been a senior that's been in this tournament a lot, against a guy that's only started about half the year, and do you think that the last two games going up against Sexton prepared him for the moment?
COACH BILL KENNEDY: I don't think he could have gotten better training by guarding Collin Sexton the last couple of games and going what we went through with that. There's a lot of drama involved in that matchup, so I don't think he could get any bigger than that from that standpoint. The difference is Cartwright has got a lot of leadership qualities with this team and has been in this tournament before. It will be interesting to see how that matchup plays out. But I like TJ. He's very confident. He'll come in here if we can keep him within confines of the offense and taking care of the ball, something we've been emphasizing all year. I think he'll play well. I expect him to play well.

Q. Coach, you have brought three, four guys from the 2016 team that went to the Sweet 16. How do you think their experience has helped the younger guys in preparation for this week?
COACH BILL KENNEDY: They know what they're playing for, the sense of urgency, they've been through it before. All the media and the different things that come with the NCAA Tournament, they've experienced. I think you'll see them comfortable in this situation. It will be Tyler Davis and Admon Gilder for us who provide the type of leadership. Tonny Trocha played big in the NCAA Tournament. DJ Hogg. We have some guys that have experience. It's the biggest thing is them understanding that you can't change anything for this tournament. You got to be who you are, stay together and do the things that got you here, and that's something I hope those guys are able to relay to the rest of our guys.

Q. What do you need out of Robert tomorrow to sort of swing the matchup your way? What are you expecting from him and what is it about him that makes him such a special player?
COACH BILL KENNEDY: His ability defensively to block shots is something that can cause some problems for anybody, especially 15 feet into the basket. They run a flex offense, very good around the basket his ability to block shots, if we can get him to block shots, i Think that's something that's changed the game for us. We're getting easy transition baskets when he blocks shots. On the offensive end we need him to be more aggressive. We will go to him a little bit more. The last couple of games we tried to go to him more. We want him to be more of a scoring threat because he has some abilities we don't always get out of him. We want him to be more of a scoring threat around the basket.

Q. Billy, why do you think Admon has been so successful defensively against some of the guys y'all put him on that are high scorers, he's been able to contain them. How do you think he's going to match up in that role against Diallo?
COACH BILL KENNEDY: He takes it as a challenge when he knows he's guarding one of the guys best players. He understands how important defense is. He's been that way from his freshman year. We've made him a defensive stopper. He buys into that role. He's guarded a lot of different guys. He may guard Diallo, so it will be a little bit different guard, defensive responsibility for him because both of these guys are 6' 7" and power guys who like to post up. Most of the guards he's guarded are perimeter guys. Be interesting to see but I know he'll fight. That's the one thing, he buys into that role and that's been big for us.

Q. In terms of the way that Providence's style plays, on defense they get a lot of deflections because of their length. You guys have had issues at times with possessions and turnovers. Do you envision that as being a potentially volatile mix?
COACH BILL KENNEDY: That's something we're concerned about, definitely. When we have taken care of the ball, we've been very hard to beat because of the second chance points we get on the glass and our ability around the basket. But they do, they get a lot of deflections. They bump you, they're physical defensively. You got to be able to play through that to be ball tough. Something we've talked about all week is taking care of the ball and being strong with the ball and being able to handle contact, play through contact is something that they're good at. And we've got -- that is something we've got -- that's a big key to the game is our ability to handle the ball and get shots at the basket when we can go chase the misses when we did miss it and not turn the ball over and lead to transition baskets for them.

Q. On the other side of that same coin, Providence comes from a conference where they are known for the physical nature of the play. But you have a lot of strong, big guys on your front line that you were talking about. Do you think in some ways your club is well-suited to take on a team that plays that style?
COACH BILL KENNEDY: I think it's -- that's what makes it a great matchup., is that we're both physically dominant at times, and when we are physically dominant we're tough to beat. We hope our size and length is something they haven't seen a whole lot of. That usually gives people problems because we go 6'10", 6'10", 6'9" at the front line and at times play some zone, and that will be able to bother them some hopefully, also.

Q. Your size that you just spoke of, it seems to be the basketball is going away from that or the big guys certainly have to have an awful lot of versatility. Tyler, for example, is more of a traditional low post guy. Why do you favor this current collection of guys, or is it just you've been fortunate in recruiting?
COACH BILL KENNEDY: We've been fortunate in recruiting. It is different. We can basically play two 5 men at times with him and Robert. It is different, and at times we've had problems going out guarding a perimeter 4. We've been able to play small, Tonny Trocha is really a 4, 3 and DJ Hogg can play the 4, also. We've been able to go small, but we like the fact that people sometimes have to matchup with our size and that's been a plus for us most nights.

Q. Coach Cooley talked about "boxing out" was their key word. He's even put signs up on their lockers and all that stuff. What's the one thing that you've emphasized this whole week towards your players?
COACH BILL KENNEDY: We've emphasized the same thing. You know, I probably need to take that and steal that and use that tomorrow, put a sign on everybody's hotel room tomorrow morning when they wake up and they know to block out. Because that's something we're concerned about, too, is blocking out. I talked about earlier the other thing is taking care of the ball and our guard play being efficient offensively, shooting the ball when we're open, making the right plays and being ball tough and taking care of the ball. That and being physical are the two things we've emphasized all week.

Q. Also mentioned he respects you, a man of faith. He said tomorrow he's going to pray a little bit harder than you. Is that possible?
COACH BILL KENNEDY: Whoever is going to pray the hardest, I don't think it's going to matter either way. But I know we both -- that's important part of my life, my faith is important. I wouldn't be here today without God's help. Our team wouldn't be here. We've had some ups and downs, but we've been blessed to get through it. We've known each other awhile. Ed is a good man and a heck of a coach. I look forward to the challenge. If it's just about praying, I think we're both in good shape.

THE MODERATOR: Any other questions for Coach?

COACH BILL KENNEDY: All right. Thanks.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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