home jobs contact us
Our Clients:
Browse by Sport
Find us on ASAP sports on Facebook ASAP sports on Twitter
ASAP Sports RSS Subscribe to RSS
Click to go to
ASAP Sports e-Brochure View our


March 15, 2018

Mikal Bridges

Jay Wright

Jalen Brunson

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Villanova - 87, Radford - 61

COACH WRIGHT: Good effort for us. A lot of credit goes to Radford. One of the advantages we have is that, you know, I was at Hofstra. I know how good these teams are, I can tell these guys. And you guys -- our guys are intelligent. Radford is scrappy, tough and made an ugly game. When know when you're 16, you're not going to come in and win a pretty game, you know.

And they really did a good job. Well-coached. I think Mike did a great job. They have great culture in that program. We have a lot of respect for them. That's why I feel good about our guys. They scrap. They're not afraid of an ugly game. We did it for 40 minutes and survived.

It's leadership, these two, not trying to go get numbers. Just trying to keep us playing hard and scrapping with a really tough team.

Q. For Jalen, you had these games before especially in the Big East tournament. You hit these threes, these threes, these threes, and you crush them. Can you tell me how easy it is to take the spirit out of the other team that they didn't match what you're doing?
JALEN BRUNSON: Honestly, I wasn't paying attention to how many threes we were hitting. To me it didn't seem like a lot. We were just really trying to focus on defending and rebounding. Offense, it comes natural to us. We love sharing the ball with each other. We all are really confident with each other, making shots, sharing the ball and all that.

It's something we take pride in. We just really focused on defending and rebounding because I know our offense is going to come.

Q. 1 playing a 16, you know you're supposed to win and you're supposed to win fairly handily. You knew things were never that easy. But is it a special nervousness with just -- until you guys get going, until you get out and get rolling, you're paying attention, hey we're playing a 16 and can't let the unthinkable happen here?
JALEN BRUNSON: It may cross our minds, it may. But we're doing a good job focussing on just playing hard in between those lines. I can't say it doesn't cross our mind at all. I think our guys did a good job showing each other, no matter who we're playing, no matter what the situation is, no matter what the probability of us winning is, we're going to go out and play hard for each other. That's all we're going to worry about, and that's what we do out there.

Q. Mikal, you guys held them to a lot of field goals in the first half for almost 8 minutes. When you're stopping after making stop after stop, do you realize you're gradually extending your lead because they can't get on the board?
MIKAL BRIDGES: We feel, as ourselves, that we're defending really well, and once we feel like we're playing really tough defensively, you can tell by everybody's reaction on the bench, when you're out there all fired up. Because we love playing defense, you know, that's what we focus on the most. And it's just a great feeling, we are defending and playing hard together.

Q. Coach, you know who I am. The last two weeks of the regular season, you were expressing concern that you may not have the time left to get the defense the way you want to. Tonight's performance, are you getting closer to that point?
COACH WRIGHT: We are, Joe. We're getting better every time we get to play. You play different teams, different styles. And that's what you have to be able to adjust to. We'll get a totally different style on Saturday, and we're going to have to be ready.

I do -- I feel good about where we're going defensively. We still have to get -- you know, rebounding, we have a lot of offensive rebounds in the first half. We've still got to get better, but they know it. They know it. We have a mindset that we want to keep playing and practicing to get better.

Q. Jay, a variation of the question I asked Jalen. I mean, it's going to happen one of these days and it could happen tomorrow?

Q. And no one wants to -- it's hard to win games in this tournament, 15-2s and all that. But it's going to happen and nobody wants to think that. But is there that little bit of element to this game?
COACH WRIGHT: Definitely, definitely. It's -- you know, there's a lot of -- when it comes to, say, tournament time, there's a lot of distractions, a lot of them are. Most of them are positive distractions, enjoyable distractions, right? But you have to fight that. But that is definitely one of them.

It's out there. You hear it. You're watching games. You watch -- we're watching Penn, because my daughter goes to Penn. My wife's rooting like crazy for Penn. I said you're rooting for Penn. If that happens, my boy, Bill Self, Will be dying, but you do, you think about it. What you have to do when you're the one is do everything to fight off that distraction.

You hear Jalen say about percentages. They're looking at the bottom of ESPN, talking about the percentages of winning. It's all out there. You've got to block it out of your head and concentrate on what you can control.

Q. This is a little off the board, but I wound up having a conversation with Father Peter, the president, during the game. How connected is he with the game and what's the connection with him like?
COACH WRIGHT: He's awesome. He's connected to everything at Villanova and especially anything that involves the students. He -- when we come out here with a big send-off in the hotel, he's the first person at the bottom of the steps hugging every guy. The guys love him. All of the students love him.

When he walks into the arena they chant "Father Peter." He's the face of our University. He's a loveable, humble guy, really bright guy. He's done an incredible job. We also have Father Rob, who is our team chaplain, which is a big part of what we do, too.

Q. He looked a little tight?
COACH WRIGHT: I looked tight?

Q. No, Father Rob?
COACH WRIGHT: I did sense a little tightness in him tonight walking out.

Q. Jay, you talked about the 1-16. Now you're in the second round. You've been down this road several times. Do you talk about it now? How do you deal with this moving forward because you struggled with this moving forward.
COACH WRIGHT: But that's just me. I'm the only one that struggled, not these guy, nobody else on this team. They don't -- I mean, they know about it. But the guys that you have, they know what they did in their career, you know, and the guys they were with, you know?

This team's leadership is Jalen and Mikal. I heard Jalen say it. I know the bitter and sweet of this tournament. I know winning a National Championship and I know getting knocked out in the second round. I know anything can happen. That's what this team's mindset is. I stick with the mindset of the group that we have.

Q. Obviously, Jalen's up for some big accolades. What do you see out of him tonight and how do you see him handle that pressure?
COACH WRIGHT: You know, it's amazing. There was a play tonight where he -- where he had like a 25-point lead. He shot-faked the guy, had it wide open and tried to throw it backwards to Donte to get Donte a shot. It just shows his unselfishness. I actually was not happy about that. You want him to just make the right play.

He's always -- he's such a leader. He's thinking about what does our team need to do. What do they need to see from me, meaning him. And he knows they need to see unselfishness, commitment to defense and rebounding. And that's what he does.

Q. Coach, you see a team like Radford, who is not here all of the time, you see their crowd. Does that help you keep things in perspective about, you know, it's not an every -- it's not a guaranteed thing, I guess, to be at this situation?
COACH WRIGHT: Most definitely and it's something that we talk to our team about. You know, it -- it relates to what I just answered about what these guys know in their careers, you know? These guys have had a great run, and -- but every chance like that, that we see a team just so appreciative to be here, playing their hearts out to the last second, playing every possession, it's just a great example to our guys to relish every opportunity they get and to respect -- respect their opponent.

You know, they see 1-16, the percentages going, and you get on the floor with those guys, they are playing their butts off, you know? And you see how tough they are. Great respect for them and it is a very healthy experience for us.

Q. Jay, just to follow up on that because you kind of led with this, what is your experience on being on the other side of this, the other side of the underdog favorite thing, how does that affect your appreciation of this?
COACH WRIGHT: Well, I really enjoy, after a game like this, seeing the guys on the other team, you know, and talking with the players, telling them what tough players they are, a great team they have, how much we respect them.

Just so you know, we played Oklahoma State the first year, got hammered, and I think they went to the Final Four that year and it was a big moment for us. We got beat bad and we enjoyed it. So, I make sure that, you know, I let them know how much we respect them, and we do. Because we talk to our guys about that.

COACH WRIGHT: Thank you, guys. Thanks a lot.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

ASAP sports

tech 129
About ASAP SportsFastScripts ArchiveRecent InterviewsCaptioningUpcoming EventsContact Us
FastScripts | Events Covered | Our Clients | Other Services | ASAP in the News | Site Map | Job Opportunities | Links
ASAP Sports, Inc. | T: 1.212 385 0297