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March 16, 2018

Seth Gross

Stevan Micic

Cleveland, Ohio


THE MODERATOR: We're joined by Stevan Micic from Michigan.

Q. That's the fourth time you've wrestled Pletcher this season. He's known for having great defense. Especially after you guys have wrestled so many times, how do you open up against a guy like that?
STEVAN MICIC: You know, I gotta get to where I'm good at with him. I've just got to keep my feet moving. I don't want to like settle, because I think that's where he thrives a little bit with me.

So I just noticed with my feet, when they were standing still it was hard to get going. I was hitting my head to the side. We wrestled enough to where I know that I gotta open up my offense and get to the leg. I've got to be firing off attacks on him. I can't really just be sitting there because we might get into a stand-up position where he wants to be. And then he might get to the leg or something and score.

That's kind of what was happening in that match a little bit. But I wasn't worried at all in that position. So I knew I just had to overcome it.

Q. Michigan, explain why Michigan had success today?
STEVAN MICIC: I don't know. I think, first of all, we have a really good bond and I'm proud of my whole team for doing great. We see potential. We saw a lot of potential at the beginning of the year that this was going to be a dominant team, one that's been stronger than they have in the past.

So we had, I think, five guys in the semifinals tonight. And I'm really proud of that. And I think we all hold each other accountable and we're honest with each other. So that kind of helps a lot. We can tell each other anything. So being able to be honest like that and hold each other accountable is really very helpful. And with the coaches, too. We have a great bond with them, too.

Q. Talk through that final takedown there to seal the deal. Obviously you probably visualized that thing in your head over and over again -- semifinals, national tournament -- to get the win and put yourself in the final?
STEVAN MICIC: Honestly I just took the shot and I knew I had to hustle to the finish. I really didn't know how much time was left at all. I honestly thought maybe there was a little more time. Coaches were, you're on short time, but I knew I had to hide my ankles well and hook the ankle because really -- it almost bit me in the ass a little because earlier I got the same shot and when he grabbed my ankle I took a little bit when I turned, and we stalemated. And I was pretty pissed about that.

But I knew I couldn't, I can't stop him like I felt the shot opening up on me. Ohio State, I could tell they were really game planning for me, to try to get moving and stuff like that. So, like I said, it was cool for sure. I don't think it really registered at the time.

Q. As you head towards the Finals now and you have put some really tough matches behind you, you're looking forward to Seth Gross? Are you already game planning for that match tomorrow night?
STEVAN MICIC: I mean, it's something I've been prepared for the whole year. It's not really like a game plan. I can't really make any adjustments with my wrestling from now until tomorrow at 8:00 p.m. when we shake hands. But it's something that I've -- with my wrestling, kind of looking for a guy like Seth Gross, the way he wrestles like that, is going to make me a better wrestler regardless. So, planning for that.

So it's something that I got my hands on all-star classic (indiscernible) how I was a little bit when we're both out of shape a little bit. Now that I'm prepared and it's the NCAA Tournament, the Finals, I'm feeling the best I've ever felt. So, you know, it's time to leave everything behind me. I'm looking forward from there.

THE MODERATOR: Thank you. Next up is Seth Gross.

Q. Seth, you had given up what three takedowns in the last period, three in the last 30 seconds. Why did you think you were going to have to score against him?
SETH GROSS: I didn't want to lose. I was tired, he got me in the same trap three, four times. Obviously I was going to try something figure it out make adjustments as I could, and I was able to do my hip tip there and catch him on his back and get the fall there in overtime. And it's big and never just stop fighting and keep going.

Q. Talked a little bit about the hip tip there in overtime. That's kind of almost your go-to when a guy gets on your leg. But he got there three or four times. And kind of what was the little adjustment you made to get to it in overtime to be able to throw him over to his hips and end up getting the fall?
SETH GROSS: He was doing a real good job of getting to my leg keeping it off the mat right when he got out there, and I knew I had to pull him back down to the mat to get the hip tip because can't do it from the feet. I kept doing the best I could and I think he got a little tired from every shot. And just kept trying to get him to the mat and got him there and the hip tip was there, so I went for it.

Q. How much confidence does it give you to know you can turn pretty much anybody in the NCAA from the top position?
SETH GROSS: It's awesome, and it helps in matches like that where you might not be moving your feet well or you might not be getting to your offense or things like that. You know you can get on top and get a turn and cancel out everything they've done on the feet.

And obviously I'm going to make more adjustments for tomorrow to wrestle a good match, clean match the whole seven minutes. But just having that wrestling on top and being able to hold guys down, I think, helps slow guys down and helps me in situations like that.

Q. You and Micic have tussled before. Earlier in the season he said it was when you were both out of shape and he was ready to go. Are you ready for the stage again because you've been here before?
SETH GROSS: I'm excited. And I've been getting kind of upset by my performances lately. And God kind of brought me down to earth saying, doesn't matter how you get the wins, as long as you move forward and get back up to fight and find a way to win. That's what I did.

It was a tough scenario out there and he had momentum going his way the crowd was going pretty crazy there, and was able to pull it off. And that kind of brought me back to reality that a win is a win. I might not always wrestle the best I can but you've got to get the job done either way.

Q. What did you learn in last year's final? And why will you win tomorrow night?
SETH GROSS: Last year's final, you know, I don't know what it was: My warm-up wasn't good; I didn't eat right that day or what. But make sure I get my sleep tonight, eat right after weigh-ins and just do everything right. And as soon as I get out there block everything else out and focus on the match and what I need to do to win.


FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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