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March 7, 2019

Porter Moser

Clayton Custer

Marques Townes

Lucas Williamson

Cameron Krutwig

Aher Uguak

St. Louis, Missouri - Arch Madness

THE MODERATOR: The Ramblers are here. They're the No. 1 seed. We don't know their opponent yet. They'll play the winner of the 8-9 game, which is tonight. Clayton Custer, Marques Townes, Lucas Williamson, Cameron Krutwig, and Aher Uguak are the student-athletes. They are surrounding Coach Porter Moser. Porter, please.

PORTER MOSER: Excited to be here. Obviously, I think I've been a part of the Valley for a long time, player and coach. I think it's great how St. Louis embraces the tournament, how it's run by the Valley Conference office, and just ready to get going.

Q. So the biggest win streak you guys have had this season is three games, and obviously you have to win three games to be the champions of the tournament. Coming into the tournament, you guys are on a two-game win streak. What would be the keys to picking up not only that third game, but the fourth game, breaking your win streak this year?
THE MODERATOR: Question is for who?

Q. Porter and two of the players.
THE MODERATOR: Porter first, then Marques and Lucas.

PORTER MOSER: Literally, in my coaching career, I've never talked about winning streaks. How many in a row, what have we got to do to win three, four in a row? These guys will say the same thing. I don't even know that stat. When I don't know a stat, then not important. These guys will tell you, I rattle off a million stats. That stat means nothing that we've won three. For us, it's all about winning one in a row, that's the next one in front of us.

The winner of Valpo and Indiana State, we prepare like every game is the biggest game of the year. The streak is one in a row to start.


MARQUES TOWNES: Just to backtrack off what he said, our game is just one-game-at-a-time mentality. It is not, let's win four games in a row, and it would be good. No, it's one game at a time. If we do lose one, it's what do we have to do better to win the next game? We don't worry about two games ahead of us. That's just our mentality, like Coach said.


LUCAS WILLIAMSON: Same thing. We focus on one game at a time. That's really all we're thinking about.

Q. Coach, you were in the spot last year as the No. 1 seed, didn't know who you were playing the first game. How do you go about preparing scouting reports? Obviously, you've seen these teams first, but how do you go about preparing, not knowing who you're going to play that first game?
PORTER MOSER: What we've done in the past and what we did again this year -- last year we got the No. 1 seed, so we regrouped on Monday morning, and we said, hey, let's be obsessed with what we have to do to get better this week. We approached it that way this year. We identified three, four, things as a group in practice sessions we wanted to get better at.

And we do, we spend a little each day on each of the teams. Some people might say, oh, is he overloading the guys? That's underestimating these guys' capacity to learn and pick up scouting. It's an amazing group of how much they can pick up stuff in scouting. So we really focus on ourselves, and then we did a little bit each of Indiana State and Valpo. And when we know later tonight, these guys know. Same as last year. We'll get into the ballroom and dig in to whatever team it is.

Q. For Coach and Clay: You guys have a lot of experience specifically in postseason tournament play. How is single-elimination play different than the regular season?
CLAYTON CUSTER: I think, just like Coach said earlier, we approach every game like it's the biggest game of the clear. We know this time of year we have to win in order to keep playing. We've worked all week to prepare for both teams, whichever one we have, we know it's going to be a challenge. So we just have to be focused and continue to do the little things that we've been doing all year. Hopefully, that will help us get a win, just one game at a time.

PORTER MOSER: That is the benefit of having postseason experience and guys that have been there is they understand it. We have this kind of mantra of a laser-like focus, and that's kind of blocking out all the other noise -- social media, print media, everything that the guys could possibly read, friends, family.

These guys have been there. They've been on high stages. They've been in tournament settings where you've got to win to advance, and these guys know it. I love their approach about it. We're not thinking about that. We're thinking about what are the four or five keys that we have to be obsessed with to beat our opponent? That's all the banter that goes on about us. That's all that we're talking during the game. And that's really what we believe in.

Q. For Porter and Marques, with the run you guys had last year to the Final Four, and you had Wichita State out of the Valley a few years ago getting to the Final Four, how undervalued is the Valley as a conference by the NCAA Tournament committee?
MARQUES TOWNES: Yeah, there's definitely some really, really, really tough teams in this conference. As you've seen this year, anybody can beat anybody on any given night. I just feel like, you know, just mid-majors in general, I feel like we don't get enough support, I guess, in the NCAA committee and in the decisions. But I feel like we've been coming along because you've seen mid-majors beat high major programs all the time during the nonconference and all that stuff.

So definitely, when you see teams like us last year and then teams like this year, like I've seen like Wofford and all those teams like that, I just feel like we should be considered in those aspects. And definitely in this conference, there's some really good teams, like I said. Hopefully, we it continues on for years from now.

PORTER MOSER: I know my answer is going to cause about 30 follow-up questions, and I know we're on a time constraint and a number of you guys will be trying to get a hold of me for my response to follow-up questions.

I'll say, when you look at the record in the Valley winning the NCAA Tournament, we're 10-0 in first-round games. That's not a fluke. That really is a powerful statement. When you're 10-0 in first-round games with your conference, that's a statement. The other thing is I really believe the selection committee has a really hard job. I've known guys on that committee. I knew guys on that committee last year. I know it's a really -- and these guys work tirelessly for months sorting through data, all this stuff.

I just think that it's got to be a little more subjective. One of my suggestions would be I'd really -- there's so much made about this net and all this stuff. I really think they should take the top whatever it is, 10 conferences, 12 conferences, per the net at the end of the year, and if you win the league but you don't win the league tournament, you should get an automatic bid. I really believe that. I think that's great for college basketball.

So it's not as much saying, we're going to give you an at-large bid over you an at-large, it's more subjective. Hey, if you're in these top so conferences and you win the league but don't win the tournament, you get a bid. You get a bid, flat out. You get a bid. I think that would be great for college basketball.

Then you're not seeing a No. 9 ranked team -- or the ninth team to finish ninth in a power conference get it because they were 2-9 against Quad 1 opponents. I just think that's a really clear way to get it in. I'm going to preface it by saying these guys have a really, really hard job. When you look at what they do and when they start doing it and the amount of data, it's not easy. And I was right there in the middle of it last year. We were right there on the bubble.

But I just think it's great for college basketball to have some stories like Loyola from last year. What a shame that would have been if we would have won the league in the Valley in a top ten conference and not got in because we stumbled on the last day. That might only mean four bids. It might only mean four bids every year. That could be the four bids, and it's not a judgment call. It's flat out, you won the league in one of these leagues, and you stumbled on the tournament, you should get an at-large bid. I know. I can see like that's going to cause a storm.

Q. Coach Moser, you had three players honored in the classroom. I just wanted to ask you what that means to you and the success of your program.
PORTER MOSER: These guys will tell you, that means a ton to me. I love -- when I recruit them, I say, I'm only going to make you one promise, and that promise is you're going to get your college degree. Every single player has a No. 1 graduation rate. These two to my left have a college degree already. They're both taking their MBA. To have guys on the scholar athlete team, so many of them, our GPA was over 3.0. We had two Cs, no Ds, no Fs the entire fall semester at Loyola, a great -- in the majors these guys are in.

These guys get it. We have this mantra, if you're going to put your name on it, smash it. They've heard me say that a million times. If you're going to put your name on it, whatever phase of life it is -- academics, basketball, whatever it is. I'm just so proud of how these guys have been well rounded off the floor in the academic world.

Q. Following up with Clayton and Cameron, what does it mean for you guys to be recognized?
THE MODERATOR: Cameron, you're first, please.

CAMERON KRUTWIG: It's a great honor. Obviously, you always talk about student-athletes. School comes first. Just when I came here, I knew that Loyola was a really good academic school, being in Chicago, I'm a business major. So just kind of being around here in the hub of the business in the Midwest. So it's a great honor to be on it. It's just great.

CLAYTON CUSTER: Just like he said, it's an honor to be on the list. I know I've always taken great pride in doing well in the classroom and managing my time and making sure I can kind of excel in both. I'm excited about it. I know Krutwig works all the time. We're always up in the study area trying to get our homework done. I think it speaks a lot to who Coach recruits and a lot about the character of the guys on our team as well.

Q. Porter, this is the follow-up for you. Have you thought at all about mid-major MTEs or flex scheduling or any of the other alternative things that people have discussed for getting mid-major bids?
PORTER MOSER: Matt, you're going to hate my answer. No, I haven't thought about it. I haven't. I really haven't. I haven't thought of the alternatives. The alternative, the only option -- like for that question for me is the NCAA Tournament because I don't think they should separate it. I think the NIT is a great tournament, the NCAA is a great tournament. So those are great tournaments, but I don't think you should separate them from mid-major and high major. Is that what you meant?

Q. (No microphone) or the idea of receding latency?
PORTER MOSER: That ends up happening a lot anyways. We'd like to get in there with the high majors because those are opportunities to play. I just think it's a way to be not objective by saying -- looking at some of these things. I just think, if you take whatever conference number you have of the rankings, saying, all right, fine. This is the rank at the end of the year. You finished, you were the top ten conferences or 12. If you won the league and you didn't -- really when you look at it, it could mean the three extra bids that everyone is talking about that could go to a Loyola, a Wofford, something like that. You know, that might happen that could -- a Buffalo. Not this year, they're already in. But just teams that are really good that just might stumble in their tournament, and they had to win their conference.

You go through 18 games in the Valley, it's a grind. It's an absolute grind. To come out winning that league, I just think it says something.

THE MODERATOR: Thank you, gentlemen. Best of luck. Loyola will play at noon on Friday.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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