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March 15, 2019

Gabe Kalscheur

Jordan Murphy

Richard Pitino

United Center - Chicago, Illinois

Minnesota - 75, Purdue - 73

RICHARD PITINO: Well, may have been our best game of the year. We're playing obviously much better basketball. We're getting better. The beauty of this league is you learn something from every team that you play, and your players learn it.

And the physicality of that game, to be able to get stops when we needed to, finish at the basket when we needed to, make some crucial free throws, it was a huge win for our guys.

Really proud of them. I told them in the locker room. I said, You guys might be the least talked about team in the country. And that's fine with our guys. We relish that.

Q. Gabe, you had the task of defending Carson Edwards for most of these three games against Purdue, and he's had a hard time getting going. What has been the key to your success in?
GABE KALSCHEUR: I would just say just giving him really tough shots because it's hard going off those triple screens, so just giving him the hardest task of tough shots is what I'm trying to do.

Q. What is it like to track him around those screens, the way he speeds through them?
GABE KALSCHEUR: Yeah, it's really tough. He's really good with his speed, change of speed, so he'll go quick and slow, so it's really hard navigating that.

Q. Jordan, talk about coming out there and giving it your all and the match-ups with Purdue, you beat them two out of the last three this year.
JORDAN MURPHY: Yeah, obviously they're a really talented team. I mean, they're one of the nation's top teams by far, and that's just credit to them. But we played really good tonight, played hard, made some really good plays and got some really key rebounds down the stretch, and I think that's just some toughness in the last five minutes of the game.

Q. Jordan, after yesterday you guys started so slow. What was the focus early for you guys?
JORDAN MURPHY: I think the main thing was throwing the first punch and being the aggressor, obviously. Last night we let Penn State jump out on us too early, so it was really hard to climb back.

Just making sure we were the aggressor, making sure we made our presence known in this game was really important to us.

Q. Jordan, what does a win like this do for the confidence of the guys moving forward into the tournament and the next couple games?
JORDAN MURPHY: I think it gives us a lot of confidence just knowing that our players can stay composed and withstand runs our opponent makes when we're up. Obviously it gives us a lot of confidence that our best guys can step up and give us valuable minutes and give us some good plays down the stretch and rebounding and just staying tough.

Q. Why are you the least talked about team in America?
RICHARD PITINO: Well, we've lost 12 games. I'm not a big "you're not respecting us" type of guy. That's not my deal.

But we've just been weird. Like we haven't gone on these huge runs of wins. We kind of like have gone on some losing streaks, then snuck back, had a big win. We've got some unassuming guys. Jordan Murphy put up 27 points. He's the most humble kid on the planet, 7 for 7 from the foul line, never ever beats his chest, never makes it about him. There's never any type of celebration. Amir is a quiet kid. I guess that's it. I'm not sure.

Q. What do you think it's going to take to get like a deep run to the Final Four, to get people talking about you guys?
RICHARD PITINO: We've got to go to the Final Four to get people talking about us, huh? Geez. Again, I don't know if this group cares. I really don't think they care. Like our, quote, stars would be Amir and Murph. They don't care. I really don't care. I just care that we win. You know, they're a very, very humble group. They're not a beat-your-chest type of group.

You know, so I think it's just a matter of just winning games. I think we've won four or five, which is important, so we're playing good basketball at the right time.

But our focus is not on attention, it's on getting rest right now and seeing whoever we play next.

Q. The challenge of the emotional high, playing well, and then the physical challenge of three games in three days, touch on that a little bit.
RICHARD PITINO: Well, last night was really physical, too. Both games. That was an old-school game. I thought last night we found a way to win. I don't know if we played great. I thought today was probably our most complete game. So they should feel good about it.

But yeah, we've got to get some rest. We're playing guys a lot of minutes. Matz could be out. He's got concussion-like symptoms. So Jarvis has got to be ready. So we'll evaluate that and go from there.

Q. I want to know if you correct the Boilermaker code but you defeated the Big Ten Champions twice this year. Was it about match-ups? You guys just came in and played hard tonight.
RICHARD PITINO: Yeah, I mean, we could have also lost at the buzzer. I don't look at it like that. I've got a lot of respect for Coach Painter, I've got a lot of respect for the way they do things. They do it the right way. They play hard. You could tell their guys care about the name on the front of the jersey.

So I don't know what it is. I mean, it's like I said, that thing could go either way. Happy we got a win. That was a terrific win for our guys. And you know, any win you get in this league versus the opponents that you play, we respect them all.

Anytime you play a Purdue team, I get better as a coach. Things that I watch, I kind of learn from, I steal a couple things every time I play them.

Q. Coach, you talk about that group that was here two years ago, the core of that group, Amir, obviously Jordan. Who do they bring to this team when you go through adversity and even during the game like you had versus Purdue?
RICHARD PITINO: You know, that's the way you win is in this league you've got to get older. You've got to find a way to stay old. It's very, very hard with transfers and guys going early to the NBA and whatever, but if you can find a way to keep your roster old, you've got a shot, and then those old players got to act like old players.

Jordan and Amir certainly do that. Dupree did that. You're going to win games that way. Dupree, who's not really a great rebounder, had six rebounds. We need him to do that.

Those guys have played in big games. This group has dealt with probably a little more adversity than two years ago. Two years ago we dealt with the doubt of we had won eight games the year before, where now I just think this group doesn't get really fazed by a whole lot.

Q. What have you learned about this team in the past two wins that you didn't know before?
RICHARD PITINO: You know, just a quiet confidence, like I said. They're really not a -- like I said to them before our Penn State game, I said, "I'm sick and tired of turning on the TV and nobody is giving us a shot. Everyone picks us to lose all the time." And I said to Dupree as we were walking out, "Doesn't that bother you? " He said, "I don't really notice it."

I don't think they pay attention to it. So I just think they've got a quiet confidence about them, they've got a quiet toughness about them. Like I said, they're not a beat-your-chest type of team. But they've got a lot of fight and a lot of grit.

Q. Earlier today in talking about how there's a benefit of a bye but maybe more of a benefit playing the night before, do you feel like last night's game gave you a leg up?
RICHARD PITINO: For whatever reason, it's been that way from time to time. No, I would like to be top four and get a double bye and roll into Thursday. But there may be something to it. I don't know. I think it depends on every year.

I like the way our guys are playing. I think they got confidence from last night. They got a lot of confidence from tonight. Beat two really good teams. I think those are two quad 1 wins.

So there's a lot of pride for these guys. I mean, Jordan Murphy was an absolute beast down the stretch. He was terrific.

I believe we're going to make the NCAA Tournament again. I do. You know, it's funny, and this is a true story and this is the way it works, when you're a coach this time of year, you look at bracketologists, and there's Jerry Pom and there's Joe Lunardi are the two that we kind of look at. And when Pom has you a 9 seed you love him, and then when Lunardi has got you as a bye you hate him, and then when it switches you hate Pom and you love Lunardi. So I'm down on Lunardi right now.

But I did look at it on the bus over and I got nervous again. So it just shows you as a coach you shouldn't read any of that stuff, and I think you tweeted it actually, so it's your fault that I was nervous. But it's -- trying to figure it all out is hard. I do know this: They value quad 1 wins, and when you're in this league, you play a Penn State, who's won 14 games, that's a quad 1 win. Obviously Purdue is a terrific team, as well.

We'll plan a nice little party on Sunday, but we're not done yet. Hopefully we can get a win tomorrow, too, and keep this thing moving.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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