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March 12, 2006
THE MODERATOR: We're ready to begin with South Carolina.
We'll begin and ask Coach Odom for some opening remarks on the game, and then we'll go to the players for questions. Coach?
COACH DAVE ODOM: Well, I couldn't say that was a championship-caliber game in terms of being played really, really well, beautiful to watch. I think both teams felt the other -- pressure of the other team. In that, I think both teams can be proud.
I cannot remember the last game that I've been in of this magnitude where a team shot so poorly early on. And, you know, I told the team at halftime, I don't believe in the first half we took a bad shot. I mean, I may backup on that, but -- after I look at the tape, but I think every shot we took was open and advisable.
I think Florida did what every good coach and every good team does. They say, "How about taking the shot we want you to take rather than the one you want to take?" And they kind of lured us into a web, their web, and we took those shots.
Now, had we been taking the shot because we wanted it as opposed to them wanting us to take it because I am confident Coach Donovan would not have stayed in the zone if we started making shots. I'm sure that he told his team, "We're going to play zone early, see if they're making shots. If they are, we'll come out of it quickly." We didn't. They stayed in it. Bad became worse.
The thing that held us in it, our defense. Defensively I thought we played with great purpose, great togetherness, and great intent, commitment. Finally we came out of it, began to work our way back, down 7 at half, cut that margin down. Did we get down 11 at one time? Is that right? Is that what I remember, 11 at one time? Yes? Okay.
At that point, I think the mettle of our team really rose to the top. We started making shots. We started getting defensive stops. We rebounded the ball, got in the open court, made a run at it.
The last possession in which they scored was very typical of the inside points that they got all day long.
I think -- again, I may back up on this, but when I look at the tape, I think we did as well defensively against their inside game, their inside patterns as we could possibly do. I don't think they got many points in the paint out of pattern, out of their patterns.
I think there were second chance points, not necessarily rebounds, but, you know, tipped balls, deflections, things that got to their big men, and they were able to put the ball back in, and that's really what won the game. It was a deflection, it was a missed shot, ball was tipped around, and who was it, Noah, that ended up with the ball and laid it up and laid it in at point blank.
I could have taken a timeout then. I chose to go ahead and play it. You know, you get the ball in as close as we got it, you could get a foul there. We didn't. There was no foul. There was no foul. We could have gotten a foul and maybe gotten to the free throw line. I didn't want to let them set their defense.
What you do there is, you know, you play it out and you give your team, our team, a chance to win it and we did. That's all any coach wants, a chance to win the game in the last minute, a game like this. We had that chance. I have no regrets, none. No regrets.
THE MODERATOR: Okay. We'll take questions for Tre' and Tarence. If you have questions for either ever them, please raise your hand. Let's start right in the front. Go ahead.
Q. Tre', I noticed down the stretch that the coach was trying to give you some instructions on the side line. You sort of waved that off. Could you explain what was happening then in I think it was Coach Duckett.
TRE' KELLEY: I really don't know what you're talking in regards to.
Q. It was during a timeout. He came up and sort of said something and you waved it off.
TRE' KELLEY: I have no idea.
THE MODERATOR: Question over here on the front?
Q. Tre', as many shots that didn't go down today, the last shot you took, how confident did you feel about taking it and then when you let it go?
TRE' KELLEY: I felt a bit confident in that shot. As I think back, I think I should have got it in, took it to the lane and try to find one of my players on the outside or inside.
THE MODERATOR: Question in the back?
Q. Tarence, let's talk about how disappointing it is for you in a game of this magnitude, you shoot 4 for 14 from the field.
TARENCE KINSEY: Everyone is entitled to games like this, but I think you can't worry about just the jump shot. Since my shot wasn't falling, I try to concentrate more on defense and try to correct for the team, rebound, do other things, but any other night my shot will fall. I'm not down on myself for that.
THE MODERATOR: Have a question on the aisle.
Q. Tarence and Tre', you had a lot of open shots early on. Coach mentioned that I think you were 0 for 13 in 3s at one point. How much do you think that was fatigue, or would you attribute any of it to fatigue?
THE MODERATOR: Tarence?
TARENCE KINSEY: I don't think it was fatigue. It wasn't our night from the beginning. The shots was there. We took the shots with confidence. That's all you can ask for is a player to take a shot with confidence.
THE MODERATOR: Same for Tre'.
TRE' KELLEY: Also don't think it's fatigue. Some of them rimmed; some of them were shot. When we really needed them down in the stretch in the second half, some of our guys stepped up and really hit key shots.
THE MODERATOR: Hands up? Other questions for either? Alright. Let's come over to the far side.
Q. When you guys were down 11 and shots weren't falling, how much did having beaten Florida twice this year factor in terms of your confidence in knowing could you come back on them. Both players, please.
THE MODERATOR: Tre', go first.
TRE' KELLEY: We're a fighting team anyway, I think. So it didn't matter who we were playing against. We're down 11, we had to still fight. None of my teammates or myself really thought about the last two games, at least part of today. So we just went out and when we got down 11, we knew that we can do better, make some shots, make some defensive stops and eventually that's what happened.
THE MODERATOR: Tarence.
TARENCE KINSEY: I can't answer no better than what he said. We're a fighting team.
THE MODERATOR: Let's come next to the aisle.
Q. Both players, how disappointed are you to be so close to going to the NCAA Tournament and come up a little short?
THE MODERATOR: Tre'?
TRE' KELLEY: We're disappointed in the loss. I don't think it has anything to do with the NCAA Tournament. We didn't really think about that during no part of the game or no part of this time that we're here for this week.
We're disappointed in the loss. That's really all I can say.
TARENCE KINSEY: I agree again.
THE MODERATOR: Time for one more question for either. Alright. Let's go right to the front. Last question.
Q. Tarence, in the first half, you guys didn't seem to be in rhythm in the first half with the shooting. If you can comment about that and the outcome of the game.
TARENCE KINSEY: Like the Coach said, it seemed like we were taking the shots with confidence, but it seems like we were aiming rather than shooting. Kind of like forcing it, hoping it would go in. Then we probably took our time, some of those shots would have felt like they did in the second half.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you. You can be excused to the locker room. We'll continue on with questions for Coach Odom. If you'll raise your hand and we'll get a microphone to you. Let's start right in the middle on the left side.
Q. Coach, have you ever seen as impressive a display of heart and soul and guts as Renaldo showed during these four days?
THE MODERATOR: Renaldo was sensational with his effort and his commitment to what we were trying to do, but I would be remiss if I didn't say he had a lot of help, you know. The two guys that just left here showed an equal amount. Brandon Wallace was not himself today. He had a bruised back.
I thought he played with a lot of heart, as well and Rocky Trice. They all did. But certainly Renaldo has the propensity for doing the extraordinary. I mean, he really does. He has a knack for it.
He was terrific today. He really was. He was terrific all four days.
You know, I think his teammate -- he's very popular with his teammates, very popular with the fans and media. And most of the time he's very popular with me.
THE MODERATOR: Hands up, other questions. On the aisle.
Q. Coach, at one point you guys were 3 for 24 I think from the field, and all three of them were dunks or layups. I know the guys said they didn't think it was fatigue, but what do you think it was besides --
COACH DAVE ODOM: You know, I really thought -- I can't remember. I think it was Tarence that said it. I really think he was right. I don't think it was fatigue because you're not going to be fatigued in the first ten minutes and not be fatigued in the last five minutes when we actually got the lead.
That's when your fatigue is going to show. And I really don't think that it was fatigue. I think we missed shots, and as I've said so many times this year, you know, without a true inside game, you know, we need to hit outside shots to open up an inside game.
And you got to give the Florida coaches an awful lot of credit. I told the team last night when we were meeting, "They are going to zone us until we prove we can make shots. They're going to do it."
Because they know we can go with a smaller lineup, and they don't want Noah and they don't want Horford and Richard and those guys chasing our smaller guys. They don't want it. They're going to sit in the zone until we prove we can make shots on this particular day. We can make shots, but can we make them today? Didn't make them early. Made them late. That's when your fatigue shows. It was not fatigue. We just missed shots.
As I said earlier, I told the guys "Keep "shooting. I'm one that will pull them dabbing back when I think they're taking bad shots. They didn't take bad shots. They were taking open shots.
THE MODERATOR: Question down front. Go ahead.
Q. Dave, just talk about the four days and what your team accomplished while you were here in Nashville.
COACH DAVE ODOM: Well, you know, four days of basketball in March is where you want to be if you're a college basketball coach and a college basketball and college basketball fan. That's where you want to be.
You know, to be able to focus one assignment, bonus game, one day at a time, is really the trick of the trade. If you try -- if you start on Monday or Tuesday of the tournament week and you try to take the whole tournament on in one lump, it's too much, it's too weighty. You can't do it.
What you have to do when you're in a situation, I believe, when you're in the situation we were in, you've got to make every game somewhat championship-like. But it can only be one game.
As much as you possibly can, you close that out. Now, in doing that, you are testing your team; you're teaching your team. You're asking them to do certain things that ordinary people can't do. Extraordinary people can do those things. Only extraordinary people.
That's what you ask in situations like that, and I think without exception, our team accomplished that. They did an extraordinary thing in advancing to the finals four consecutive days against four different but yet exceptionally good basketball teams. All four different. And they answered the bell everyday. Fell two points short of the championship.
But, they measured up in every other way. Respect for the Championship, respect for their opponents, respect for each other, respect for the game. And one of the things I tell my team, "You can never cheat the game; the game always wins." Our kids stood up. They respected it.
THE MODERATOR: Hands up. Right to the front.
Q. Dave, can you talk about the last sequence there when you guys played great defense against Brewer and they just get the put back and then obviously down the other end?
COACH DAVE ODOM: Well, you know, that was the game in a capsule right there.
I thought -- you know, I'm not criticizing. I thought Florida ball handlers were a little nervous down the stretch, and we wanted to put a little more handling pressure on them. I wanted the ball -- I wasn't afraid that they would go by us or anything like that. I thought the pressure was on them. They had the lead, and psychologically maybe they were feeling more heat down the stretch than they would normally feel and the worst that could happen is that the ball would be tossed to a non-ball handler and ask him to make a play, a Horford or a Noah, those kind of guys. Then things can happen for you. You can get a charge, throw the ball out of bounds. All kinds of things that can happen.
So, you know, I thought with Wednesday we defensively did everything we possibly could do in the last two, three segments. Our -- or possessions.
Unfortunately, Noah's size and arm length and sense for the game -- he's got a great sense for the game won out. He was there when the ball was deflected or missed. I think it was a shot, it was missed, and he was right there to put it back.
And we weren't. We were chasing the ball or whatever we were doing, but we weren't where we needed to be. And, you know, of course, the last offensive possession -- again, I thought they were back on their heels a little bit, and I wanted -- I would have liked to have had a little more aggression off the dribble, possibly get fouled, maybe drive in, draw the defense, throw it out, shoot the 3, win the game, that kind thing.
THE MODERATOR: We got time for one more. Take it right here in the front.
Q. Coach, with you praising your defense, you say that the game came down to them making more crucial basket. Can you talk about the last basket.
COACH DAVE ODOM: I think it's that. Remember now, in the last -- I think last three minutes we missed three free throws, our two best free throwers. No, we missed two, excuse me. Tarence missed one and Tre' -- no, Tre' missed two. We did miss three in the last three minutes, four minutes. I can't give you an exact time. You'll have to look that up.
I know Tre's was deep. I know that. I think Tarence, he got fouled on that 3, and he missed the front end of that, made his 2 and Tre' missed the 2.
So, you know, while field goals are big, you know, it was win time at that moment and you got to cash in on those. So let's not -- again, I'm not trying to put the burden on those guys. What happened happened, but, I mean, it wasn't all field goals made or field goals missed. We did have that opportunity, as well.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you.
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