April 1, 2000
COACH GUTHRIDGE: We're disappointed to lose this game, obviously, and we want to
congratulate the University of Florida and Billy Donovan and his team. I'm really proud of
our team, and the way they competed. They competed hard, and gave us a good ride these
last few weeks. Ed Cota has had a fantastic career at Carolina, and he's irreplaceable.
There's not another Ed Cota. But Brendan Haywood certainly had a good game. I think the --
I think they just wore us out, and that our guys really competed hard. I was in hopes that
their playing ten players would not be a factor, but I think that it was. That, and our
foul trouble. This was really the first time that we've been in foul trouble this year.
But I -- I'm really proud of our team, and we congratulate Florida.
Q. Question for Ed. You guys were up 68-62, you got your fouls. Do you feel that kind
of swung the game?
ED COTA: I definitely changed the momentum of the game. My team wasn't comfortable
playing with me having four fouls. My approach to the game was definitely different. I
wasn't being aggressive anymore. I was giving guys open shots, I didn't want to pick up my
fifth foul. Florida did a good job of just keeping the pressure on us and they just played
-- overall they played a great game.
Q. Brendan, as good as you were in the first half, did they just sort of bring you out
of where you wanted to be in the second half by forcing the tempo and sort of taking the
post out of the game?
BRENDAN HAYWOOD: We definitely, for a stretch, did play our best basketball. We got
up-and-down with them playing Florida basketball. That kind of took me away, I'm
definitely the one trying to go up-and-down for five minutes in the middle of a game. They
did a good job of double-teaming the post every time I got the ball. My teammates did a
good job of getting me the ball, I had to kick it out because the double team was there. I
had confidence in my teammates to make that shot.
Q. Ed, you've probably gotten pretty used to being pretty tired at the end of the
games, playing a lot of minutes.
ED COTA: I wasn't nowhere near tired like I was against Tulsa or any of the games we
played in the tournament. It's not like I was doing too much in the second half against
the press, I wasn't getting the ball really, I wasn't being aggressive at all. I just
didn't get it done under the circumstances I had with four fouls. I wasn't tired at all. I
know my teammates, fatigue was probably a factor with them. But I felt good out there.
Q. What's it like to play against Florida and look over at the table and see wave after
wave of substitutions, fresh guys always coming at you?
ED COTA: Well, I think it's great, really, if we don't let the press intimidate us and
if we don't turn the ball over because I think it's kind of hard for guys to really get a
good feel for the game if they come in and out. We got off to a bad start. It made it much
easier for the second five to come in, to come in with a lot of confidence because they
had a big lead. We relaxed, played calmer basketball, got back in the game. Started second
half, took momentum away, when I picked up my four fouls, it just changed everything.
Q. This is for Brendan Haywood. Florida's known for playing a pressing style, and
really picking up the pace of the game. But the way they played you in the post, was that
as physical a defense as you've faced this year?
BRENDAN HAYWOOD: Not really. Because all year long, I guess the scouting reports said
that I'm soft, that I can't take the hits of teams that really try to get aggressive with
me no matter who I was playing against. This was the most physical game I've played
against all year. There's teams that have been a lot more physical, but they did a great
job in the post.
Q. Bill, what do you think caused the foul problems for you guys? Were they too quick?
Were you tired, reaching fouls, what do you think?
COACH GUTHRIDGE: Not sure, Dave. I think we were tired, and, you know, we've played
with six players most of this year. And it hadn't affected us. There at the end at the
Tulsa game we were a little tired. But I think that they just threw the waves at us, and I
think that was certainly a factor.
Q. Coach, after Ed picked up his fourth foul with, I think, a little more than 13
minutes left, could you -- did you sort of sense that things were turning against you at
that point? You had to play so long with him --
COACH GUTHRIDGE: I thought we'd be okay. If I didn't think we'd be okay, I would have
made a change. But they did a good job of taking it back. Probably cost us a basket or
two, but I thought that Ed would be able to get the offense going. But, you know, when we
missed some free throws there, and we missed some good looks, and that probably could be a
fatigue. But I think we really have to give Florida credit, and their style of play was
very effective. And their substituting was effective, and they made the key plays.
Q. Coach, in the first half it seemed like you handled the press pretty well. Most of
the turnovers you had came from the front court. Was that disappointing?
COACH GUTHRIDGE: I was disappointed in the way we played. Florida does a great job of
getting you to play the way they want you to play. Although we were breaking the press, we
weren't -- we weren't really getting the type of shots we wanted. It's so tempting to go
in there and watch them take. I've seen them do it to other teams, it's so tempting to
take the quick shots but that's what they want you to take. That 16-0 run certainly,
certainly hurt us and probably we had to expend so much energy to catch up that that could
be a fatigue factor. Because I think this is really the first time this year that I think
we've had a fatigue problem. And then we really -- we got going in the second half, and
probably expended a lot of energy there. And then probably the foul problems and the
fatigue. But, again, that's what Florida wanted, and they certainly did a good job of
Q. Coach, their stat sheet is extraordinarily balanced as we can all see. Are there one
or two players in particular that you think must be controlled if someone is going to beat
COACH GUTHRIDGE: Well, I think Mike Miller is a great player, and Brett certainly made
some key plays for them tonight. He's had a great tournament. I thought we did a good job
on their inside. I think Harvey is probably the best rebounder we played against all year
and I thought we did a pretty good job on him. And Haslem has made some big shots. But it
is hard. They come off, Teddy Dupay can get it going. He didn't necessarily get it going
today, but I think they have a lot of different ways to beat you.
Q. I know you played Michigan State without Cleaves, but can you just offer some kind
of a scouting report on how you think Monday night might go?
COACH GUTHRIDGE: Yeah, I think it's two very good teams, and Michigan State is an
excellent team. They run the offense and they're so sound defensively. And, yes, they
defeated us early in the year and they didn't have Mateen and now they're even better. But
I think they're a very good team, and very well-coached, and I think Florida's a very good
team and very well-coached. So I think it should be a great Championship game.
End of FastScripts...