March 12, 2003
NEW YORK CITY, NEW YORK
COACH BEILEIN: We have played a lot of teams this year. I think we went through a span where we played some of the very top teams in the country without question. I think it was a span where we had 6 losses in 8 games, the average RPI was 15. And Providence is playing well enough right now that I have rank with any of them as far as the way they pass the ball, shoot the ball, the mid-range game, that they are very, very good. As soon as I saw their overall assist turnover numbers, I knew it was going to be a tough one for us if they made any type of 15-foot shots because they are very good at taking care of the basketball. I congratulate them. I also congratulate my guys who eleven months ago were in a bit of disarray and now they are -- we made a major step to get a whole lot better and prepare to be better in the Big East in the future.
Q. What was your game plan today?
COACH BEILEIN: Well, what we wanted to do if we did not get in foul trouble which we worried about a great deal, is to play more man than we played. We're not real deep and we wanted to switch a lot of scenes, do a lot of things, disrupt what they were doing. Once we got in foul trouble then we needed to play an awful lot of zone and make them shoot it from the outside. I thought that was good but the turnovers that they created in where we had -- they did some selective trapping; then the offensive putbacks which we really can't do a whole lot about. We can hustle and we can do everything we want, but we're smaller, not as quick, and not as strong as everybody else. It is very hard for us if the ball stays around the rim a lot.
Q. Talk about goals, he seemed to give you trouble there on the base line?
COACH BEILEIN: I think generally if a kid is a 15-foot jump shot, 16-footers, I don't know what he was tonight. Generally they go 3 or 4 for 6, at least everybody we played all year long; I am talking about you know, the kid from Tennessee, they are going to miss a few of those; he didn't miss. It's very hard. We needed to get out on him a little bit more because he's a very good player, not about his 15-foot game; you just look at those numbers for a power player to pass like that, he's a very, very good player. Mario Austin from Mississippi State who we were able to hold on two occasions when I was at Richmond is very much like that: Very difficult to guard.
Q. Can you kind of sum up your first year in West Virginia and where you see the program is headed?
COACH BEILEIN: I am just so enthused and so pleased with the group I got to work with, Drew obviously being one of them, that in this past year we have gone from a rather chaotic situation to really having a bright future. I think the whole state is excited. I think expectations will probably be too high. We have got five new players coming in, only had two seniors on this team. We put in a lot of minutes and I never think much about wins and losses but for us to get 14 wins, I am very pleased because they stuck together and played an incredible schedule.
Q. Can you talk a little bit more about your offense in the first half. They threw some traps at you that you weren't prepared?
COACH BEILEIN: We were prepared for them. In order to -- that's all we talked about was traps. But in order to do that it's not a matter of X's and O's; sometimes it's got to have experienced players who are strong with the ball, they know how to pivot and fake and do things like that, and we worked endlessly on traps all week, but they are better at it than we are. I couldn't put people in different spots as was -- individual people now reading, so it's a thing that you don't see the 2, 3 zone with that many traps, so our individual players have to improve it at their sight lines next time we play them and they did that.
Q. Talk about where you see the program now and development over this time.
DREW SCHIFINO: I see getting Coach Beilein here coming from last year 1 and 15, no one thought we were supposed to be good this year and then we get the good coach. We got guys, freshmen coming in going to be good next year, got Fisher (ph), transfer who is No. 2 in the country in blocked shots last year, so this program is going up.
Q. First year in the conference. Is it more than you expected?
COACH BEILEIN: What I probably wasn't prepared for was the idea that it was a day in day out that you go from guarding Ontario one day to Mike Sweetney the next day, to a Carmelo Anthony. There was just so many -- big bodies, number one, were very difficult and then the guys that individually, you know, you could guard the heck out of them, they are still going to find ways to score points. So many good passers at the post position, you don't generally find in the mid-majors. You usually can do some things to them to make it hard for them to score or turn it over. We worked hard with Douthit today. He had 5 turnovers, also had 4 assists that were probably lead to dunks. So the talented players, individual talent, is what I, day in day out, the mid-major you play Wake, then you might play a month later, you might play somebody good again, but you don't see it every night.
Q. Talk about seemed like they wanted to hurt you on the base line a lot, the 1-3-1?
COACH BEILEIN: In that and the 2, 3, they did a great job of getting our forward out, making our center do what we call a surge to come out and guard him and he's so quick with that delivery, that we couldn't quite get there. So we're either small at the center or we're a very promising freshman at that center who is not necessarily a shot-blocker so it's difficult to get -- it was difficult for him to get to that mid-range shot today.
Q. Talk about making the tournament this year, what it meant for you?
DREW SCHIFINO: That was our goal this year to get here coming off a 8 and 21 and 15 team no one thought we could do it this year. That was our first goal to get to the BIG EAST tournament. We hopefully wanted to get to the NCAA and NIT. Am proud of the coaching staff and our players that played tough this year. We gave it all we got this year, so proud of my teammates.
Q. Talk about your strategy now for the off-season?
COACH BEILEIN: I am hoping in all my years that that's one of our strengths is the individual improvement of our players, and they have spring break next week and right after that, we're allowed to each work with every player two hours a week and Coach Beilein will be out there on the floor with them two hours a week, and with the whole staff.
We'll have four players and four staff guys out there working at this thing and then weight training, speed training, all those things will be very big. We have a great strength coach who if Drew is going to get stronger -- they made such tremendous strides already then you get worn down in February but that will be a big thing for us the whole improvement area is what we think we do pretty well. We hope we do pretty well.
End of FastScripts...