March 25, 2005
ROB CAROLLA: Were are joined now by Duke University. We'll start with an opening statement from the coach and then questions for the student athletes.
COACH KRZYZEWSKI: I thought Michigan State's defense was terrific. Without any traps they were able to pressure the balls and force 22 turnovers against us. In the first half in particular the 12 turnovers were key to the ball game. They just played really hard. They did such a good job. What they also did with their ball pressure, they took away vision. There were times where we had people who were open in the first half and we just didn't see him because of that pressure on the ball. It was kind of like rushing the quarterback where you don't see a receiver.
They did a great job. I thought our kids played with the heart they have played with all year long. We are in a position to win. You know, with just under three minutes when we cut it to three, and then Davis's three point play there was a huge play. We tried to get a time out and could not get a time-out. They scored and we couldn't keep pressure on. They got that three point advantage. They were certainly deserving to win and we congratulate them.
Q. Shelden, can you talk about the last foul. Were you trying to stay out of foul trouble?
SHELDEN WILLIAMS: Of course I was trying to avoid the last foul. I had four fouls prior to that. When he got the ball I thought I felt like I kind of jumped a little bit backwards where I wasn't initiating the contact.
Q. Daniel, can you talk about the pressure they played. It seemed like you had a hard time running the offense in the first half?
DANIEL EWING: They applied good pressure. They picked up full court. They zig-zagged us in the -- they had complications running off. We weren't poised. That goes to myself and my teammates. They caused a lot of turnovers in the first half also.
Q. Shelden, what was Davis doing so well that made him have such a good night underneath there?
SHELDEN WILLIAMS: He was just putting his body in the position where he was catching the ball, the post where we could turn around and do the jump shot. He did a good job of taking the offensive glass and getting the offensive rebounds and putting them back up.
Q. Daniel, Coach Izzo was talking about they had four different defenders playing off of Redick. How difficult was it to find him?
DANIEL EWING: In the first half it was real difficult. They tried to speed us up. When we finally did get a chance to run the offense, J.J. was running his man really well. They had a second defender helping out. He didn't have a free path.
ROB CAROLLA: Student athletes may go back to the locker room.
Questions for the Coach.
Q. You worked hard and earned everything you got this season. Just the way it ended is obviously disappointing, but thinking back on this team, I know it was fun for you?
COACH KRZYZEWSKI: It was great. I told the kids after the game, I said it would be a mistake for us to dwell on this game and the loss. This season has been beautiful and sensational. We showed some heart tonight. Obviously we were not -- we were playing against a team that was playing really well. We put ourselves in a position to win in spite of a lot of different things. That is what they did all year long. They won 27 out of 33. They finished third in the AP in the country. They were ACC champs. That has been a tremendous season. I love my team and -- you either want the season to end in jubilation or crying. Then those emotions will show if you had had a great season. There is a lot of crying in our locker room, not just because we lost but because it is over. I am proud of that. Again I love my team. They are great. It is one of -- it is a unique as season as I have had to coach because of a special group of kids that includes my walk-ons and the infrastructure.
Q. Michigan State shot so poorly from the outside in the first half. Did you give them too many open threes?
COACH KRZYZEWSKI: You know, they are good. So, they have that match-up with Anderson that if you have a big on them and you step in, you can leave them open. You have got to let a guy through. We didn't handle that and that is how he got his first three. You know, they just executed better. But he had three threes. Those were huge for them. One of our things for the year, we have been as good as three point defensive team as there has been in the country. A lot of that is the match-up. He is a -- he played like a senior. Anderson is terrific. I know Davis had a great game. But Anderson is the heart and soul of their basketball team. His play there during the second half was instrumental to their winning.
Q. Could you talk about the play where Shelden had the dunk and the basket was taken away. Were you satisfied with the explanation?
COACH KRZYZEWSKI: They are three great officials in the game. What they said, the reason it came outside was because of basket interference. Shelden did pull the thing down. I just asked him why do you think you did that. You know, but you can't if you don't follow the play through -- what they called and what they saw was the correct call. I have no problem with that. Those guys are veteran officials who are top notch.
Q. When you called that last time-out and brought Daniel to the sidelines, talk about the emotions you felt?
COACH KRZYZEWSKI: Especially because he is in Texas and this is where he ended his high school career, I thought it was a time where it should be Daniel's moment. Michigan State at 14.8 seconds was going to have their moment. But that kid, he leaves college basketball as the winningest player in college basketball. He has 115 games and lost 23. 29 a year. He has been incredible. He deserved to have his moment right there. Even though it wasn't going to be a winning moment with the team.
Q. Was that as good as anyone guarded him all year?
COACH KRZYZEWSKI: People have guarded him well. I thought he was open a number of times. They guarded everybody. When you guard the guys who are making passes, it is like a split second where you have to make the pass. We just weren't able to make those split second decisions in the first half. That is a credit not just to the individual defense but their collective defense. They played a very, very, good defensive game.
Q. Did Daniel take a shot in the face at some point?
COACH KRZYZEWSKI: He takes shots in the face every game. I am sure he did tonight. Not intentionally, but there is lot of activity around all the time. In saying that, if anything happened like that tonight it was not -- those guys played a clean game. We have no problem. They won a great game they should get that credit.
Q. Does he seem worn down to you?
COACH KRZYZEWSKI: No, no. He is not fatigued. I believe he would rather play on Sunday right now. Those three kids, J.J., Shelden and Daniel are in amazing shape. We didn't lose because of fatigue.
Q. Whenever you could cut it down and get close, did that take a lot -- demeanor-wise, is that hard to keep --
COACH KRZYZEWSKI: Sure. That is a credit to them. They have had a lot of successes in their basketball program. They are a veteran basketball team. They basically have the same team back from last year. They make plays. I thought it was a really good game because they have to make plays to trump some of our plays.
Q. Coach K, could you talk about why you went so small at the end of the game. Randolph was on the bench?
COACH KRZYZEWSKI: It got us back in the game. You know, we have to switch everything. It put us in a position to win the game. That was the correct move. I mean, we didn't hit shots then. It wasn't like Davis hurt us then. They were going to hold the ball. They were not going to be posting as much. We wanted our most athletic team in there. That is why we did the thing with Reggie and Lee. We wanted to get fouled so we could stop the clock, get rest, we wanted to do a bunch of things.
Q. A lot of people think that as a No. 1 seed, if you don't make the Final Four then the season isn't a success, what do you think about that?
COACH KRZYZEWSKI: They are wrong, you know. I mean, but people are allowed to think what they want to think. We have had a great, great year. The achievement of a No. 1 seed is an amazing accomplishment. It was one of the biggest I have had in coaching. For our group to finish up ACC champs and get a No. 1 seed, believe me, it is a heck of a thing. One of the things you have to be careful about is letting someone else define your successes and failures. This has been a successful year.
ROB CAROLLA: Coach, thank you for joining us.
End of FastScripts...