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March 9, 2005

John Beilein

Kevin Pittsnogle

Tyrone Sally


THE MODERATOR: We'll ask Coach Beilein to make an opening statement. Then we'll have questions.

COACH BEILEIN: I haven't looked at the stats, but I'm very proud of our kids right now because of the fact that it is so difficult to beat a team, the three times, especially when you look at the way we did beat them the first two times, four seconds to go in the first game, two-point game, we got to make two to win it and we do. Next time, Parmer's got -- a bad coaching decision, left Parmer wide open for a three, went in and out, we win again. So we're just very pleased with these kids still. Were mentally tough enough to know that they were good enough to win but they're going to have to really prove it one more time, and they did.

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Providence came out and trapped you, trapped the wing aggressively. How did you combat that?

COACH BEILEIN: Well, it's something that we've been working on since the first time that we played them. That's the -- how incredible it is. I don't know what other leagues are like, but you face a different defense every night, a different type of defense. And we were fortunate enough to have two days to prepare for it. Tim does a great job with it. They're so long, it's very difficult to beat over the top. So we were able to pass the ball out of the traps, and try to create scoring opportunities out of that. But I think our defense was a key, too. It allowed us to get some baskets early.

Q. Could you tell us what concerns you had about getting your team here when you were having your trials. Talk about the mental toughness they had to overcome.

COACH BEILEIN: You know, as we had more and more adversity on the way here, I actually gained confidence knowing that, you know, whenever this has happened to my teams before, whether I was a junior college coach or last year against St. John's, we performed very well. I don't know what the reason. Maybe we had less meetings so I didn't coach as much and we were a better team. The kids, I noticed when we were sitting in New Jersey, it took us two hours to go two miles yesterday after - this was after, what, we had taken what would have been a one-hour flight, a six-hour flight - the kids were laughing, having fun in the back of the bus. I thought that was a great bonding time for them actually for them.

Q. Could you take us through the day?

COACH BEILEIN: It was my smart idea to save the charter and use it for the BIG EAST so we could be fresh, and it would be fine. So once we got to the airport, there was a three-hour delay because La Guardia and JFK had just closed down. So we waited three hours. When we took off, the plane began to circle. It had not been de-iced. It had problems with its automatic de-icer where we could not go through any airport where there were clouds, otherwise we couldn't land. Now he had fuel to go to Florida. He didn't tell me this at the time. But we ended up -- Scranton opened up. That's where we were going to try to go and bus in anyhow and we landed. We bussed and everything was going well. We hit around Clifton, New Jersey, a HAZMAT spill, it took us two hours to go two miles. We arrived at midnight.

Q. Part of the dialogue has been about West Virginia needing another win to solidify its place. I was wondering, were you of the same thinking, and how do you feel now about it?

COACH BEILEIN: Well, I feel better about it right now, that's for sure. You know, those guys on that committee, I've sat through, you know, different representatives, show me what they do, and it's incredible how thorough they are. There's a lot of teams that are going to be deserving out there. I think we made a major statement that we're one of those teams right now that needs to be right up front. And so there's still work left to do, you know. We love New York, we'd like to stay around and win the BIG EAST Championship. At the same time, I think it would enhance our chances, but you still have all those other leagues to finish. You need some more Old Dominions to win, some other people to make sure there's enough room for all the deserving teams - and we're one of them.

Q. You talked about preparation for Providence. You don't have a lot of time to prepare for the Eagles. Your thoughts?

COACH BEILEIN: It's a difficult prep. There were times, we spent about 15 minutes the week before Seton Hall, with the anticipation that -- who knew, whether it was Boston College and one other team that we had to do, 15 and 15, if we saw them. We looked at possible second rounds. We did do some things. Hopefully it will be helpful. But it seems like it was years ago now. So now we'll be in that lobby of the hotel, because it's a noon game, we'll be in the lobby of the hotel stepping through it again tonight, and 8 o'clock tomorrow morning, see if we can find any answers.

Q. For the players, what was your reaction to everything you guys went through just to get here?

TYRONE SALLY: It reminded us a lot of overseas trips, when we take long bus trips going place to place. It seemed like Coach said. Coach was right, it brought everybody back closer, everybody was just having fun, seem like time flying as we were on the bus.

KEVIN PITTSNOGLE: We were on the back of the bus, playing cards, having fun, laughing, making fun of people. It was just lot of fun, lot of jokes. So it went by pretty fast.

Q. Can you talk about the challenge of playing Boston College.

TYRONE SALLY: They are one of the top teams in the country. No bigger challenge than that. They already beat us twice. We already got a chip on our shoulder from that. Basically we just gonna go in there, play like we want to win the game. Basically that's our mentality.

KEVIN PITTSNOGLE: Yeah, it's hard to beat a team three times. For us especially today it was hard. Hard for them to beat us three times in a year. But they're a really good team. They're top in the country. It's gonna be interesting. We'll come out and play well.

Q. Kevin, you got in a early flow. What did that feel like?

KEVIN PITTSNOGLE: I just felt good coming out. Hit a couple shots. When I hit early, I start getting a good rhythm and that lasts you throughout the game. So I was happy about that.

Q. Did you have more room to shoot than you expected or have in the past?

KEVIN PITTSNOGLE: I mean, I had some open looks. I mean, I always look for open looks so I can get my shot off. When I'm hitting, I mean, I only need a little bit of space to get my shot off to make it.

Q. You read a lot that this team doesn't have talent to do what they've done. Can you talk about that.

COACH BEILEIN: Talent is a very relative term now. What is talent? Athleticism? Is talent your brain? Is it how long you are? You know, I think that we've -- not one of the guys that say our team has overachieved or underachieved. God's blessed many of these guys, and they do their best every time out there. We got some guys that can shoot the ball and guys that play -- I think one of the talents this team has is their togetherness and their teamwork.

Q. You were in the first two Boston College games ahead in the first half. What happened in the second half?

COACH BEILEIN: Craig Smith got to the foul-line a great deal at their place. He's just so tough for us to defend. You know, he's like Ryan Gomes again, and then all these veteran players around him. I would think Doornekamp just does a great job. Then obviously Dudley has just become a star. So we couldn't defend all the different things that they did, and then all of a sudden we just went -- we went very cold in both halves. We turned it over very uncharacteristically against them as well, and let them get run-outs.

Q. Did they do anything differently against you to defend the three than any other team?

COACH BEILEIN: Yeah, they play some different defenses. They match up zone, they play man, they change on you a little bit. But what they are is, they're a little bit like Providence. They're long and tough to see around. But stopping them is every bit a problem as scoring on them.

Q. Who do you credit -- Gomes had two points in the first 18 minutes.

COACH BEILEIN: We played so much zone, I think the fact that we were able to score on offense allowed us to set our defense. But Johannes and Tyrone spent most of the time man. We just tried to deny him the ball. Make somebody else beat us, as well as McGrath. We wanted somebody else on the Providence team to score. Even if it meant giving them a layup, to make sure that Gomes and McGrath didn't beat us from their inside-outside combination. But I would say the one-three-one helped a little bit, but Joe and Tyrone, Mike, Pat, all the guys that switched on him did a good job.

Q. With everything it took to get here, how nice was that start, you didn't miss a beat?

COACH BEILEIN: I didn't know what to expect today, I really did not. For coaches, it's funny. Your premonitions usually aren't very good. I didn't feel good all day today. I just didn't feel like that -- I thought we were very, very fortuitous in both our wins. McGrath got hurt in the first one. In the second one, like I said, they had an in-out-out basket that could have beat us. I said it doesn't go this way. I've been coaching too long. You don't get lucky twice and win the third time. It was really nice to see that start.

Q. For Tyrone and Kevin, looked like a lot of tournaments, a lot was let go. It was a physical game. Did you adjust anything?

TYRONE SALLY: Basically we just came out with a lot of energy. We started picking it up on defense. We started get deflections and steals. Seems like the referee was letting us play. Just tried to keep on them, not back down, get as much points as we could.

KEVIN PITTSNOGLE: Pretty much the same thing. We just got deflections, a lot of run-outs towards the end of the first half and second half.

Q. You just said you already had a chip on your shoulder coming into this, Tyrone. What did that stem from? How does that motivate you guys? Can you elaborate on that?

TYRONE SALLY: Basically, we just -- I wouldn't say like a chip, just basically going, we going to approach this game like any other game, just like we came here for Providence. Try to prepare for them. Try to just find a way to come out and win.

Q. You think you have an NCAA tournament berth now? Was this a game you thought would get you over the hump?

TYRONE SALLY: I don't know. We try not to worry about that. We just try to stay focused on the task at hand, and that's right now, BC.

Q. Coach, can you tell us about the challenge that you and your staff will face, having played this game, and then the typical tournament practice, prepare, all of the different things that you and your staff and your players have got to do and then come back and play in less than 24 hours?

COACH BEILEIN: This is the one time I think I wish I was a Division I or Division II team, where you did this all the time, you played a Friday night game, a Saturday and bussed home. We haven't done that yet. Boston College has not as well. They were preparing for both teams. At least we had three days to prepare for just Providence. They had, you know, the same time frame, they're just going to be a little bit more rested. But, you know, we pride our basketball IQ, we talk about it all the time. Hopefully we'll be able to bring some of that basketball IQ into the scouting report and they'll understand what they have to do.

End of FastScripts...

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