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March 10, 2006

Joe Crawford

Bobby Perry

Tubby Smith


THE MODERATOR: Okay. We're ready to continue on with Kentucky. We'll ask Coach Smith some opening comments on the game. Then we'll take your questions for the two student athletes. Go ahead.

COACH TUBBY SMITH: Well, we're certainly elated to get this win. We beat a very good team, a very solid team, and the job Alabama -- the job that Coach Gottfried has done has been outstanding this year. So we knew we'd have our work cut out for us, but a lot of crediting to our kids, the way they hung in there and never gave up. Because there were times in the first half we didn't shoot well, in the second half, but it's a good win all the way around. An excellent defensive performance.

THE MODERATOR: Let's take questions for Joe or Bobby. If you have questions for either, please raise your hand and we'll get a microphone to you. Hands up.

Q. Joe and Bobby, a lot of guys walked off the court and said very few teams besides Kentucky could have won that game today, the way you struggled at times. Was it a mind over matter thing in y'all's estimation.

THE MODERATOR: Joe, you go first.

JOE CRAWFORD: Yeah, I think we got down a couple times in the game and fought our way back, you know. That's the fight we're going to need going into the tournament.


BOBBY PERRY: I thought in the first half, you know, we had experience of games in the past where we hadn't been making shots and stuff, and, you know, when you're not making shots you got keep your head up, and at halftime we just talked about, you know, continuing the defensive intensity because I thought we did a pretty good job of holding them.
I'm not sure how many points they had in the first half, but it was pretty low. Got to keep up the intensity and down the stretch, you know, we started making shots, and that's what happens when just you stay at it.

THE MODERATOR: Next question, go ahead.

Q. For the players, can you just talk about the phenomenon of shooting and in particular Patrick got real hot from real deep at a pretty good time in the game.

THE MODERATOR: Bobby, go first on that one.

BOBBY PERRY: That's what hard work comes in, you know. Patrick, he's an excellent shooter, and we all know that.
You know, when you're a good shooter like that you always have the confidence. You believe you can make every shot you put up. And it just comes from putting up shots and, you know, his teammates believing in him. We knew he could knock them down. The coach believes in him. It's a team effort.


JOE CRAWFORD: I think, you know, we started knocking down shots because, you know, our defensive intensity got open shots. When one person is hitting, it's contagious.

THE MODERATOR: Hands up. Other questions for either? Anymore? Okay.

Fellas, we'll excuse you back to the locker room. Thank you. And we'll continue on with questions for coach. Raise your hand if you have one. Alright. Start right back in the middle there. John.
Q. Tubby, I don't think Alabama scored like the last four, five minutes. What did you want to do defensively over that span? What do you feel like worked for you there?
COACH TUBBY SMITH: Well, I thought we were -- the game plan was try to wear them down, fatigue them. They made some big time 3s, we went zone, but during that span, I thought, you know, the pressure that we were placing on them, it's sort of cumulative. Not something that happens during the stretch. You're not jumping as high, the shots are shorter.
I thought Randolph, his inside presence on -- at the defensive end blocking some shots really and Bobby also, very active around the basket, and we just seemed to have a lot more -- our legs and our energy level, you see it pick up at that time, and I thought that was the difference.
When you said again you're jumping higher, you're contesting shots. I thought getting rest with our guys -- you look at it. We had two guys play over 30 minutes, Patrick and Joe, but they were both playing, especially Joe has been playing well the last two games.

THE MODERATOR: Okay. Go ahead right here, John.

Q. Coach, South Carolina lost to Tennessee twice during the regular season, came back and won today. You guys beat South Carolina twice as well. What do you think about the South Carolina game?
COACH TUBBY SMITH: Well, first we were very lucky to get the win in Lexington. I think Rajon had hit a shot to win it there, and they've been a team that's pretty tough to match up with because they've got some quickness in their front court in Balkman and Kinsey who are very athletic, and Tre' Kelley can do some things that -- you know, Coach Odom is an outstanding coach. He's going to have his teams ready to play.
We've been -- yes, we got the win down in Columbia and in Lexington, but we know it's a whole -- they're coming off two big wins and their confidence level, I'm sure, is sky high and they probably feel like we owe Kentucky because we probably -- they feel like we probably stole one at our place. So it should be a very good game.

THE MODERATOR: Hands up. Other questions? Any others? Okay. Let's go to the back.

Q. Tubby, when Patrick gets it going offensively with his outside shot, he can be one of the most deadly shooters in the nation and in this league as well. When he knocked down a couple shots coming down the stretch there, were you really trying to make a concerted effort for the guys to look for him and get him the ball?
COACH TUBBY SMITH: Like Bobby said, we have a lot of confidence in him. When Patrick is making shots, he's very -- I thought he took a couple questionable ones. After he made the first two, he should have been a little more patient. Again, that's the confidence we have in him that he's a veteran player, he's a senior. He knows when he's feeling it.
I thought we had some opportunities to go in and get a rebound. That's what -- when you're shooting the ball, that's where we're having the most difficulty, we're not -- because you know he's shooting the ball well. He's probably going to pull the trigger so get to the offensive boards and try to get a second and third shot.
You know, we talked to Patrick about just bending his knees, and in the first half I don't know how many shots he made, whether he made a shot or not, but he was struggling the first half. He's the guy that you got to stick with him because eventually he can pull you out of it.

THE MODERATOR: Question on the aisle right here.

Q. Coach, can you talk about the lift that Shagari gave you off the bench in the first half?
COACH TUBBY SMITH: That was a big lift for us. I thought he had about three, four blocks. He only had two, but he really changed some shots, and he was running harder, and he knew that we needed him at that time because both Randolph was in some foul trouble and Wilcox was struggling to catch the ball. We didn't have the same -- I was going to put him in earlier in the half, but at that point in time, to score five points, to run a play for him to end the half and him to convert and finish, we'll give him -- I think that will boost his ego and his confidence as we move forward here. We just need to find more time for him in the game.
Those are huge plays. Big momentum swing into halftime to at that time lead, especially after shooting only 27 percent in the first half.

THE MODERATOR: Any other questions? Raise your hand. Let's go to the middle there. We've got one.

Q. Tubby, can you talk about Bobby's game when he hit the stretch there where he scored 5, 7 straight points for him, just his overall game?
COACH TUBBY SMITH: Bobby, he's a hard matchup. He's got quickness. He's kind of in between player at 6-7. He's not that strong. He's not that fast. He's not that athletic. He's a hard worker. He's a guy that you can count on, giving you the same effort every time he goes on the court and today -- when makes shots like -- or makes a shot and is active around the board, the way he was in the first half and I think he was the leading rebounder at the half and second leading rebounder for the game. So he did a good job there.
You're talking about Bobby, right?
Q. (Inaudible.)
COACH TUBBY SMITH: I thought he did a great job on him. Again, his quickness is what we were trying to do in trying to keep -- we knew they would try to a track Randolph. So we thought, you know, we would be better suited with Bobby on -- he did a good job on him, on Jermareo.

THE MODERATOR: Did you have another question?

Q. Tubby, you've been through this tournament a number of times, and most of the times with Kentucky you were expected to win it. This year, the pick has always been Florida, Tennessee, LSU. The 25 media people, nobody picked you to win. How as that been different for you and this team?
COACH TUBBY SMITH: I don't listen. I don't read the paper. I don't pay much attention to nothing. I've got too much to worry about trying to get my team ready. They deserve to be because they won their divisions and -- that he played extremely well and they should be picked to win it. It doesn't affect us.
I don't know. Probably give us a -- probably gives our players some incentive to work a little bit harder. We're not going to work any -- we're picked to win it or not, we're not going to work any less. Work the same -- work as hard as we can to try to play well and perform well, and that's when it gets to a tournament, you better take it one game and one day at a time, and it doesn't matter where you're ranked.
We feel like we're talented enough to play with anyone in the league or in the country.

THE MODERATOR: Got time for maybe one more, anybody? Okay. Thank you.


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