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March 7, 2007

John Beilein

Alex Ruoff


JOHN BEILEN: These guys all next to me and the other guys, we've got several kids back in Morgantown that didn't travel with us because they were redshirting or -- they are redshirting or injured. We're all thrilled to be able to come in here on this stage and go out and play the game that we did. We had very few mental lapses in the game, and we were just -- I'm really proud of the way we've performed.
Providence fought, got out on us and then fought back valiantly. We came back and hit a big shot, and from then on gained our confidence. When we shoot like that, we're a tough out.

Q. You said you want to play 212 degrees a lot, that's your motto, do you play a little hotter than that at times? Does that get you in trouble early on?
JOHN BEILEN: You know, I think a couple of times that we rushed -- I see we only had nine turnovers, but we had a couple of them. If we're going to make mistakes, we want to make those mistakes of co-ommission (ph) here. We want to attack. We felt that we attacked by the 3 ball most all the time in Providence, and we didn't attack off the dribble or really run.
So if we were going down tonight, it was going to go down where we were in an attack mentality, not necessarily that we shot ten less threes, but our shot selection was better. But defensively, and they are so quick and they get in the seam so much -- and look at their percentage. They were 10 for 16. The freshmen, he walks into Madison Square Garden here and he makes his first four or five shots, he's an incredible player, Williams. We didn't face him the first time.

Q. You brought up the last time you faced the Friars, tonight you make a tournament record 17 of 31, 54 percent, and then towards the second half you guys started working the ball down a little more. Was it important for you guys to make sure that you could make the threes and rely on that game before you worked on the inside?
JOHN BEILEN: Well, they ended up going man. That was the big difference. They were playing zone the entire time so we had one approach against the zone and one approach if they played man, depending on how they guard us.
We basically just tried to hit the open man. We don't go in and say, hey, we are going to pound it inside or we are going to jack threes. We are going to come into a game and take what they give us and adjust throughout the game.

Q. Can you talk about the job Eric has done distributing the ball to get your offense flowing?
ALEX RUOFF: We cannot say enough about him, he is by far one best point guards in the country. There's things that he does that doesn't come out on papers, defensively and offensively. Like I said before, he's one of the best point guards in the country and I'm honored to play with him.

Q. The inevitable NCAA question, do you feel like --
JOHN BEILEN: No, I think the best idea for everybody in the country is just try and keep winning. The NCAA -- I know the NCAA selection committee just does a terrific job, but we just need to keep winning and not worry about any of that.

Q. There's always talk about moving the 3-point line back. This may not be the best moment but what do you think of that issue?
JOHN BEILEN: You know, I'm one of the few BIG EAST coaches that agree it's fine where it is right now actually.
I just raise, if it ain't broke, don't fix it. We just really, both us and college basketball, look at all of the kids that have gone pro. Look at the changes in the conferences. You know, the March Madness has not cooled off at all.
If it's ever changed some day, who knows. We'll adjust if it changes. We'll adjust. Actually we've played a couple of exhibition games where our kids didn't know the difference. He shoots it from so far out, he doesn't care, anyhow. (Laughter).

Q. You got a lot of valuable minutes from Smith, can you talk about him?
JOHN BEILEN: Yeah, I mentioned on the television broadcast that he was like Frank Young. Two years ago when Frank came in here and lit this place up, I turned to everybody and said, "Who is the coach that has not been playing Frank Young?" And I said the same thing about Wellington today. That was quite a performance for a kid from New Jersey, to come in here off the bench when we are in foul trouble and play the way that he ended up playing.
He's been patient all year and has had a great attitude all year, he was one of the key players tonight.

Q. Coming out of the time-out, can you talk about that as a turning point?
JOHN BEILEN: The big thing is all of a sudden, we got -- we had a few mental lapses. We had several at Providence, and we sort of morphed back to that time where we just became unglued. So we came out of the time-out. I just called the simplest of our plays for us thinking they might pass it and get something and Nichols just knocked down a three and the momentum just changed. I don't know if we got a stop at the other end but next thing you know, now we're getting another one and now we're getting a layup.
He is the leader right now without question on the team but this guy, same thing, waited a couple of years, now he's playing. He doesn't say much. Everybody knows, he's in charge when he has the ball.

Q. Can you just talk about, you guys are going to enjoy this tonight I'm sure but you have to get right back at it tomorrow.
JOHN BEILEN: In 20 hours or so that we are back playing again. When Frank and Darris were freshmen and sophomores, we got it all the way to Saturday night one time. But I thought Thursday night and Thursday was a great day in New York, you know, where all of the teams, you're down to eight teams and I think it's one of the best nights here is the Thursday night game and we are just honored to be playing them and Louisville.

Q. Was that as good as you've played offensively?
JOHN BEILEN: I think so. We've had our moments this year where we were extremely efficient and we've had several moments or several teams, games, that we just, you know, we just got young guys and somebody would throw us off, just one guy, and then you know, we would be out there and shot clock -- in shot clock limbo and trying to figure out what we're doing.
We really did a great job tonight, and I'm sure that Louisville will -- you know, they were able to see everything and do everything and we'll have a great plan for that.

Q. Can you talk specifically what you think you have to do to beat Louisville; obviously they are a team with a lot of offense.
JOHN BEILEN: I can't speak -- we didn't play them this year. I really pride myself on preparing for everybody. We prepared for Providence. My scouts have seen them. My assistant coaches have seen them several times on that and they have been watching them. I'm going to start in a couple of hours is what I'm going to end up doing.
We have played Louisville before. I think they still have some of the guys that we played in the NCAA Tournament. I just think it was a wonderful, wonderful season. Our guys will bounce back but Louisville was obviously a better team than us during the year.

Q. Could you sense any extra effort coming from Frank tonight, a senior in a situation like this?
JOHN BEILEN: Those first few rebounds that he got, where, you know, he's not -- he will dispute this, but he's not our most athletic guy. (Laughter) and he was our most athletic guy on several rebounds early in that game.
As I say, he's been the leader from the day that those -- that we talked out of Atlanta last year after Texas hit that shot, he became the captain, and he's just done a terrific job doing all of those little things we need to do, like hustling.

Q. Two years ago in the NCAA Tournament against Louisville, a great game. In football, West Virginia always play Louisville tough; is that a big-time rivalry?
JOHN BEILEN: I think our fans both travel well. Both sports are very important. You know, you have some schools are basketball schools or football schools. I think Louisville and West Virginia are very similar in that both of them are contending nationally.
It's an honor to be playing against them and especially in the BIG EAST tournament.

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