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March 24, 2007

John Calipari

Chris Douglas-Roberts

Jeremy Hunt


COACH CALIPARI: That was a terrific basketball team we played. We hung around and after I saw what was happening our hope was we could out work them or out-scrap them, and we couldn't.
I hate to tell you, they out-scrapped us. We drove to draw fouls and we just didn't draw many. We were relegated to shooting 3's, which we didn't do half bad, but that's a hard way to stay in the game with a team like that. Oden, when he was in there, dominated us. Blocking shots and having a presence. Thank goodness he was in some foul trouble. But tough way to end the season, but I'm proud of these guys, wow. What a season. I told them after it was a heck of a ride.

Q. Chris, the play where you had the intentional foul on Greg seemed to change the momentum. What happened there and why did you have to grab him like that?
CHRIS DOUGLAS-ROBERTS: I didn't feel it was an intentional foul. I didn't want him to get an easy dunk to get the momentum going. I tried to foul him when he was on the ground. I didn't foul him that hard for it to be intentional. But that's the way it goes. I didn't feel it was an intentional foul.

Q. Chris and Jeremy, you guys were up five and Oden comes back in the game. And I think right before that you had scored three straight times or four straight times attacking the basket. From your point of view, how much did just his presence change your attack?
JEREMY HUNT: It really wasn't his presence. In the beginning of the game we looked up and got him in foul trouble. We were up by five, a couple of loose balls we should have got. We didn't get those and then the intentional foul came. It seemed it went downhill from there. If we would have grabbed the loose balls, who would know what the outcome of the game would be.
CHRIS DOUGLAS-ROBERTS: His presence was a big factor, but like he said, a couple of loose balls and a couple of hustle plays really separated us in that game.
COACH CALIPARI: Let's be that brief with me, too, so I can get on that plane and get back to Memphis.

Q. Do you regret that Joey called Greg out?
COACH CALIPARI: I don't think he called him out. I think what he was saying is I'm going against the best there is and I'm going to see what I'm about. He did. But I don't think he meant to call him out. It's pretty obvious if you watch the game.

Q. You mentioned in your first statement that your team got out-scrapped a little bit. How disappointing is that for you in this kind of game to see that happen?
COACH CALIPARI: It was, but we had a couple of guys that didn't give us what they normally give us, too. Nothing. You get a zero out of some guys, it's hard. Now we're not -- I thought Robert Dozier battled in there. There were a couple of balls that popped out, stuff happens. One between Willie and Oden. There was about three between our big guy and Oden. There was a couple on guard plays where the guard scored it underneath. We're one of those teams that has relied on that. The amazing way we played, we were down three at half and come back to go up six or five. And I thought okay, let's keep it going. Then you have a turn of events with the intentional foul and all of a sudden it turns, and we couldn't get it back.
We started scrambling a little bit later. We couldn't get that aggressive play that we were used to.

Q. Is there anybody else like Greg Oden in the college game now?
COACH CALIPARI: No. He made a couple of shots, just don't say anything. A nine-foot guy couldn't have gotten the one he shot and it went on. Next play. Bring it up. There's nothing you could say.
I had a kid like that, his name was Camby. He would block those shots and all of a sudden if we broke down defensively he was there. We took a team to a Final Four. None of those other guys were NBA. He is. Still is. And when you have a guy like that that can block shots and have a presence and rebound like that. We had to play a perfect game, we couldn't have anyone come up with the game. Still I don't understand -- zeroes across the board.

Q. You said you usually live off of the aggressiveness and scrappiness, and it didn't happen today, why do you think that is?
COACH CALIPARI: You know, they have two pointguards, and I had to look at it and say do we really want to get this game crazy with those two guys. They play two pointguards. So the choice was let's go back and see if we can hang in there and see if the pressure is on them and not us. So I wanted it to be a game that would be a touch-and-go game late. And it did for awhile, until that mark where it turned the other way. But my judgment was if we stretch this out with those two pointguards in there at one time and give up some 3's this could get away from us. I also thought we'd have a little better match-up inside. I thought it would be a little more competitive.

Q. Your thoughts on the intentional foul called.
COACH CALIPARI: I didn't really see the play.

Q. How did it change the game?
COACH CALIPARI: It changed the game. And I really hope it was an intentional foul, because it was a difference maker in the game. Everyone knows if you were watching the game. It changed the whole complexion of the game. It put fire in them and took the wind out of our sails. It may have been a good call, I just didn't see it.

Q. Talk about the lift that Mike Conley, Jr. Gave Ohio State?
COACH CALIPARI: He's really good. What we did early is we were going under the pick and rolls with him but he keeps messing with it. If he went under in the second half, we became a little more aggressive. With the other guys we were going to string it, we weren't going to strap him. So we started strapping those and getting more aggressive. But even then he still plays with it. I went crazy with Willie, because our whole thing was don't try to steal from him, you're not going to get it. We're making a run and he tried to steal it and he shot a lay up on us. I said, Willie, you can't make that play. The ball is on a string, not a great shooter, but he makes every free throw and makes that three. He's my kind of guy. Doesn't matter what it looks like, but at gut check time he's making it. They're a good ball club, folks. They are better than us. I don't care if we pressed, trapped, played a 1-3-1 zone, they're better than us. We had one open and that was out-scrap them, be nasty, beat them to balls, dunk on them, that was our hope. Then it's hard on a one-day turnover. Thad has done a great job with this ball club.

Q. I don't want you to look ahead, here, but there's a chance all four ones could get to Atlanta. What does that say about the seeding?
COACH CALIPARI: What that says is that committee is, basketball AD's, that have a feel for the game. Think about 1, 2, 1, 2, 1, 2 in all the brackets and 1, 3 the only reason Wisconsin lost was because they had a player hurt. They may have missed on a couple of people being in or out, but when they seed this thing they hit it right on the nail. They hit it. My hat's off to them. That's what it means.

Q. You talked about Oden. He only played 24 minutes. Seems like he had an incredible impact on the game. How does your offense differ when he's in there, what do you tell your guys they can and can't do?
COACH CALIPARI: They went a little zone when he was in there. A lot of time when he was in, they said let's keep out of foul trouble. We were trying to get him away from the middle of the lane, which we did early. We got in. We did some things to move him to the baseline and out. But at the end of the day when he's going off the ball against your guy, your guy has to get a couple of them. You have to get a couple of them. And the other thing is when you have opportunities to score and don't go on him, you must do it, because there's not going to be 50 opportunities to do that. The third thing you've got to do is you've got to run. You've got to beat them up and down the court a little bit and we didn't. They were scoring and it became a half court game, which means he's able to stand in the middle of the lane. He's huge. He's huge.

Q. Just speculate a little, can you imagine Conley and Oden were on the same high school team?
COACH CALIPARI: No. Did they win every game?

Q. I hope so.
COACH CALIPARI: I hope so, too. From what I understand they had one of the best coaches in the country, too. Can you imagine that? I wouldn't want to be coaching against that team. You know what else, they're good kids, good young men. They just play ball. It's great to see. It's really great to see.

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