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March 13, 2008

Bill Carmody

Kevin Coble

Michael Thompson


THE MODERATOR: Coach, we'd ask you for a couple of quick comments to open then we'll take questions for the players then finish up with questions for you.
COACH CARMODY: Well, this game was sort of typical of a lot of our games this year. Probably in the last eight, nine, 10 games, we had leads and couldn't end up with a win for different reasons. And tonight just seemed like it sort of typified the whole season for us.
It's been hard on the team and they came ready to play tonight, playing real well and then just started second half and Minnesota came out and hit the first three shots. And I thought we weathered the storm, actually, after a bit. We were up by five 47-42. And just really couldn't quite get it done.
They made their plays. So tough game in a tough season for all of us.
THE MODERATOR: Questions for Kevin or Michael, please.

Q. Kevin, obviously you and the team had a great first half. You had 13 points. In the second half you didn't get a lot of looks and the team suffered a lot. What was different both for you personally and as a team from the first half to the second?
KEVIN COBLE: In the first half they were running man to man and we were executing our stuff very well. At halftime they made some adjustments and went to a couple of different zones. We didn't adjust as well and sort of went away from what we were trying to do, just didn't run through our stuff.
We wanted them, if they want to go to a zone, we should be able to really capitalize on that. It's been something we struggled throughout the year. It happened at Indiana, got them to switch up defenses and it was a matter of us not making the most of it.
It's frustrating continuing to be the same problem night in, night out. Just to see those glimpses. But it's just going to be -- it's just what can we do to be consistent and play those first halves and make that a whole game.

Q. Kevin, it looked like you're passing up a couple of the shots that you would have taken in the first half after you missed the first couple. Was there a little -- was your confidence shaken after missing the first couple?
KEVIN COBLE: I don't think so. I try to have amnesia almost when you're shooting, think about the next one so much. A lot of times we needed to get through our stuff and make sure that the shots were quality ones like we were getting in the first half. A lot of the shots in the second, they might have seemed good but it was pretty early in the clock. And we needed to keep the game -- like we said before we left to come down here, that we needed to keep the game in the 50s. And in order to do that, we have to be careful with our shot selection.

Q. Michael, there were a couple of consecutive plays in the second half where you had trouble with the Minnesota press. Was there something they changed that made it more difficult for you guys to attack the press?
MICHAEL THOMPSON: They were running and jumping and they were trapping us when we tried to get the ball across half court. Me personally, I felt as I let my team down. I could have did a better job handling the ball. But they were really aggressive on the defense end. They changed up their defense from time to time so we couldn't get adjusted to one defense.

Q. Michael, on that last play, a lot of times this offense will run through you, both of you guys were on the court, but what were you guys trying to accomplish when you were down one and yet you had the ball there and what went wrong?
MICHAEL THOMPSON: We were just trying to get the best shot possible that we could get. We were trying to run our play to get an easy layup. And then we ran it, but our guard, Sterling Williams, tried to attack the basket. And he's good at doing it, unfortunately he just turned the ball over and it got away from us.

Q. Obviously you guys were close to the upset today. How disappointing to either of you how disappointing is this loss the way to end the season?
KEVIN COBLE: You know, I think it just caps -- it's like the icing on the cake, almost, for us. It's just been the same thing over night in and night out. This game at halftime we thought maybe we had broken through it a little bit.
But it's disappointing. It's not how we wanted to end. Certainly not having to dwell on that almost. It's just been every night we can't quite figure out what it is and tonight was the same deal. It's just sickening to think that we gave them the game.

Q. Coach talked a little bit about the 7-0 run right at the beginning of the half. How deflating was that after you go into halftime with the lead?
MICHAEL THOMPSON: I mean, Minnesota, they're up 10-14. We were trying to slow them down. It was our game plan before we came down here. It got away from us at the beginning of the half. They got up tempo and were pushing the ball down the court and got easy shots. That pretty much made us slow things down things a lot more, but at the same time, they went on their run, and then it brought them closer to their lead.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you. We'll finish up with questions with Coach Carmody.

Q. When you look at the box score and you see two offensive rebounds and no second-chance points, what does that tell you in terms of the effort that went forth and how this game was played in terms of the boards?
COACH CARMODY: I don't worry about offensive rebounds that much. We never get them. Doesn't concern me. It was defense rebounds. We did okay. There was a stretch where Coleman was trying to -- his presence was obvious there. But I think the thing that hurt us was they went small, and it was basically Coleman, next biggest guy was Hoffarber. It was like four guards, and Coleman. It bothered us we weren't running offense as well as I thought we could.

Q. What were you looking for on the last play, the one where Sterling was stripped?
COACH CARMODY: We ran a play that we ran a lot. I think Mike was wide open cutting off the back pick and, I don't know, I looked at the tape but I know what I saw. He's wide open for a layup down one. I don't know, Sterling decided to try to drive baseline but that's what happens.

Q. A lot of times you guys have mentioned throughout the year that you go through spells where you don't go score and you go through droughts. Tonight it seemed like it was the last ten minutes or so. What caused this drought tonight?
COACH CARMODY: A lot of guys put the ball in the basket. Mike Thompson kept us in the second half there. I think he had the first eight points that we had and Craig, no one else scored, the whole half. Two guys scoring. So we're getting nothing up front, getting nothing up front and that puts a lot of pressure on your perimeter guys.

Q. Today was only the second time this season that you guys have gone into the second half in the Big Ten with a double-digit lead, the second time was Michigan and you almost lost that game. Do you think you guys have a problem playing with leads?
COACH CARMODY: Two out of 18. I mean, we have problems playing without leads, I guess. So I don't know. I don't think that's -- I think it's a 40-minute game. And I don't want to say everything was, that we didn't do anything. Minnesota has a lot to do with this. They came out more aggressively. The first three baskets in the second half we transitioned we weren't getting down the court. Mike alluded to that. They were pushing the ball there.
So they came out flat and we got a lead and then we came out flat in the second half and then it comes down to the last play, really.

Q. Bill, can any good come out of a loss like this?
COACH CARMODY: The next game isn't for six months or something. So I don't really think you play some guys so they get experience or anything. I don't think so. We've seen this a few times. I think we just have to get, like I said, I think it's been unfair to some of my perimeter guys. There's a lot of pressure on them. We have to have some new blood that's going to be coming in. It gives us some help up front.

Q. Both Mike and Ted were talking about it and Coach Smith talked about it, the difference between the first and second half being that Minnesota switching to a zone defense they were playing a lot of man in the first half that disrupted your offense. That's something we've seen in other games this year. Why wasn't the offense working against the zone tonight and against the zone in other games this season?
COACH CARMODY: I wouldn't say it's all the time, because Minnesota plays the two-three zone in Evanston the first half, first 12 minutes. And we did a really good job against it. And tonight a couple times we had Craig Moore missed a layup on it and Jeremy Nash missed a little reverse in the baseline and those kinds of things, when the team is in a run, whatever it was there, if you get two baskets on layups, it sort of takes them out of that.
And so I don't know if we -- I think we struggled against some zones but we also struggled against man to man. Again when you only win one game you're struggling against a lot of things. But I think it's more we don't have the depth to go for 40 minutes and whatever that might be, whatever the defense might be. Even offensively.

Q. Now that this is the end of the season can you kind of reflect on the season as a whole and what you guys need to do differently next year to build on it and try and improve upon it?
COACH CARMODY: Well, you can only go up, just about. And I do think we have a few guys coming in the front court that are going to help us and help us right away, as freshmen do these days. So that's what we have to look forward to. And I think Mike Thompson tonight was pretty good but then the press bothered him a little bit.
And so in answer to the gentleman's question back there, that's one thing, help Mike a little bit in how you handle those run and jump situations. But I think it's mostly the front court that we really have to improve upon.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you, Coach.

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