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March 19, 2008
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. This is for Scott. Tell me about Jeremiah and what's made him so successful this year?
SCOTT MORRISON: I'd say defensively he gets people in full court and makes it a lot easier for us in transition defensively to get back and stop teams early, so he starts on the defensive end. And offensively he's a great passer, can see the floor and can score in buckets.
Q. When you guys look at how this is all unfolded and getting there, what's the last week been like? Has there been a moment that was really crazy or something, someone called you haven't heard from in a while?
SCOTT MORRISON: First thing for me was it was nice. I walked in the class, sitting in the back, take notes. Put my hoodie on and stay quiet. I walked into class and got a standing ovation from a class. I don't think they knew who I was. That was great for Portland State, not very athletic oriented.
Q. What class?
SCOTT MORRISON: Public health teaching class.
Q. How do you compensate for your size and do you feel intimidated out there?
JEREMIAH DOMINGUEZ: Just really trying to do little things, just I had to play defense from pick up full court. Had to do everything a little extra hard. Just really -- I don't feel intimidated at all. I've been playing against guys all my life that have been bigger. I just have to play real hard and do the things I know.
Q. This could be for any of the players. What do you think, you guys are -- it's the day before you're supposed to play Kansas tomorrow. This could be the biggest day for Portland State athletics, what's your thoughts on that?
DEONTE HUFF: Personally, I think we have a pretty good chance. We've been practicing hard all week. We've been working hard all year. And we put ourselves into position. So we're not just coming here just to lose. So, I mean, we're pretty confident going into the game. Kansas is a great team.
But I feel like we're a great team also. So, I mean, I feel like if we play a great game and give it all we got, we should be in good position.
Q. Scott, what concerns you most about Kansas, and, Jeremiah, what do you think of their guards? How do they compare with other ones you play?
JEREMIAH DOMINGUEZ: The guard plays -- they have three guards that are interchangeable. They're going to keep coming at me. And I think that going to have to keep -- they're going to keep hitting me. I think if we take care of the ball, we should be fine.
SCOTT MORRISON: I'd say overall, from a big standpoint, they got four bigs, about six-eight to six-eleven that get in, there like to bang, they can rotate any four of them at the four or five position, and that's going to be difficult, just with their strength and athleticism.
THE MODERATOR: Gentlemen, thank you for your attendance. Best of luck.
We have the head coach of Portland State, Ken Bone. We'll ask you to give an opening statement on your team being here in Omaha and then we'll go to questions.
COACH BONE: Well, right now it's exciting for us to be here. And it's exciting I think for the kids to be in the locker room back there with all the media, also.
They're getting attention that they've never received before. And being in the Big Sky and being in Portland State, we've not had the success we've hoped to have over the years. And now here we are being a part of the NCAA tournament and our kids are getting a lot of attention, especially back home.
That's really exciting to see, because they've worked hard for a couple of years and now finally it's paid off to where they're having a good time with this. And I hope they enjoy it, because tomorrow morning might not be quite as fun. (Smiling).
THE MODERATOR: Questions.
Kansas, talk about them.
COACH BONE: Well, they're a great team. I had an opportunity to coach at University of Washington a few years ago before coming to Portland State, and after watching four or five videos, they remind me a lot of the team we had at Washington where Brandon Roy was a junior, Bobbie Jones was a junior, Nate Robinson was actually a junior that year. And we were very quick, explosive, strong, athletic, we just got after it.
And watching Kansas, they're very, very similar to what we have at University of Washington. And that was a scary team. And it's no wonder that at that time we were a No. 1 seed and it doesn't surprise me at all that Kansas is the No. 1 seed.
So we have our hands full playing a team the caliber of Kansas. They can hurt you in a lot of ways. We know what a great offensive team they are. They can score in the half court. But maybe more impressive is how they push the ball in transition. And they're an outstanding transition ball club.
On the defensive end, they get after it defensively, great quickness, aggressiveness, especially on the perimeter, it looks like. And then, boy, the rebounding is nothing like we see in the Big Sky. Let's just put it that way.
Q. Do you try to give your team any degree of hope? Obviously Kansas couple of years ago they had a couple of slip-ups in the early round with Bucknell and Bradley. Do you try to tell your guys, look, it's not a totally impossible feat that we can pull off here?
COACH BONE: Well, we tried to build them up as much as possible. They've played with a lot of confidence the last couple of months. But this is a whole different deal.
And they understand that. So it's kind of difficult to trick them into believing that, look, guys, you really are better than Kansas.
What we have tried to talk about is, fortunately, it's not a seven-game series or a five-game series; it's 40 minutes. 40 minutes of basketball, and anything can happen in 40 minutes.
And there have been bigger upsets over the years, maybe not in the NCAA tournament, but there have been bigger upsets over the years than Portland State beating Kansas in basketball.
So we are trying to instill as much confidence as we can in the kids, hoping that they'll come out and play loose and not nervous or tight. And Kansas is, like I've mentioned, a great ball club, but they'll turn it over a couple of times. They will miss some shots. We just need to be able to capitalize on any mistakes they possibly may make.
Q. The fact that Kansas has played Eastern Washington and Northern Arizona, does that give you a little better feel for their personnel?
COACH BONE: (Chuckling.) It does, because we saw what they did to those teams, so it gives us a great feel of what they can do against a Big Sky program. Northern Arizona is the team we beat for the conference championship, and in our conference they're a very good club.
So knowing what Kansas can do, once again, we have to play a phenomenal game just to be with them. Our hope's also to be with them for 30.minutes. I mentioned 40, but if we can get to 30 minutes, then I think we're in good shape. I think if we can be within four, five, six points with ten minutes to go on the clock in a game like this, then I think we would we would finish well in that situation, and who knows how Kansas would finish.
I mentioned I was at Washington. We recruited Rodrick and his brother Lodrick Stewart. And here's Rodrick as a senior, was a phenomenal player in high school. Here he's coming off a bench for a team like Kansas. Puts it in perspective of how good they are.
Q. How do you think Jeremiah will be holding up, obviously his size going against Kansas, their guards, is that a critical matchup to you, how he can with his size hold up against their guards?
COACH BONE: It is a critical matchup, because Jeremiah is our best player, and he has the ball in his hands a lot. So what he does is kind of what we do as an offensive unit.
And being five-six and that's it, five-six. I'd like to exaggerate and say five-eight or -nine, but he's five-six. Knowing that Mario Chalmers is six-one and Jackson is six-one, that's like a six-six kid playing against a seven-one kid. It makes it difficult.
So he has had some success playing against taller kids. But, again, those kids were not in the Big 12. And Kansas' guards are not only taller, longer, athletic, they're polished. They know how to play.
So Jeremiah will have his hands full. But one thing he will do is he will leave it on the court. He's a tough kid. He's a real competitive young man. And he will come out and battle as hard as he can for as long as he's on the floor.
And it's refreshing or gives me confidence knowing that we have a guard like that, that no matter what happens he will not get rattled. He will play through it and be as good a guard as we can put on the floor for tomorrow.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you, Coach.
End of FastScripts