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March 20, 2008

Gerald Henderson

Mike Krzyzewski

Greg Paulus


COACH KRZYZEWSKI: Well, we played against a team that played an amazing game. They're very good. I mean, they're just -- we were ready to play. You won't hear any of our players say that we overlooked them, there's no way.
Watching them on tape they looked really good. Watching them in person they're even better. They played with great verve and they're just real difficult to defend. And I thought they played really good defense against us.
In saying that, like the last nine minutes of the game, I thought our team had incredible game pressure on it. One, it's the NCAA's. Two, you're supposedly supposed to win. But even more importantly, they're really playing well. And you have to figure out how to win.
I thought our kids were calm, the bench was calm and we reassured one another down the stretch. Down the stretch we were going primarily to G, to have him initiate stuff for us, whether it would be with the shot or his penetration, that's how Jon got his three when we went up by five. And when G missed that shot with just over a minute to go, that was in and out, it was a great move, and there was a timeout. Everyone on the team and on the bench just told him, Great shot, take it again.
I just told the kids that we need one stop and then I'm not calling a timeout. You push it and you make it happen, attack the rim. And that was our way of trying to show confidence in these guys.
And G made one of our great plays for us this year in going full court like that. That was just a great move. And then we didn't make any mistakes down the stretch in the last 12 seconds to put them on the line.
So, it's an unpredictable tournament. I've coached in 89 of these games now and I told the guys as far as game pressure goes, this has to rank in the top three or four. And hopefully the people at Belmont take that as a real compliment, because they should be complimented. I've probably talked too long, but any questions.

Q. Can you describe what you saw on the last drive and when you knew they were not going to be able to get over in time to take a charge.
GERALD HENDERSON: Coach said if we get the ball push from the court to get them off balance. Right when I got to the 3-point line I saw there was a lane and I just went up and just finished it. I knew we needed a two, so just take it to the basket strong.

Q. What were they doing offensively, especially in the second half when they were going to the basket so much, that was so difficult to defend?
GREG PAULUS: Well, with the way they shoot the ball, in the first half they did a great job, not only making 3's, but getting some easy baskets off the back door cuts. When you've got shooters like that one through five, they've got some guys that can put the ball on the floor.

Q. You guys were up by ten early in the second half, they go up by one, and they take the lead, and then you're up five and most of America presumes the game is over. What did they do to keep hanging in there that surprised you all that they kept hanging in there?
GREG PAULUS: They did a great job of keeping playing, keep fighting. We tried to extend the lead a couple of times. But they deserve credit for either making the big play with the three or getting to the foul line.
We definitely tried to extend it. But a lot of credit goes to them with the way they kept fighting and making plays.

Q. What does a game like this and winning it do for you as you advance into the tournament, confidence-wise and any other way?
GREG PAULUS: Anytime you can win in this tournament it's a good thing. They're a great team and hopefully we can go back, watch the film and learn from it and get ready for the next one. But nothing is a given in this tournament.
Just getting a win and advancing, it's a good thing. It builds confidence. We gained some more experience.
GERALD HENDERSON: Just like Greg said, a win is a win. Obviously you want to make it as easy as possible for yourself to win a game, but Belmont is a good team and you're not going to just run through this tournament. So it's a big thing for us to win our first game.

Q. Coach was saying that you were very calm and there was a lot of reassurance going on. Give me some moments both on the court and in the huddle where people were saying, We got it or whatever it was that you guys were saying just to stay calm.
GERALD HENDERSON: Well, about maybe two minutes to go I think they got their lead, the crowd was pretty loud, I guess. But we've been in situations like that all year, big crowds and a lot of people cheering against us. We just had to come together as a team.
I can't remember a specific point, but we've just got to come together as a team and make the winning plays.
COACH KRZYZEWSKI: Guys are bad at moments. They remember plays.

Q. How about you?
COACH KRZYZEWSKI: I don't remember, I just know we won. And it's on to the next thing. But it's more of an air that you try to establish.
One thing for Belmont is that the way Coach Byrd has handled this team this year, it's about ten kids who have starter's mentalities, because so many guys have started. And so when they sub, it's never like going to their bench. I talked to him about it, he says, We didn't do that on purpose. And I said, You probably did, you just don't want to share it with anybody.
But I thought before they played us, I saw him at the coach's meetings and I said, Really, it's a brilliant strategy. He said, We don't have that much separation. I said, A lot of teams don't have that much separation.
But you understand what I mean with so many kids started throughout the year, it doesn't matter. The five guys on the court always feel like they're a starter. That's a heck of a thing. It's really a good concept.

Q. I was just wondering if you could give us a thumbnail sketch or your general impressions of the two teams that you may face.
COACH KRZYZEWSKI: I haven't watched them. That's what I'm saying, I only watched Belmont. We weren't looking ahead. So I'll watch them tonight.

Q. Do you have any thoughts of Grant Hill and Christian Laettner in the last timeout when they had their one last chance?
COACH KRZYZEWSKI: They couldn't move along the baseline, so they're probably not going to go to their -- like Hare, I think he's had four team winning or game winning type shots, but he couldn't get the ball going down the right side of the court, going towards the bucket. So even if he got it he was going to have to shoot across his body. So we felt -- it's nice if you can't move the ball along the baseline. And then we didn't foul him, so that was good. We felt they were going to him.

Q. Coach, you talked about the second half, the calm on the bench. The first half it didn't seem like it was calm. It seemed like you didn't see what you wanted to see out of your team. What was going on there?
COACH KRZYZEWSKI: At times we get to be so young on defense. They can put five three-point shooters in the game. Like they don't post their post men. And so you have to be able to communicate and have contact, you're not following, but if you're off the ball you have to have contact with your forearm with the man. And I thought we just kept losing contact. And it wasn't so much the 3's it was the layups that they got. And we pulled our defense back. And actually, I thought we started playing fairly well on defense.
Overall we didn't do that bad of a job defensively, except in the first 12, 14 minutes. I thought we were not a very good defensive team then.

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