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March 21, 2008

Pete Campbell

A.J. Graves

Brad Stevens


THE MODERATOR: We'll start with an opening statement from coach Steve and then take questions for the student-athletes.
COACH STEVENS: We're tied or it's really close, 22-22, I believe. Midway through the first half. And we were getting out rebounded, 6-3 on the offensive glass and we ended up getting nine of the next ten on our glass.
And we made a few shots in succession and that kind of opened the game and then I thought that our guys had tremendous poise after they scored the first two baskets of the second half where we turned it over and they laid it in and it's not an ideal situation, you don't want guys that are that talented to get going, but our guys really showed the poise and grit that they have showed all year.
THE MODERATOR: Okay. Again we'll take questions for the student-athletes.

Q. A.J., Mike missed the last ten minutes of the half because of foul trouble and it looked like you were just totally comfortable running the point from then on. Can you kind of describe what that second half the first half was like?
A.J. GRAVES: Yeah, it was kind of a unique situation when Mike went out. That changes some of the things we do. But I had to step up and run the point and we brought in some other people. Pete came in off the bench and made some great shots and that's just how things went.

Q. Pete, it looked like South Alabama really never did anything special against you defensively and just played you straight up. Kept getting open shots and knocking them down. How do teams in your league normally play you? Do they do special defenses against your shooting?
PETE CAMPBELL: Well, it's harder when you play a team twice in a season to run some of the sets and actions that you run throughout the whole year. And coach said going into post season play for me to be ready to run a few things that we haven't run for awhile, because that's the beauty of scouting. You can take away so some of the stuff that a team's trying to do. So, it's not necessarily anything that special that we tried to come into this game and do, it was just be ready, run the offense, if you have your opportunities, look for them, if not, keep moving it around and just get the best shot we can. But that's the best way I can answer that one.

Q. For Pete, looks like when you were getting hot in that first half, no matter where you were on the floor, how far behind the arc you were, you looked like you were in such rhythm that it looked like you were going to make everything. How often is that kind of a feeling happen to you in college basketball?
PETE CAMPBELL: Also, again, I think we were doing an excellent job in the first half of running our offense and A.J. a few times just was like, you know, you think I said, "Good pass" one time and he was just like, I'm going to keep looking for you, because you've been open a few times.
So, then I think we got a few more and I kept saying the same thing, he just kept telling me to get open. So, we were just trying to run our offense and look for the best shot, and fortunately, some of them went down.

Q. Maybe for either one of you guys, you guys are very sensitive to all kinds of things about arenas. Are the rims extra friendly here in Birmingham or what is that about?
A.J. GRAVES: I don't think Pete's shots hit the rim actually so I don't know about the rim on his part. But this is just -- we schedule stuff like this. We went up to Alaska and played on neutral courts, we played in Conseco, Indianapolis on neutral courts. So I think this is just some experience that's came along with us. But you still got to go out there and play. There's going to be tough teams that come out and want to challenge you and you just got to try and do your best.
THE MODERATOR: Pete, did you have any shots hit the rim? Were they extra friendly to you?
PETE CAMPBELL: Maybe a few. I don't know.
Q. A.J., from your experience this last year against Tennessee, having beaten them, does that give you some confidence and some familiarity going into the second round game?
A.J. GRAVES: It may give you some familiarity just because of some of the overlying things they do, but they're a different team and we're a different team as well, too. So, I think this is going to be a different game than it was last time. I'm not sure you can draw too much comparisons from them. They're going to have to scout us well and then we're going to have to scout them well. So, I think it's going to be a tough matchup on Sunday.
THE MODERATOR: All right. We'll get you guys back to the locker room. Thank you. We will now take questions for the coach.

Q. Can you talk about specifically why you put Streicher on Demetric Bennett? Because of the size advantage or what?
COACH STEVENS: Drew has either guarded the opposing team's best statistical player or guarded somebody that we thought could really give us problems in every game we played.
In the conference tournament he held a first team all-league guard in the first game well below his average and then he held a -- and then he made a first team all-league forward work for everything he could get in the second game against Cleveland State.
Drew could easily be sitting up here. I thought what he did today was unbelievable how he kept Bennett off balance and Bennett's one heck of a player, and I think it shows you how much respect that we have for him that we would put our four on him and give up the chance to give up some offensive rebounds early and be mismatched underneath the post, but Drew was fantastic today like he's been for 33 games in five years.

Q. How meaningful is it to you to be like the third youngest coach ever to win 30 and there's not too many Mid Majors that have even won 30 games.
COACH STEVENS: It's more meaningful to me that Butler has won 30 games and we have been trying to build, and build off of a program that was already established for the past eight years. And it's fun too, it's been fun to be a part of it, but it's more fun because of the people you're doing it with. And it doesn't mean a whole lot to me from a personal standpoint, but it means a lot to me from a team ego standpoint.

Q. Can you comment on the stretch where A.J. had to play the point?
COACH STEVENS: I thought he did a great job. I heard a lot of people say that A.J.'s a catch and shoot guy, A.J. was a heck of a point guard for us for his first two years at Butler.
And then when Mike came, I think they compliment each other so well that Mike ends up handling the ball a little bit more. But A.J.'s very capable and then I thought Shawn came in and was fantastic the entire game. And when our rebounding efforts turned around, it was Shawn up there flying around the rim keeping balls a live and really played with great energy and I thought that really set a tone for the rest of the half.
He played well off of A.J. and what I thought was so good about the way A.J. played was, Pete said it, in our offense he was looking for him, he was also looking for him in transition he really got the ball up the floor and made a couple of plays where you could tell he was going to lay it in or look for Pete and he did a great job.

Q. How much do you know about Tennessee at this point and what's your general impression of them?
COACH STEVENS: I know it more as a fan than a coach. And I'll work hard in the next 24 hours to learn more about them. Obviously, I've got a feel for their system, because Coach Pearl was in our league at the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, and we played Tennessee last year.
I have the utmost respect for him, I think the team is fabulous. If they're a 2 seed, there are four pretty good teams out there that are 1 seeds and we'll have to be at our very best on Sunday to compete.
THE MODERATOR: Okay, thank you, coach.

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