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March 21, 2008

Kyle Duncan

Ernest Fields

Fernandez Lockett

Dave Loos


COACH LOOS: Texas is what we expected, an excellent basketball team. As you know, we're a little undersized. I think that was one big difference. They out-rebound us by nine, I think. Abrams was a real problem for us. And when we play somebody of this caliber, as I told the guys, I sometimes lay awake at night worrying about how we're going to score against people that are that size.
So those were the issues today, and I do think that if we could have somehow made a couple of shots early that maybe we could have been a little more competitive.
THE MODERATOR: Questions for the players.

Q. Can you talk about what Abrams did to you guys? I mean, it looked like Augustin comes in, but Abrams goes off tonight. Can you talk about him going off like he did.
KYLE DUNCAN: Abrams, he's a lot quicker than I thought he was going to be. I've seen him in tape, and seeing him in person is two different things. He had a really good game, six for ten from three. The best we could do to was try to contest his shots. He's a really good player. Hats off to him and his team for finding him when he was hitting his shots.

Q. This question is for Fernandez. Fernandez, you guys been going up against guys that have been bigger than you all season. How would you characterize what Texas threw at you with Dexter Pittman, Connor Atchley compared to the other big men you faced this season?
FERNANDEZ LOCKETT: We faced Memphis, which basically matched up the same way; Vanderbilt, which matched up the same way. What we saw tonight we saw before. It wasn't a surprise. We just didn't -- like coach said, we needed to make knockdown shots. That's basically it.

Q. Just any of the players, you said you've seen this kind of size before, but when you are a team like you are, nobody ever -- how differently does it make it -- to make baskets against that kind of front line?
FERNANDEZ LOCKETT: It's kind of difficult, but we've got to use our speed, try the use our speed to our advantage because they're bigger and they weigh more. We've got to try to use our speed to our advantage. I mean, we've got to do the best we can, and, like you said, we kind of -- we are undersized, but that's not an excuse. I don't look for excuses. I feel like we should still overcome and try to use what we have towards our advantage.

Q. Just talk about the poor shooting out there. I think you guys missed your first six, seven shots. Talk about what was happening out there, why hasn't happened to you guys that much this year.
KYLE DUNCAN: It was early in the game, I think it was more nerves than anything else, not staying with our routine. We were shooting and just trying -- we felt the urgency to score because we missed a few open shots early. So we kind of felt it was urgent to score so -- throughout the course of the game, you know, we kind of found our rhythm, but by then they had already built a lead, and they're a good team. They kept the lead. So we just -- we knocked shots down, we just not when we needed to.

Q. Ernest?
ERNEST FIELDS: Early in the game we didn't make a lot of shots. They started making their shots after a couple tries. I mean, the more we tried, I mean, we started making shots along the way, and we started to catch up and then they took another run. And their post play was -- it was kind of tough to defend, also. Not using it as an excuse, it's not an excuse, but it made it a little tough.

Q. Watching Texas the way they played today, do you think anybody can stop them, and if so, what is it going take to beat a team like that?
KYLE DUNCAN: It's a tournament. Anybody can be beat on any given day. The way they move the ball today, the way they were knocking down shots, it's going to be tough. But, you know, everyday is going to be a different day. You go against different defenses. The next team they play -- I'm not sure who they're going to play, but they may have a bigger inside presence than what we had. And I don't think we utilized our inside presence as much as we should have today, but that's partially the guards fault for not getting the ball inside, but it's March Madness. Anything can happen on any given day.

Q. Was D.J. a little hurt, little bit more hurt than maybe than what he let off throughout the week or tonight? Didn't seem like D.J. was able to get going at all.
KYLE DUNCAN: I'm not sure. D.J. is a tough player. If he was hurting more than usual, he wouldn't tell us. I can't really comment for D.J.

Q. To any of the players, you all played Memphis, you played Texas, there's a chance they'll end up meeting in the regional final. How do you just think those two teams compare, and who would you give the edge, if that matchup ends up taking place?
KYLE DUNCAN: It will be a good game. Two outstanding guards in Derrick Rose and Augustin. It's just whoever wants it, whoever wants it bad enough that day, I mean. Memphis has a lot to come out and prove, because people are saying their schedule wasn't that tough and that's why their record is the way it is. But they're a really good team. Coming from self experience, they're a really good team, and so is Texas. It will be a pretty good matchup.

Q. Unfortunately it's a loss for you guys, but just talk about the experience of being here and getting here, OVC Champions. You guys tied the school record with most Wednesday with 24. Talk about this experience today.
ERNEST FIELDS: I mean, it was a wonderful thing that we could make it here, but it's not a good thing that we end the season the way that we did. But when you sum it up, we still had a wonderful season. That's what we have to look at, you know. And for the players that we have returning, including myself, we have to keep our head up and look forward to the next year.
FERNANDEZ LOCKETT: Really good experience. Like Ernest said, unfortunately we ended it as far as the first round. We would love to advance to the second round, but overall, from November all the way till now, we had a wonderful season. We was picked first in our conference and finished first, and the conference tournament we also picked first, and I mean, we finished first as well. So I mean overall, we had a wonderful season.
THE MODERATOR: Any other questions? Guys, we appreciate you very much. Congratulations to you on a good year. Have a safe trip home.
Questions for Dave.

Q. Dave, just wanted to know, I know this didn't end the way you want you want it to end, but if you could talk about, you guys got a real thunderous ovation both from your own fans and the fans here in Arkansas. Is that something you feel maybe you and your players can take with you long after this experience is over?
COACH LOOS: I think so. You know, I think that thunderers ovation, there was probably some other factors there. But, I'll tell you, I feel bad for these guys because I told them for so long when we were fighting to get in the NCAA Tournament that this is something they would remember the rest of their lives. Now right now they're thinking, "Gosh, I didn't know what he's talking about because they feel badly right now."
I think after this wears off in a few days, hopefully dwell on how much they accomplished, but We got a warm reception out there. That was nice to begin.

Q. Dave, you guys haven't had the shooting problems that you've had all season long. Just talk about how difficult and how hard it was to watch them not be able to hit shots like they have all year long.
COACH LOOS: Well, you know, as I said, I lay awake at night worrying about how we're going to score against, you know, quality, big competition, and that was the case tonight. We just got off to such a rough start. And, you know, if you look at the game going back a few months against Memphis, the margin of victory was about the same between Texas and Memphis, but we shot the ball much better that night. We shot over 50 percent.
It made us appear much more competitive. You know, this whole thing is really pretty simple. It's about trying to get a good look and then you hope it goes in. And, you know, it was tough for us to score down low.
What I wish we had done better is be able to make our perimeter and mid range shots, you know. You know, Drake had some of those and Dez had a number of them. Ernest was the only guy who really made the mid range shot, those were the looks that we got.
It was going to be difficult for us to score down low against their size. That's for sure. I heard the question about, you know, what was the difference when we played these big people.
Well, these guys tonight are really played physical, and that was a problem for us.

Q. Coach, describe in your words what makes Texas such a quality team? What's their biggest strength? What gave you the most trouble out of everything today, would you say?
COACH LOOS: Obviously Abrams, and somebody mentioned, one of the guys mentioned he wasn't as heralded. Well, he was in my mind. I knew he could really stroke that thing, and he was really a skilled player. You know, you look at Augustin, and he got six points. He had eight assists. He made a lot of that happen.
I think while they don't have -- it doesn't appear -- they play a lot of people, significant amounts of minutes, that that first group is pretty good and they've got guys that can hurt you in a number of different ways.

Q. Coach, give you the question that was sent to the players. Compare Memphis and Texas, your assessment.
COACH LOOS: Memphis plays a lot of people. I would say just from our experience, you know, Memphis played more people. I would say depth is one. But, boy, they're both -- you know, if I picked one over the other, it would be with my heart and not my head as having played at Memphis and coached at Memphis, that's my second favorite college basketball team.
They're both terrific teams, quality teams. I know if they end up playing, I'd sure like to see it. Be a heck of a game.
THE MODERATOR: Any other questions? Coach, thank you very much. Congratulations on a great year. Safe return home.
COACH LOOS: Thank you.

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