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March 29, 2008

Derrick Brown

Josh Duncan

Sean Miller


THE MODERATOR: We're being joined by Coach Miller and the Musketeers.
COACH MILLER: It's not quite as fun to come up here when you lose, but my comments about the game really are fairly simple.
We lost to a great team. In order for our team to win today's game, we would have needed to play the very best we could and really I believe needed some combination of UCLA not being up to their best. And that's the beauty of the NCAA tournament. Once in a while that can happen. Today was not our day.
UCLA was the better team and just being as accurate as I can about us, we didn't necessarily play -- forget our best, I don't think we really played that well. It wasn't for lack of effort or lack of any of that. As much as a lot of game pressure, a lot at stake against a great team that had been there before and to me, like I had mentioned, the best team won.
On our side, I can't say enough good things about our three seniors, one of which is here. Josh Duncan, Stanley Burrell, and Drew Lavender led us as deep, in my opinion, as we possibly could have gone. 30 wins, school record. I think we established ourselves, if not the best team to ever play at Xavier, certainly right there. They did everything the coach asked and then some and awfully proud of where we ended.

Q. Josh, you've gone against some really great players this year, Michael Beasley, et cetera. Can you talk about Kevin Love and how difficult he is to handle.
JOSH DUNCAN: He is a great player, obviously. He can do a little bit of everything. He's good down low. He knocked down some three-point shots and he is just overall a good player.

Q. Josh, as far as the offensive struggles, how much of it was UCLA's defense and how much of it was just you guy s weren't making shots?
JOSH DUNCAN: A little bit on both ends. UCLA obviously did a good job on defense. They pressured us pretty well and, you know, we weren't knocking down shots today and had a couple uncharacteristic turnovers. But, I guess, that's just how it goes sometimes.

Q. Derrick, can you talk about your two halves. You had ten points in the first half, six shots. Second half, only one shot, finished with three points. What was going on there?
DERRICK BROWN: Just how the game went. I was more worried about not getting rebounds and helping my team on that end and not really worried about offense as much because we got out-hustled on balls that we should have got.
But as far as the game, we just ran into a better team today. I don't think we played as well as we should have or could have. That's how it went.

Q. Coach, a lot of great teams -- a lot of teams have great talent, don't play great defense. What makes UCLA's defense so effective?
COACH MILLER: The thing that amazes me about UCLA's defense is they don't foul. I mean, they are physical. They blitz and trap every pick-and-roll you set. They trap the low post. They pressure the ball. They have sometimes four players out on the court who are 6' 7" or taller and they don't foul. I'm telling you, if you play as hard as they do and have the size that they do and the strategy and that offensive team can't put fouls on them, it is really, really hard to score.
We got one foul on Kevin Love in the first four minutes, and I got excited, and I think if we would have played 200 more minutes, he would not have picked his second foul up. He doesn't foul.
And it will be interesting in San Antonio as the best of the best goes there because, again, when you play that hard and you're that physical and you trap -- I mean, transition defense, they fly back in transition defense like all teams do. And if you set a ball screen, that 6' 9", 270 pound player stops and runs dead opposite to half court and blitzes the ball screen, turns, runs full speed to the hoop and a lot of action is happening and they don't foul.
You have to make field goals. And I thought the way Derrick answered the question, we can play better than we played today. And at the same time, UCLA's defense is obviously outstanding.
The team that cracks it is probably going to be hitting on all cylinders, and I would be curious to see if they can put more fouls on UCLA, get to the foul line more themselves. To me, that's the key against playing their defense because the things that they're able to do without fouling are against all odds.

Q. Burrell and Drew were both -- seemed very emotional when they came off before the final time, even before they got off the court. Did it just sort of sink in with them at that point?
COACH MILLER: You know, it is really a special group we've had. If you think about it, we had six players in double figures. That has been in play since day one. We have three seniors who really have done everything that we've asked as a coaching staff. They led their team to 30 wins, the Elite Eight.
And honest to goodness, I don't know if a player on our team thought it would end here. I mean, I really thought that we prepared to beat UCLA. We thought we could beat them. I would like to think every team still playing feels that way.
And then when it ends, no more practice, no more coach yelling at you. It is an odd feeling. Like I told those guys in the locker room, if there has ever been a group that I've been around as a team, this team could clearly look themselves in the eye and say "we did the very best we could" and I really believe went the farthest that we could. To win today's game, we would have needed a lot of things to line up for us because UCLA is terrific.

Q. Coach, I will ask you the same question I asked Josh. There were some open shots that you missed. If those things started falling, does that maybe snowball things and might send it the other direction?
COACH MILLER: If there was a frustrating part of today's game, I thought at times in the first half we were able to spread them out and get some good shots, have our players in a good position. And we didn't do it.
I hear people talk about game pressure, you know, the higher up the ladder you get into the NCAA tournament. Today was high stakes for everybody. And we weren't ourselves. For example, we're a team that shoots 76% from the foul line. And we were 0-3 in the first half. And honestly, I almost felt like if we would have got there more, I didn't feel like they were going to go in.
We weren't ourselves and, again, the stage -- UCLA being a terrific team, they had a lot to do with it. I would have loved to made the game a better game, and I think if we would have had a higher level of play, we would have.
But to win, we would really have needed some things to go our way. Don't misread me talking about fouling like we got a bad whistle. I am not saying that. When you look at the free throws that UCLA shoots versus their opponent and you consider the style of play they employ, to me that's the secret of their success and they get to the line a lot and they play very hard without fouling.

Q. A two-part question. You said in your opening statement that UCLA kind of played like a team who's been here before. Can you quantify that a little bit for me? And second part, put in perspective in this volatile era of college basketball, what it means to make three straight Final Fours.
COACH MILLER: Well, they earned today's environment by a No. 1 seed and the season that they had. They should play in front of a great crowd like they had today.
But as a team, they really had a way about them as if they had been there before. I mean, and they have. Very patient on offense, don't crack easily, don't flinch. Really stick to what makes them a good team.
Darren Collison, you appreciate him a lot more when you play against him than watching him on T.V. At the end of the clock, he just is incredible. He can make a shot himself. He makes his teammates better. And he has that dagger ability: When they need it, bang, he delivers. And it is just such ease with the ball at the end of the clock.
And then Kevin Love, obviously, is that extra special player that maybe UCLA hasn't had in the past that could be the difference for them now because everything really starts and stops with him. He is so mobile for a big guy. It amazes me, to see him run around like he does and not foul and plays the minutes that he plays. Very unique.

Q. Along the notes about Kevin Love, his fundamentals, how sound are they in an age when people don't really talk about fundamentals as they used to?
COACH MILLER: He looks like he's 25 years old when's playing. I will use this analogy to describe him, it is not really fair, but when you played in college many years ago, you would play against athletes in action or this exhibition team. And those guys, they made the game look so easy like they had been playing for 25 years. Obviously at a much higher level. He makes the game look easy. He's got great hands, very efficient, smart. Has no ability to get rattled, which for a freshman is amazing.
Like I said, I think getting to the Final Four with a go-to player maybe more so than UCLA has in the past could allow them to win the national championship. I am really pulling for them. I hope we lost to the national champion.

Q. Been a lot of speculation, any thoughts about whether your future lies at Xavier or not?
COACH MILLER: I will be at Xavier. I'm looking forward to coaching at Xavier and continuing on with what we've done for years behind me and what we've done this year.
You know, we have the bar set high and we're anxious to recruit to the very best we can, to have the opportunity to get back here. When you taste this, when you're on this stage and you are watching a team cut down the nets, you have an incredible desire to be here again.
I remember feeling that way five years ago when we were here and I think it is very gratifying to come here with the seniors that we had and the team that we had. I couldn't be more proud and really more at ease right now because I really feel like we went about as far as we can and lost to a great team.

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