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March 22, 2009

Kenny Hasbrouck

Fran McCaffery

Ronald Moore

Edwin Ubiles


Louisville – 79
Siena - 72

THE MODERATOR: Joining us are student-athletes Kenny Hasbrouck, Ronald Moore and Edwin Ubiles. Coach, an opening statement, please.
COACH McCAFFERY: I just want to begin by congratulating Louisville on making the Sweet 16. I've been very impressed with Coach Pitino and how he's brought this team along and gotten them to this point.
It is very difficult. Maybe the most impressive team that I've watched on film in a long time. So as we prepare for this game, they presented a great deal of concerns for us. And I think when you go through the game and you're trying to manage the game, I couldn't be more proud of how we, number one, handled their pressure. I thought that was a key to us being in the game throughout.
I knew we were going to have some problems on the glass with their size. But I felt we attacked their defense well. We got great shot opportunities. Even the stretches of time where we struggled to score, we were getting good shots. We weren't turning the ball over. We were in an attack mode.
A lot of people probably felt we were going to play the games in the 50s. But that's just not how we play. We're always going to be in attack mode. We're going to attack pressure. We're going to attack zones. We're going to attack man-to-man and we're going to press you. And that's our style.
I couldn't be more proud of these three guys sitting next to me.
THE MODERATOR: Questions for the student-athletes.

Q. Kenny, when you got here four years ago it was a floundering program, as you leave today you took the No. 1 team in the country down to the wire. Could you reflect on your four years and how far your years of playing and the program have come?
KENNY HASBROUCK: When I first got here everybody knew we were one of the worst teams, probably, in America. Coach McCaffery came in, he promised us he was going to turn it around, we were going to turn it around together. We did it the past few years, we got better each year. The record. Everybody on the team got better. Recruiting got better. Now I'm proud to say we made it to the second round and we took Louisville, the No. 1 team in the country, down to the wire. And we got to show off how good our players are, how good we are as a team, and we showed that it doesn't matter who is scoring, that we worked together no matter what happens.

Q. Could you just describe your state of mind when you're up 4 with seven minutes to go, how excited you were?
EDWIN UBILES: We were real excited. Fortunately our press was bothering them a little bit. We took the lead. We were trying to keep it, but got a little sideways for a couple of minutes. And it just gave us a lot of energy to see that we had a team like Louisville and the struggle for a couple of minutes and that we actually had the lead.
And I think we built off that. And I thought we fought hard the whole night. And I'm proud of our team and I'm proud of what we accomplished this year.
RONALD MOORE: We were happy to be up 4. We knew that we could be in the game with these guys. We definitely didn't want to play not to lose at that point. We definitely wanted to keep attacking, keep attacking. Definitely think they did a good job of really starting to handle our pressure and really starting to get the ball inside. Unfortunately, a couple of balls didn't go our way. The outcome is the way it is now.

Q. Just getting back to that when you were up 4, was there a sense -- Louisville I think called two or three timeouts during that stretch, was there any sense among the players, you know what, I think we might have them here?
KENNY HASBROUCK: Yeah, we thought we had them. We were running them up and down. We kept up with them every time. But just unfortunately I guess a team that good there's a reason they're No. 1.
And our nine turnovers seemed like 20 against them. So one mistake can be two baskets for them. And they built on the mistakes and that's what they did in that segment. We had good shots. It's just unfortunately they didn't fall. Every time a shot didn't fall they had it right back in their room either getting fouled or layup or turning it into 3. There's not too much you can do about situations like that.

Q. Ronald, can you just talk about the experience of playing against this press, supposedly the best pressure defense in the country and how you were able to handle it so effectively?
RONALD MOORE: I definitely think we did a great job of handling it. I really wanted to attack it. That was our game plan going into it. And I definitely think we did a better job of pressuring them. We caused them to have 17 turnovers and we only had 9. And one thing we're definitely proud of, how we handled the pressure, is key turnovers at the end of the game hurt. And they capitalized on it.
THE MODERATOR: Thanks, guys. Questions for Coach.

Q. Could you talk a little bit about Kenny Hasbrouck and also the senior class you'll have next year and how you could possibly build on the past two seasons?
COACH McCAFFERY: Well, when you have a player like Kenny, it's interesting. We were just talking in the room next door here. I've never coached a game at Siena that he didn't start in. So it will be new foreign territory for me.
But what I told the players after the game was he set the standard for how you work and how you prepare. And I think when you look at the junior class mark that you mentioned, the reason that they play with the intensity level and the determination that you just witnessed is because of the great senior leadership that we got from Kenny and from Josh Duell.
So the standard has been set, and our intention, of course, is to keep the program moving forward. That said, we know it's not easy. It's not easy to win a regular season championship, a tournament championship, and to get back here.
But we know what it's like. We know what a phenomenal experience it is, and that gives you the incentive that you need to continue to prepare to get better and to reach your potential. We have a great recruiting class coming in, and I have great expectation for our team next year.

Q. Kenny just said that when you guys were up 4 he said, "We thought we had him." I'm sure as a coach, with them calling time out timeout with more than seven minutes to go, you didn't think you had them. What was your mindset with the team and what happened afterwards when Louisville went on their run?
COACH McCAFFERY: When you're in that situation you're not thinking do we have them, do we not have them, you're thinking what do we need to do defensively? We changed defenses on them, and that was the reason why we were ahead. We went to the man-to-man. We started trapping. We started pressing full court man-to-man, we got out of the zone. And that was problematic for them.
In time, a Rick Pitino coached team is going to adjust. So you're thinking do we stay in this or do we change back to the zone? Do we change into something completely different, like a 1-3-1, something totally different than anything they've seen so far.
And then you're thinking what are we going to do on offense. If you're a 4 and you get it to 7 it's a lot different. Now it's a three-possession game. So we were trying to get it to 7. So we spread the floor. We were running Clarence Jackson on the baseline behind the zone and trying to find him. He was hot. He had come off the bench when Kenny got hurt and made some plays.
So we were looking at him. Because he was hot the defense was stretched. So we wanted to penetrate and look down to the baseline. And we got a couple of looks, but we couldn't ring the bell there.
So any time that you miss or turn it over, Louisville is the best team in the country at capitalizing on those misses and those mistakes. Kenny said it best: Your turnovers are 3-point baskets and that's what we told our team. Most teams when they steal the ball from you or you turn it over they go down and attack the rim, they run to the line and shoot the 3 and make it a 3-point problem for you. So they've got at least pros, three first-round picks, and Williams at that particular time, who was one of them, I thought made some key plays. When the team was sputtering, he made some plays, and I thought -- and the reason we weren't in man the whole game is they went inside when we went to the man.
We got some turnovers and we had the guards sideways, but the big fellow was posted up in there. And they got it in there a few times.

Q. Coach Pitino said with the press today they're not concerned so much with turnovers as much as perhaps grinding you down, and your minutes were high for your starters and I wondered if you think did that play any role in those final four minutes or so, a little fatigue?
COACH McCAFFERY: I'll be honest with you, I thought we had better energy at the end of the game than they did. Their length and their ability to stay after you pressuring the ball, up in the passing lanes, it's going to get you.
We had a stretch there where we were scoring pretty easily, then we had a stretch where we weren't. And that's going to be the case when you're playing against those kinds of athletes playing that kind of intense defense. So I don't think it was energy level as much as it was continued pressure by long-armed great athletes.

Q. A lot has been made of them coming back from being down by 4. But earlier in the half they had an 11-point lead then an 8-point lead they could have run it out. What did you tell your team to keep them in the game and actually take a lead after that?
COACH McCAFFERY: Well, you're right. That's a great point. We were down in the first half a couple times. We were down double digits in the second half. And that's usually when they go on their run. They take a 12-point lead and you blink and it's 19 and it's over.
So what we tried to do was manage the game. Our plan was to manage each media timeout to the next media timeout. What are we going to do in these next four minutes, because the run's coming. There's going to be a run, how do we handle the run.
Are we going to change the defense? Are we going to change the offense? What are we going to come out with a timeout offensively, would it be defensively? At that particular time that you're referring to, we were getting pounded on the glass. They were missing shots but getting it and putting it back in. Now we have to fight the press, instead of being able to take their miss and run their fastbreak back at them.
So what I convinced our players to do was do a better job on the glass than we were doing. We were scoring. We weren't turning it over and we were stopping them. But they were making baskets on second-shot opportunities.
So in that stretch, when we took the lead, we were stripping them or giving them 1, and we were going. Now they're back on their heels. They didn't pick up Clarence Jackson and transition in one time, and as you saw, that team was going in the wrong direction. Rick had to call a bunch of timeouts to get them straightened out.
That's really what I was trying to accomplish at that particular time.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you, Coach.

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