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April 4, 2009

Reggie Redding

Scottie Reynolds

Jay Wright


North Carolina – 83
Villanova - 69

THE MODERATOR: We're joined by Villanova. We'll ask Coach Wright to make an opening statement.
COACH WRIGHT: Well, we want to congratulate Carolina. They played a great game. And they are playing extremely well. I think they've got all the pieces, and we have great respect for them.
We've been getting better every game. We did not get better this game. There's a number of reasons. Probably the main reason, though, is we played a better team tonight. There's nothing wrong with hurting and nothing wrong with failure. We gave it everything we got. We're going to hurt tonight, and then tomorrow we're going to make sure we celebrate this senior class and this team. But we're going to try to learn from this tonight.
THE MODERATOR: Questions for the student-athletes.

Q. Scottie, three-point shooting hadn't been the strength of this team in the tournament. Was there any thought when so many of them weren't falling early to try to slow it down or do something different?
SCOTTIE REYNOLDS: I mean, our greatest strength is us always being on the attack and being aggressive. Coach just kept saying to be on the attack. If the shot's there, take it. You know, we weren't going to try to do anything different that we haven't been doing all year.
Carolina did a great job of just contesting our shots and just rebounding those shots and getting out on the break.

Q. Scottie, one of the things that Jay said also about this team is you guys didn't panic at all during the year when things went bad in a game. In the first half, you fell down 14. What was it that they did in the first 10 minutes of game?
SCOTTIE REYNOLDS: They did a lot of things well, and they did a great job of mixing it up, whether it was penetrating, putting it in the post, or reversing the ball and shooting the three.
They did a great job of coming up with big-time lose balls, offensive rebounds, second-chance points. That kind of put us kind of down. We tried to keep a good attitude. We knew if we could get it under 10 or around 10, I think we cut it to 9 at the end of the half, we felt pretty good, in the hole we had been in, to be down nine. We hadn't played our best basketball, come out in the second half and try to play another 20 minutes of Villanova basketball.

Q. Reggie, can you talk about how it feels? Are you able yet to think about tomorrow and think about the whole season?
REGGIE REDDING: I mean, we had a great season. We're not going to try to let this loss like spoil the great season we had.
But, of course, it hurts right now. All the hard work we put in all year, us coming together as a team. If you're not hurting right now, then I don't think you're a player. You don't care that much.
So I think right now we're still in the hurting state, but hopefully we can just keep our heads up and just move past it.

Q. Jay mentioned the seniors. Obviously tough way to see them go. Can you address what that group really meant to you guys this year.
SCOTTIE REYNOLDS: They did a great job of bringing this team together and teaching us how to play Villanova basketball for 40 minutes. That's something that we concentrated on throughout the season. We didn't know when it was going to click, but it started clicking, and it was all because of the seniors and their strong will to will this team to do that.
It would have been easy for them to be satisfied and just let us do what we wanted to do, you know. We were, what, fourth in the Big East, or third. I forgot what we were. I guess we were like, I don't know, tops in the -- in the top 25. It was easy for them to just let back and throw in the towel and not push us. But they kept pushing us.
That's why we continued to get better. And they took us on a great ride. You know, we just tried to do that day in and day out. We sorry that it's over, but they'll never be forgotten.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you very much. We'll continue with questions for Coach Wright.

Q. I'm sure you've seen that run they made at the beginning of the game on film getting ready for this game. Is there a sense of, not hopelessness, but how do we plug the dikes here?
COACH WRIGHT: That's what is scary about them, is their runs. You have to score, you know, because when you're missing shots, they're out. The guys you have back are usually guards. And their wings, Green and Ellington, are just bigger. They just go right at them and score. If they don't, they're kicking out for threes.
They do a great job of reversing the ball, if they don't get something early. They're a very, very good team. I think they're playing their best right now. That's what we ran into. We ran into a team that's just playing better than us right now, that's better than us.

Q. I'm sure you were looking to really make it a Big East game in the second half. Is that the feeling you had in the locker room, that you were in a good spot, and why didn't it keep going your direction the second half?
COACH WRIGHT: We actually felt pretty good at halftime. Being down 17, getting it back to 9, they had guys in foul trouble. We came out of it with Dante with one foul, Scottie with two. We were feeling good. And we started off pretty well in the beginning of the second half.
This is where I think they're just really a good team. There was a time we got it under 10, and they missed a free throw, and they got the offensive rebound on a foul shot. They didn't just rely on making shots. They got to loose balls. They did a lot of little things that didn't allow us to make that run.
You know, sometimes you do that against teams. They miss a couple shots. They get their head down, and you get 'em. They never put their head down. They kept defending, kept rebounding.
They're playing great basketball right now. They really are.

Q. You've dealt with teams who had the season end in the tournament, deal with their emotions. With this group, how long do you think it will take until it really sinks in what that he accomplished, making the Final Four?
COACH WRIGHT: I always tell our guys, There's nothing wrong with failing. You can't fear failure. And when it happens, you've got to learn from it. So I really want us to learn from this tonight.
You know, we didn't play our best game. The number one reason is Carolina played better tonight. You got to give them credit. But there are things we could have done and should have done that we have to learn from. And then tomorrow, I'm going to make sure that this senior class is celebrated. I'm going to work hard at it.
To answer your question, I'm gonna do everything I can tomorrow that they're feeling great about themselves.

Q. Not to put you in a place where you have to speak for the whole conference here, but for so much of this season, the Big East has been what everyone has talked about. Do you think the fact that there is no Big East team in the national title game in any way diminishes what's been said all along?
COACH WRIGHT: I really don't. I think that what we thought was great about the Big East this year was just top to bottom level of competition, outstanding teams. I think that was proven throughout the tournament.
I think right now Carolina proved, regardless of conference, that they're playing the best basketball in the country right now. And so did Michigan State. That's what it was.
You know, I think that Michigan State/UConn game could have gone either way. I think Michigan State finished it and just played a little bit better.
Our game, I think Carolina's just playing much better than us right now. But, you know, four of the top teams in the country, two of them were Big East teams. I think that speaks well for our conference.

Q. Do you feel the confidence that you have in this program right now, this is a matter of when it's gonna be back again on a stage like this, not if, with what you accomplished this season?
COACH WRIGHT: Well, one of the things we've learned going through this is how difficult it is to get here. You know it's difficult, but after you get here, when you look back, you realize some of the things that happened in the Pitt game, that we were this close to losing to American.
I don't think I would ever plan on being back. But we're gonna work hard on it. What I've also learned is I never know when it's your time. I thought in '06, that was our time. I thought we had the team. We ran into the national champion, you know, in the Final 8. We might have run into the national champion tonight. I don't know. I think we'll have a great game Monday night.
But it's just a matter of where you run into a team that's better than you, you know. So we're going to work hard at it. We've learned a lot from this trip.

Q. Coach Calhoun said before he would reflect more on retirement this coming off-season than any time before.
COACH WRIGHT: Are you asking me about retiring (smiling)?

Q. Not you. Could you empathize with what he went through or can you imagine the conference or the game without him in it?
COACH WRIGHT: I know how I feel right now, and I'm excited about coaching a lot more years. I would never want to make a decision right now.
I could probably be talked into retiring the way you feel right now. Tomorrow we'll be excited about the next year. So I hope he waits a couple days.
He's a young, energetic guy. He's a big part of our conference. Their program is a big part of our conference. UConn basketball is Jim Calhoun. It starts with Jim Calhoun. I really couldn't imagine UConn without Jim Calhoun.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you, coach.

End of FastScripts

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