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March 12, 2010

Demetri McCamey

D.J. Richardson

Mike Tisdale

Bruce Weber


Illinois – 58
Wisconsin - 54

THE MODERATOR: We'll ask Coach Weber to make an opening statement. Coach?
COACH WEBER: Obviously it was a big game for us, and all the things that we didn't do well on Sunday against them, I thought our guys did a great job of preparation, listening, and we executed what we had talked about. And we didn't do a very good job on Sunday on the defensive end and the rebounding end. We won the battle of the boards. They still had 21. That really was kind of their only offense in the first half. But that was important.
And the whole thing, I told Demetri, Mike Davis, they needed their best defensive effort of the year. For most of it we did. Hughes didn't go down quiet, Bohannon, two seniors that have had great careers, put a scare into us, but we still won, and the most important thing is we're playing tomorrow. We came here to keep living one day at a time, so we're excited about it.

Q. This is for any of you three. This is the first win on a neutral court. How does it feel to get that monkey off your back this season?
DEMETRI MCCAMEY: It's great. When you keep losing away from home and things like that, your confidence gets shot down a little bit. But at the same time, we knew we could compete with a top-25 team, and we just wanted to prove on a new season and new court that we could come out and compete and win ball games.

Q. Mike, what did you think the difference was today, and when you play them last week?
MIKE TISDALE: Just the overall intensity. Coach said it, it's a whole different ball club today. We came out fired up. Everybody was getting in the stance, talking. We had energy. That's what we were missing at home. So you know, it's another day to live. Hopefully come out with the same thing tomorrow.

Q. Could you talk about the feeling on the floor when they cut the lead to two? What was going through your head at that point?
DEMETRI MCCAMEY: We didn't doubt ourselves. You could hear Coach Weber from all the way down the hall, "Keep your head up."
Me and Tisdale were talking to the fellows and kept our composure. Mike Davis was in there fighting, D.J. was in there fighting, and we got that one rebound, and it helped us seal the victory.

Q. Mike, did you go into this game thinking that you needed it to get into the NCAA Tournament? And what's your thought about that now?
MIKE TISDALE: We knew it couldn't hurt. The thought is we're in the Big Ten Tournament right now, we're not anywhere further than that. We play Ohio State tomorrow. There's no thought process after that. So we're going to go back to the hotel, get some good food, and we're going to get ready for Ohio State.

Q. Talk a little bit about your shooting. You're normally a pretty good 15-foot shooter, but today you had two three-pointers. You don't normally shoot three-pointers. Talk about that?
MIKE TISDALE: I was joking around with coach, shooting a little bit more of them in practice and they were open, so I was trying not to force anything, and I felt like if I was open and could shoot it, then I'm going to take it.

Q. For Demetri, Ohio State, obviously you've played them twice this year. They swept you guys and won by double digits. What's it going to take to turn that around?
DEMETRI MCCAMEY: The same thing today on the defensive end. We have to have another game where I play decent defense. Tomorrow we have to keep our mind on defense and keep our mind on Ohio State, and once we do that, I think we'll be fine.

Q. For D.J., talk about the Big Ten Tournament atmosphere and how that was.
D.J. RICHARDSON: It's great. Big Ten has been treating us well the whole year. That's why I chose this school to go to to play against these great Big Ten teams. We've got to wait for the matchup tomorrow. I think that will be a great matchup for us.

Q. D.J., when you hit the shot with I think around 6:50 or so, the three, a lot of people sitting there thought that might have been the dagger. Did you think at that point that maybe you had ended it?
D.J. RICHARDSON: Well, I did it before against Indiana, but I tried to stay confident and tried to get my swagger back and tried to knock down shots. I've been in a slump the last few games, so I tried to get the confidence back in my shot.
THE MODERATOR: You can go back to the locker room. Thank you. Questions for Coach Weber?

Q. Is it fair to say that through this year your team has played up to the competition and down to it? And I'm only saying that because I see Utah, Bradley, Minnesota, great wins today, and then Michigan State?
COACH WEBER: We have I believe the fourth-most top-RPI wins in the country. We have proven all year we can beat people. Ironically he brought up the thing about the neutral court. It's been a -- usually we've had great records on neutral courts, and we have a good fan following, whether it was at Georgia or in the United Center or Vegas, and we just haven't played well. Our focus has not been very good there. And I don't know if they played up or down to it. I think it's more that when they play a good team, they have a sense of urgency. Maybe a little fear factor. We haven't played well at home the last three games, and I think a little bit of a casual attitude. That's how our team has been all year. I think more than anything, casual, laid back, and that's what gets us in trouble.
I went back Monday. I told the coaches I'm going to coach the way I want to coach. We went after it for about an hour. All competitive drills, very physical, gave them a little bit of reprieves on Tuesday, came back, the same thing on Wednesday. I said, guys, this is how we should be playing all the time. I think we came back and got the message and that's how they played. If we have a chance we're going to have to battle tomorrow. Same thing. We're going to have to guard them. We've had bad matchups with them. But that's got to be our focus and let the scoring tomorrow.

Q. You just talked about the wins on the road and at home. Your history here is very good now, and now over a 60 percent winning percentage here with the win. Will that help you tomorrow?
COACH WEBER: Well, I hope so. We have great fan following no matter where we go. Our fans have stuck with us, so that's a positive. I don't know if there's any secret to it or whatever, but we get up for the tournaments.
Even two years ago when we had a real tough year, we ended up getting in the championship coming out of the bottom half of the league. Our guys rise up, play well, a little bit of fan following, enjoy the atmosphere. I don't know if there's any true secret, just hopefully we get them motivated and get them ready to play.

Q. You referenced Mike Davis' and Demetri's defense. How did they defend differently in this game?
COACH WEBER: Well, one, Demetri just gets casual. We demanded he play 40 minutes again. He's got to handle the ball, he's got to do the ball screens, he's got to make all the reads. I think we wear him out, and I think he takes time-out on the defensive end. That's really what we tried to emphasize to them.
Jordan Taylor took it to them on Sunday. We still had a few baskets, but I think we made them earn it. Mike Davis, he's just starting to come back. He played pretty good against Iowa the game before ours, and I think maybe unanticipated, they posted him up, and now we adjusted, and we said we've got to fight them in the post. We can't let them get it.
You know, one of the big things is play defense before your man gets the ball, because if you let him get it in his comfort zone, it's tough to stop them. I think they both did a good job of playing defense before their man got the ball, getting in the stands, fighting them, and we limit them. He still got 14, but I think he had to earn it much more than he did at our place on Sunday.

Q. Is it easier to coach a team up once you lose to them last week in preparation for them, or winning two games in a season, would it be harder to come back?
COACH WEBER: Well, the only reference I had was we beat Michigan State my second or third year here in the last game of the season at their place. And then we had to come back and play them here in Indianapolis, and they out-toughed us. They wanted it more. I thought that was going to be the key here. No matter what, those guys just beat us, and they're in good shape in the tournament. And I thought maybe the difference could be if we just kind of wanted it more, out-toughed them, and that might be a by-product of what you're talking about, the quick turnaround and maybe not playing as well on Sunday and a little more determination.

Q. What's your thoughts, there's been a lot of talk about going to 96 teams in the NCAA Tournament. What's your thoughts about perhaps expanding it?
COACH WEBER: Well, I've said since the beginning and I've said for years, I think it needs to expand. I didn't know about 96. If it goes there, I'd be happy. But I think at least a little bit -- those guys get to play the No. 1 seed, now you're getting another six, seven teams in the mix. So there's always going to be a few teams unhappy on Sunday. There's so much parity, you see it around the country. I was at Southern Illinois, I know how hard it is, I know how hard it is to get a schedule. So I think it's a good thing.
It's great for student-athletes. What is the best experience you can have as a student-athlete? To be in the tournament. And why not reward kids? And then as a coach, we're always worried about our jobs, and no matter what anyone says, if we get another 32 teams in, that means 32 guys probably keep their job a couple more years. And I'm for coaches because I know how hard a job it is, and it is for programs, for fans, too.

Q. If you would, what do you recall about your two games with Ohio State, what it takes to stop them and a comment or two on Evan Turner.
COACH WEBER: I thought he made an unbelievable shot today. I'm sure Coach Beilein is going to be living that one for many, many years, wake up with nightmares about that thing. They played so well, gave themselves a chance and then Evan hits the bomb to win it. Evan is a great player. He's versatile, he's improved. I've watched him since his sophomore year in high school and he continues to get better and better. He works at it, he loves it, he's grown, he's stronger, and he's way better than he was a year ago. So he's got unlimited potential.
We actually did okay on him. It was the other guys that really hurt us; Diebler had, I think, 13 threes against us, Lighty just drove by us. Those matchups are going to be important for us. We didn't score well at our place. They went 1-3-1 zone. We didn't shoot the ball well. They only had one possession at their place and we were able to score more, but they were playing for a Big Ten championship, it's 53-49, they get, boom boom boom, three plays, and now we grab the game for us at their place a couple weeks ago.
It's kind of ironic you have Wisconsin three times in a very short time, you have Ohio State three times -- less than a month. It makes it tough. Maybe we'll have the advantage, like you talked about, with Wisconsin. But no matter what, they've got to be feeling, first, relieved about today, and then second, we kicked Illini butt two times. I hope we can have a little bit of a mental edge.

Q. Piggybacking off the question before about the expansion, do you see the other side of the argument that we kind of live in a society where everybody gets a ribbon and maybe 96 teams might let everybody in?
COACH WEBER: I totally understand, and I think that's one of our faults in our society today. I don't mind it at a young age because I think you need to keep kids positive, interested, wanting to be part of it. I think too much is done with the kid that scores 30 points in a fourth grade game, and he's six-foot tall and everyone else is four-two. To me that's not good, either.
But at the same time, we have expanded the number of teams in Division I from when I started 30 years ago. You know, it's -- I don't know how many it is, maybe 75 or more teams have added on. But yet we've only -- we only grew one time in the tournament. And so why -- how come you don't keep up?
You know the old comparison with football, that they're getting half of the teams in the bowl game. Again, I just go back to the student-athlete. And there's so much parity, mid-majors, the budgets are better, the coaching is better. I was in the Valley; I know how good it is. There's two or three teams every year that could maybe get in the tournament that don't because of scheduling or whatever.
My year at the Valley, SIU won -- if you go back to our Sweet 16 year, I think we played 27 games away from home. We had -- if I'm right, we had our nine games in conference at home, and then maybe one or two non-conference games at home. The rest of them were neutral or away games. So you're talking tournaments, all that stuff. So it's tough to schedule. No one wanted to come to Carbondale. They told us that there was no way to get there because they didn't want to play there.
It's very tough, and I think it would help everybody to be honest.
THE MODERATOR: Coach, thank you.

End of FastScripts

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