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March 20, 2010

Eric Hayes

Landon Milbourne

Greivis Vasquez

Gary Williams


THE MODERATOR: We'll go ahead and get started with questions for the Maryland student-athletes.

Q. For all three of you guys, this is the third time you guys have been in this second round of the tournament and haven't gotten past this so far. How meaningful is it to you guys to be able to get to the second weekend of the tournament both just for your own experiences and also for kind of cementing what you guys were all about over your four years at Maryland?
LANDON MILBOURNE: It was real big for us. The whole point of coming to this tournament is to get wins and see how far you can make it. So this was real big for us. We came into this tournament thinking that we could make it far. And we're just going to try to do whatever we can to get this win tomorrow.
ERIC HAYES: I agree with Landon. I think it's very important for us. We failed two times to get to the Sweet 16, so this is the year that especially for our last year being seniors that we want to make that happen.
GREIVIS VASQUEZ: It's definitely important for all of us.

Q. For all three of you, you guys are familiar with Michigan State. You've either played them or been around them in the same tournament or preseason tournament or whatever, at this point does that make it easy for you in terms of preparation going into the game or as some Michigan State players said it's a different team this year than they were last year and can you just go into how that changes at all just being familiar with them if it does at all.
GREIVIS VASQUEZ: We played them at least twice, we know their system and they know our system. So all I got to say is that it's going to be a great game, two great coaches and it's going to be one of those games that you can't really make that many mistake, you got to execute your offense and you got to play good defense. So other than that, I don't have anything else to say.
ERIC HAYES: I think that both of us will know each other pretty well coming into this game. I think we both know personnel pretty well and having played them twice we kind of know the style of play that they play. So I think that it's going to come down to execution at the end of the game.
LANDON MILBOURNE: I don't think any preparation is easy. I think that it's going to take a lot of focus for us to do what we do as far as watching film and learning their plays as much as possible, but it's definitely going to have to come down to execution and it's going to be a small margin of error tomorrow, but hopefully we can come out on top.

Q. Eric, one of the things some of the guys were talking about was that you guys didn't press as much as you thought you could have or would have liked to. Do you guys see yourselves doing that any more in tomorrow's game?
ERIC HAYES: Houston was a different kind of style of team. We didn't really want to press and give them, let them have easy shots in transition from the perimeter. I think maybe we might press a little bit more against Michigan State just because they're a little more balanced on offense but it's really just based on how the game's going for us.

Q. Question for Landon, you can play outside or inside a little bit, but against a team like Michigan State that can rebound particularly well, do you see yourself and have you emphasized more on maybe playing inside and helping on the boards?
LANDON MILBOURNE: I'm just going to do whatever it takes for to us win. I really don't care about position-wise or where I'm at on the floor as long as I'm doing what my team needs for me to win then I'm okay with that.

Q. For any of you, Jordan Williams has been kind of up-and-down at times this year. What did you see out of him that he was so effective last night and what do you hope to see for him to maintain that tomorrow?
GREIVIS VASQUEZ: Well, he's hungry. He's a guy that wants to learn. He wants to win so bad that he will do whatever it takes. So yesterday was a great game for him and his confidence level is going to be high. And tomorrow's going to be another challenge for him. So I think that we have a lot of trust in him and he definitely, I think he's going to have a good game tomorrow and he's one of those guys that are going to make the difference in the game because he can dominate the boards. So tomorrow's going to be huge challenge for him so he has to be ready for that.

Q. Greiv, how were you able to win the individual matchup against Kalin at the Old Spice Classic last year?
GREIVIS VASQUEZ: Well I thought he played well. We both played well. I respect him, he's a great point guard. We play against each other pretty good at the game this past summer so it's going to be fun, man, that's why we are so happy that we're in the NCAA tournament because you want to face guys like him. Playing against the leading scorer in the country yesterday, it's only going to get me better as well as Kalin getting better too. So the level of competition is going to be unbelievable tomorrow. So I just looking forward for that. And it's going to be fun.

Q. For Landon, one of the things that was really good about the offense against Houston was the balance. What is it about the offense right now that is making you guys able to spread the scoring around so evenly?
LANDON MILBOURNE: The big thing about us is we trust each other a lot. We move the ball, we don't really have a problem with moving the ball and we have a lot of systems on this team. We got like nine assists yesterday, but that's the thing with us, we trust each other, we find each other when we're open and we run our offense pretty well. Usually when we do that we get wins. So that will be a big thing about tomorrow is just executing the offense and doing what we have to do to score and come down on defense and get stops.

Q. Did you say it was the Lebron James camp over the summer?

Q. What kind of things did you learn from him by playing with Kalin all summer?
GREIVIS VASQUEZ: I like his attitude that he got for the game. He's pretty intense. When we were doing drills and stuff like that, he was going extremely hard. And he's good. He can pass the ball pretty well. He can get to the rim. He can do a lot of different things like you heard like the other opponents that can hurt them. He's a good player overall and his team really needs him to have a good game for them to beat us. So it's going to be, it's going to be good. I hope that we both guard each other, because it's going to really get us better. But it's not about us, it's just about winning the game and obviously we're trying to win this game.

Q. Eric, what do you think about the pace of tomorrow's game? Do you guys think they're going to try to slow things down and then you guys will try to speed things up or how do you think that plays out?
ERIC HAYES: Well they typically like to slow it down a little bit. But we have seen that they like to run after scores and try to get it down quick to get some easy looks. So we want to kind of push the tempo a little bit and get it up-and-down and just have to see how the game's going and see how each team's playing.

Q. Greiv, I wonder what you've seen in Michigan State defensively that's unique. They also have 6'8" Raymar who will be playing defense on you as well. What unique challenges do they present?
GREIVIS VASQUEZ: Well, I know it's going to be hard for me to score and all that, but I'm not really worrying about -- I'm really worried about, I'm really concerned about getting my teammates better. I think if I do a good job of just getting everybody involved that I'm positive that they're going to get off me a little bit so they're going to let me play my game.
So like say, I just want to win this game as a team. I don't want to be a hero, I don't want to be the guy that, oh, you know, we won it because I think Eric and Landon, they do such a great job. We all do a great job just helping each other out. So tomorrow, hopefully Eric or Landon will take over if I'm off. But like say, I think in order for to us win tomorrow, you got to take it, it's going take a team effort tomorrow. And obviously I have to play well for my team, but I'm just ready to play. I just want to play the game. I want to have fun. This is what I, you know, March Madness, this is what it's all about.
THE MODERATOR: Okay. We'll excuse the Maryland student-athletes. Thank you. We'll take questions for coach.

Q. You faced Michigan State a couple times in the past couple years, how is the chess match played out between you and Coach Izzo?
COACH WILLIAMS: I've known Tom a long time. Going back to when I was in the Big-10. He's put a stamp on that program. Whenever you play at Michigan State, you know you're going to get a certain intensity level, defensively, rebounding-wise, and so sometimes you hope you play a team that won't be ready for you, that won't play hard, whatever, well that's not the case in this situation. They're coming after you, hopefully we can get after them and that's why we have had some great games when we have played each other.

Q. What were you able to do so effectively against them in the Old Spice Classic? Especially getting Raymar into foul trouble and getting him out of the game pretty early?
COACH WILLIAMS: Well I think that you can run into some trouble if you try to change a whole lot of things. Especially this time of year. Last year it was early in the season, Michigan State went on to have a great year, get to the Final Four.
We shot it well that day, I remember that. I'll look at the tape tonight of that game, but I think the big thing for us out here is just to keep playing the way that got us here. We can't make a lot of changes now and I think both coaches of both teams have an idea of what the other team does and you have to go play. Now you have to put it out there on the court.

Q. How would you describe the differences in these two teams style?
COACH WILLIAMS: I think we both like to do the same things in terms of our defense, play primarily man-to-man defense, we were able to get to the offensive glass last night which really helped us like Michigan State. That's a big part of their team it seems like every year.
Hopefully we take good shots. Michigan State runs a lot of good sets, where you have to be really smart to get some help to cover some things. And hopefully we do. So I think both teams like to play a team game. You look at Michigan State and they have really good balance in their scoring. I think that's a characteristic of good teams because if you shut one person down, there's still people that are use to scoring that can take over the situation. And last night for instance I thought that Vasquez played a great floor game. He really did a good job with the ball. But he didn't have one of his better shooting nights, but because Jordan Williams and Landon Milbourne really stepped up. We were still effective and could score in the '80's last night. So I think that's what both teams try to do is to try to play balanced game, even though there's some outstanding players on both teams.

Q. Do you think that you prefer a faster pace? Does your team play faster than they do?
COACH WILLIAMS: I think Michigan State really looks to go. When they get the ball, I think their transition is one of the best things they do and they will get it down here and take a quick shot if it's a good shot. And we try to do that too, we try to run as much as possible. Part of being a running team though is knowing what a good shot is and not to take bad shots in transition because they probably go the other way pretty quickly and the other team scores, so I think it's tough on the players sometimes because they're going so hard to just be able to think what a good shot is. So that's what you try to get to with your team. And that's a gradual thing for us that goes on as the year goes on. You get better at that because you almost have to be out there in the court against other people to really get a feel for that.

Q. Do you think Vasquez has to come out and score more points more early tomorrow for you guys to have success?
COACH WILLIAMS: When we have been good we have had our best wins this year is when Greiv, if he does score, that's great, but when the ball's moving, that's when we're really good. When he gets the ball moving and we kind of key off of him by now this time of year, so when he can get us into our play, when he can find people that are open, that really helps us because one of the things I've told Greiv during the year is when you're a great player like he is, if you can get everybody involved or early in the game, then when it comes time where the other people have to make big shots they have already had the ball they have already taken some shots so they're much more comfortable in that situation.

Q. Could you just talk about the contrasts between getting ready for Michigan State and getting ready for Houston in the sense that you kind have a little bit better idea of what you're going to get, they probably have a little bit better idea of what they're up against as opposed Houston where there's so much of an unknown factor.
COACH WILLIAMS: Houston was really a tough team to prepare for because they go with four guards a lot of the time and we just don't see that much during the year.
So that was very difficult. And they're -- Houston's not afraid to shoot. And I think they're very confident to have your players play where if they're open, they're going to fire, they're going to take quick shots in transition and they had, they had in Coleman, a guy that obviously he did, he got 26, he got his average last night, so that was then. Now you play Michigan State, you get into a more balanced situation with their scoring, they have a great player in Lucas, but the scoring is balanced and we had our way inside last night, we're going to have to fight a lot harder on the glass tomorrow. We know that. Things won't be that easy.
So that's what you prepare for. But things like that, this time of year, there are things you have to be able to do, there are things that hopefully you've been able to do to get to this point. So it's not like you can walk into practice today and say okay we're going to be a good offensive rebounding team tomorrow. That's got to be into your team by now and hopefully we'll get that done.

Q. Jordan has had quiet games and then he's been explosive like he was last night. What does he need to do to have another performance like that against Michigan State?
COACH WILLIAMS: He's just got to go after it. When Jordan's active I think that's what he's learning is as a freshman, is he's got to be active, no matter who we play against and he was very active last night and if he can do the same thing it won't be, there will be more bigger stronger people out there against him, but he can still accomplish some of the same things he has had some good games against some really big teams in our conference and hopefully he can do the same thing.

Q. Operation Hardwood from a couple years ago is a great event. How did the idea come about and how did you become closer to Coach Izzo during your time there?
COACH WILLIAMS: It came from all the -- a lot of the wounded veterans would come back to Walter Reed Hospital there in Washington, D.C. and there was a person I was associated with, he used to do my television show by the name of Rick Kell. And he got involved with that and he put together Operation Hardwood. I didn't go the first year, I went the second year and Tom was there, I think Tom might have gone the first year also. And we were over there with Tubby Smith, Kelvin Sampson, Rick Barnes, and you're in Kuwait, you're about 25 miles from the border, so it was really a great experience to do that. Because you would be in a cafeteria like at noon having lunch and a sitting around talking and the great thing was that they had us sit with each guy had his group of players that you coach. And there was guys there that would eat lunch and they would get on a truck and drive up to Iraq going to Baghdad that day, so you know you got a pretty good feel of what the real world was. The other thing you got was a different perspective from those guys. You read the paper, you hear the news and you hear one thing, then you listen to the people that are actually fighting over there and it was pretty interesting.

Q. Did you pass on a story or an anecdote from your time over there to your team when you returned?
COACH WILLIAMS: No, I just told them that when we were there they would get up like it was 118 degrees during the day, and so they would get up and do their physical training at 6 o'clock when it's probably around 100 degrees or something like that, and the other thing they did was it was during the NBA playoffs it was like June I guess, the guys would get up at 4 o'clock in the morning just to watch the playoffs because of the time difference. I mean it was so anything connected to the United States is really big over there. So I told my players, I said, most of the guys I coached over there were your age. The same age as the guys you're going against. And I said, so hopefully we all appreciate what we have here at the University of Maryland and those guys are over there doing a great job for us.

Q. I have a tough time following that one up. What impact on the game might Chris Allen's bum ankle have?
COACH WILLIAMS: Well, the one thing I've learned is you don't even think about that until you get out there and start playing. There's been too many times where guys supposedly have been hurt and all of a sudden they get 20 against you. When it comes time to play. So I'm not really -- we don't do anything differently. We're just preparing for those guys being a hundred percent and playing and whatever happens, happens. This time of year, quite a few guys are nicked up. You don't talk about it, but each team probably has a couple guys that aren't a hundred percent. So we'll see how it goes.

Q. Coach, Michigan State's the last surviving Final Four team from last year that's still alive in the NCAA tournament. Can you talk about maybe what that says about their ability to be consistent in a time when there's lots of turnover in basketball?
COACH WILLIAMS: I guess Tom has had five Final Four teams in 10, 11 years, I think that's -- I think that says it all. To be able to do that, that's different players, all those things that go into creating a team that gets to the Final Four to be able to come back and do that on a consistent basis, I don't think anybody's done a better job in the country. So that's what they do. And see Tom has a system he believes in, he's not going to change much. And he recruits players that can play that way and that's been very successful for him.
THE MODERATOR: Okay. I think that's it. Thank you.

End of FastScripts

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