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March 8, 2011

Jimmy Butler

Darius Johnson-Odom

Buzz Williams


Marquette – 87
Providence - 66

THE MODERATOR: We'll start with questions for the players.

Q. For the entire seen you've showed tenacity on both sides of the court so talk about how that was overwhelming for Providence tonight?
JIMMY BUTLER: We did what we're supposed to do, we took up space that was real big for us. They're really big when it comes to tapping balls to theirself and we are definitely undersized. As far as offense thing goes, we just kept on getting the ball into the paint as we try to do every game and just hit the man for the open shot.
DARIUS JOHNSON-ODOM: I think we just did a great job mentally preparing for the game. It's hard to beat a team twice so we had to come out do what we do best on both ends of the floor like you said. We did a great job of finding each other, getting paint touches. Jimmy did a great job on the boards and finding people. Our bigs Davante and Chris played unbelievable tonight. Chris owned the glass on defense and offense and Davante came in and gave us a huge spark on offensive end and rebounds. If we get those guys to play like that every game, I think we're going to be fine.

Q. Your transition offense was really good all night long. Is that a carry-over from what happened in Milwaukee? Did you guys see that you could just beat them down the floor?
JIMMY BUTLER: I definitely think so. This whole week in practice their guards tend to get in and rebound and we can get a lot of quick baskets since they don't get back on defense, and that was big for us, since our transition was taking off and we kick the ball ahead and attack the basket and when we do that we score a lot of easy layups.
DARIUS JOHNSON-ODOM: Our transition is something we do work on. It's a huge part of our offense and I think if we can get easy baskets it's going to help us a lot.
It's going to be hard for a lot of teams to stop that because we're so athletic, we've got a lot of athletic guys and guys that play different positions and it helps to get down the floor with those type of guys.

Q. Jimmy, last three games have been a pretty special run for you individually, 20 points each game, does this reflect a state of mind in your game or does it happen that this has been a hot streak for you and the teams just kind of ride your back?
JIMMY BUTLER: I don't know what to say. I feel like I've been playing like this way the entire year. I just think that my teammates make shots when I throw it to them. I've been much more aggressive on the offensive end, but I think when it comes to the defensive end that's what starts everything for me and that's what starts everything for my teammates. So when we are guarding, it will look like I'm playing a lot better. It will look like my teammates are playing a lot better. I definitely suggest that we keep guarding and it will look like this.

Q. Can you guys talk about the thought of playing West Virginia, what you remember about playing them New Year's Day?
JIMMY BUTLER: They're a good team. They switch almost every ball screen, down screen. They're a great offensive rebounding team, they have plenty of good players so we got to rest up. We've got to get ready to compete. That thing is going to be a fight. The toughest team is going to win, they're just like us in many ways so we have to prepare like we prepare for any other game and go out there and make it a dog fight.
DARIUS JOHNSON-ODOM: It's going to be a fight, it's going to come down to a one-possession game. They're long, athletic and versatile so they can do a lot of things at a lot of different positions.
I think it's going to take a lot of fight, a lot of hard work, a lot mentally for us to come out and win that game. And we got to be mentally prepared. I think we got to come out and fight.

Q. I know you go one day at a time but a win tonight, was it the perfect medicine for what you guys were going through the past couple of weeks?
JIMMY BUTLER: Definitely. It's a brand new season, anything can happen, but if we continue to fight and continue to play "D", guard, get back in transition, we could be in New York for a while.

Q. Buzz I know you love this question, does this allow you to take a deep breath here going into tomorrow? Obviously you've got more ball to play but this question about are you in, are you in, are you in, do you feel better about having won this one?
COACH WILLIAMS: I think we need to continue to win, I didn't see anybody from the selection committee in attendance tonight. Hopefully the win helps. Obviously it doesn't hurt but does it ensure that we're in the NCAA Tournament? I don't know. As I've said all along to you, not to be condescending or arrogant there is a lot of people that make money covering college basketball but all the ones that are talking about are you in, are you out, none of those people are on the selection committee. It's rhetoric, to an extent and I know that's part of what you're supposed to talk about but does that mean we're in, I don't know.
But I know that we played as well as we have played in a long time. I thought our energy level was extremely high. We had 20 assists, that's a season high. We had 53 rebounds, that's a career high since I've been employed at Marquette. I thought our guys were all pulling for one another. I thought that they played with great passion, thought that there were times when the -- the last three shots they took in the first half and then there was a run there kind of two minutes into the second half where our guys could have faltered, but I thought their character was outstanding so we're thankful to continue to play.

Q. Coach, how do you think playing in the Big East affects your chances of making the postseason, the NCAA postseason because you could say it helps because your strength of schedule is good, gives you an opportunity to play good teams but maybe it hurts because there are no off games and some people say 11 teams is too much?
COACH WILLIAMS: I was watching The Sunbelt Conference Championship game the first 5 minutes before we came over here and that was the only other league that I've been privileged to be a head coach in and I was thinking about how you work your entire year to have a chance to play in that game. Knowing that you have to win that game to play in the NCAA Tournament. As I was leaving, I was thinking, headin' to the bus, you could almost, in a capsule, say that every game that you play in the Big East is of that same magnitude because of all of the factors that you mentioned; strength of schedule, RPI. It's the depth of the league which everybody talks about but it's in addition to the depth of the league, it's the depth of the talent on each of those teams in the league.
That's what grinds you up and that's what wears you out. You know, that is -- it's an unforgiving league, but, yet, that's why you have to get to the next game whether you had success or failure because the next team you're going to play, it can either compound the problem that you just had, or it can somewhat minimize the problem that I had in the previous game. So I think it's a short shelf life is what I think that it is.
It eats you up and you age and you gain bad weight and you have trouble sleeping as a coach.

Q. Coach, you match over West Virginia pretty well. What adjustments do you have to make to make sure you guys win another game against them?
COACH WILLIAMS: Jimmy is the smartest player I've ever coached and if you guys would have directed that question to me I would have said the same thing Jimmy said. They're coached by a Hall of Fame coach. They have switchables on their team. I think they play incredibly hard. They're the hardest playing team in the country, you could argue. They won't beat themselves, you're going to have to beat them. They minimize turnovers, Cincinnati, West Virginia, Marquette are the best in the country annually in turnovers per game. It's hard to score on 'em in transition, they're just fundamentally sound, and they want to turn it into a slug fest and I just think that's how Coach Huggins coaches and that's how he recruits and I think his players take on the personality of him.

Q. Brooks' numbers were almost identical to the first time you played, did you do pretty much the same thing, was that the game plan going into it, with Jimmy doing most of the work and did you switch anything up on him at all?
COACH WILLIAMS: I was trying to as best I could. I think I did it on four different occasions. I was trying to get Jimmy three or four possessions of a breather right before a media time out and D.J. would guard him. I think that Jimmy's length changes how Brooks plays because Jimmy's to an extent just as long as Brooks is. I think he's a really good player that with space and rhythm is as good as any player that I've seen at his size but I think that Jimmy minimizes the space because of his length and I think that changes a little bit, maybe, we hope, how he plays but relative to the scheme of what we did a couple of weeks ago it was the same.
What changed the scheme was when Council was playing as well as he did.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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