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March 10, 2011

Bill Carmody

Drew Crawford

Alex Marcotullio

Michael Thompson


Northwestern – 75
Minnesota - 65

COACH CARMODY: Well, you go into the game and you just think, we split with them during the year. You know, it's a big, strong, physical team, and so we just didn't want to get killed off the back boards, one; and then two, didn't want to let Hoffarber get too many open looks.
I just look at the stats here, it says 41-35 in rebounds. I just felt like we weren't getting killed off the back boards. As long as we stay within ten, I usually feel pretty good.
And then I think we did a pretty nice job on Blake, and that's not an easy thing to do. You know, we're down a couple guys, so I was just real happy with the performance in the second half especially. You know, some guys who didn't play that well in the first half came through and played well in the second half.
Mike had a special game, which is great, but I just thought like Drew and -- there was a point there with Drew and Luka, throwing it down and just sort of old-fashioned give and go things, that was real important. And then Alex had another very good game for us. He just seemed to be all around.
So it's a good win for us, and we get an opportunity to play the No. 1 team in the country, which I think is a challenge certainly, but that's why you're playing at this level, so you can play against good guys.

Q. Question for Juice Thompson. 35 points, I'm not sure if you're aware but it's a single game record in the Big Ten Tournament. Talk about if that means anything to you, and it seemed like a couple times you just were on fire.
MICHAEL THOMPSON: That doesn't mean anything. I'm just happy my team came out and we were able to get a win. I think as a team, we did a good job of moving the ball around and just finding the right guys, and everyone stepped up and made shots.

Q. Juice, a couple times there you hit big shots and the tongue came out. Is that after you hit a big one, is that just your little personal celebration?
MICHAEL THOMPSON: It just happens out of instincts, I guess. I'm not sure exactly when it happens, it just happens.
You know, my team played well and we had a lot of energy going from the players on the court as well as our people on the bench.

Q. Drew, can you talk a little bit about Juice's game and your thoughts when he really started getting it going?
DREW CRAWFORD: Yeah, well, say this all the time. Juice is our leader out there and he does an unbelievable job leading the team, whether it's passing the ball, scoring it, or just running the team. He had an unbelievable game, and him getting going really helps us get going as a team, too, and we came out and played great all together.

Q. Just going against Ohio State now after having come so close, whichever players want to address, what do you think about this chance?
ALEX MARCOTULLIO: I think this time around we're going to go about our business the same way and just control the game and try to take them out of what they do best. You know, as a team we have to come together and win three more games to get through this tournament. I think today was a great step, and we've just got to continue on.
DREW CRAWFORD: Yeah, well, we had a tough one against Ohio State earlier in the year. So we know we can play with these guys, and we're going to be real excited for tomorrow.

Q. Juice, I just wanted to ask you, also, what do you remember about that last game against Ohio State? Obviously you guys were trying to -- you were in a position to win the game late before the steal.
MICHAEL THOMPSON: The thing that we remember the most, we were competing with them and we were right there with them the entire game. We just had some mental lapses toward the end, and down the stretch we just didn't make plays. We're going to go into the game with our same approach and the same game plan.

Q. Kind of along the same lines with the tongue coming out, you seemed like you were a little bit more emotional throughout the game. Is that just a result of this being your last go-around?
MICHAEL THOMPSON: I think that's just the result of just playing and feeding off the energy of the crowd as well as my teammates who are on the court as well as on the bench.

Q. For whichever players want to talk about Nick Fruendt's contributions.
ALEX MARCOTULLIO: You know, Nick was huge today. Coach Carmody gave him a little chance and he told us in the locker room if Nick wasn't going to produce in the first half, he probably wasn't going to go back. But Nick stepped up huge in the first half, made some big plays. And then the second half, he started us off by hitting that huge three. So I think he carried us with his energy and he made a few plays on the defensive end, as well, so I think Nick stepped in and did a great job for us.

Q. Coach, just talk about the short turnaround. Playing a noon start tomorrow, you're not really used to that and such a short turnaround against a good team. What's the game planning like?
COACH CARMODY: Yeah, well, it's the second time, and these guys know all the players on every team in the Big Ten, and guys at Ohio State know our guys. You know, they're pretty straightforward. They're good guys, they're well coached, they're playing man-to-man most of the time. So there aren't too many things that are going to trick you.
The turnaround, they're 20 years old, you know what I mean? We practiced in the fall at 9:00 in the morning. I'll just remind them that there are no excuses.

Q. Can you put this performance by Thompson in perspective in terms of great scoring performances you've seen at Northwestern and just where does it rank, and can you put it in perspective?
COACH CARMODY: Yeah, well, you know, it's the beginning of the tournament, so you get a chance, like I said, to play the No. 1 team in the country. Mike has been playing at an extremely high level, not just the last couple games but like seven or eight games. He's playing so hard.
We had a talk about maybe it's three and a half weeks ago, something like that, and just said, it doesn't look good unless we win the tournament for the NCAAs, but you've got to play -- you're a senior and you play the way you know how and the way you've been taught and the way you've been brought up, and let that show on the court.
As the captain and leader, you have to bring your team along. You know, and I think he's done a terrific job, remarkable job in his own game and the way he's played in just bringing some of these other guys along. Marcotullio, backcourt partner now that JerShon is down has played some good games, Curletti has given us some real good minutes. So it's just really good to see the way he's performed and helped the team.

Q. Early thoughts on Ohio State tomorrow, anything you might have learned from playing them right down to the last minute?
COACH CARMODY: Give everything away? What do you want from me? No, I thought we controlled the tempo of the game pretty much in that game, and we made some very, very tough shots, you know, in the last, say, seven seconds of the clock. So I suspect that they'll try to up the tempo a little bit and try to take us out of our routines and stuff.
My thoughts on playing them, I saw the Wisconsin game, you know, a few days ago, so it's a little scary because they have so many different weapons. They don't all have to perform well on a given day. Certain guys can have just average games and they can win big. So I mean, it's a big challenge for us. But that's why we're here.

Q. Not to make you give away all the secrets, but how does having Shurna as opposed to JerShon change the match-ups with Ohio State?
COACH CARMODY: How they're going to play us, do you mean?

Q. Yeah.
COACH CARMODY: Yeah, we actually went -- because John didn't play in the last game, we decided to change the tempo of the game and to try to slow it down a little bit. What was the score in that game? It was like high 50s, I think, 58-57? Yeah, and we kept it down a little bit. I think somewhere in between. I think we still have to get out when we can and throw it up the side and try to knock down some shots, get some early offense. But then after that against a team like this, you have to make them guard you.

Q. Any change JerShon or Capocci can play for you tomorrow? And did Alex have that right about what you said at halftime about Fruendt?
COACH CARMODY: No, I didn't say that at halftime, I said it at the end of the game. I just said it to him ten minutes ago. I said, you know, when you have a lot of guys in there like Shurna know when he's not playing too well, he's not going to play. Drew knows that, a lot of guys know that, but I told Nick it was a terrific performance because he knew it and everyone knew it. If he didn't play well in the first half, he probably wasn't going to go back in there, try someone else or do something differently. So that's added pressure, and he was cool out there and he did everything he should do. I just thought it was a terrific performance on his part for a guy who hasn't played that much.

Q. And Capocci?
COACH CARMODY: Yeah, JerShon is out, not going to play. And Capocci it's day-to-day, so I haven't talked to the trainer today about him.

Q. You talked about the defense against Blake Hoffarber. Can you talk about what your team was able to do effectively to prevent him from getting those open shots?
COACH CARMODY: You know, we just were more aware of him. Mike has been playing -- they've been going against each other, so we just said don't go under screens against him, just try your best. You know, he has to do a lot more than just make shots for that team now that he's lost his point guard, so it's a difficult thing for him because he's trying to help some of those big guys, he's expected to do a lot. I'm not saying we wiped him out or anything, I'm just saying the guys played hard and made it tough on him, and I think that was important towards us winning this game.

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