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March 17, 2011

Bradford Burgess

Joey Rodriguez

Jamie Skeen

Shaka Smart


GREG GREENWELL: We have student-athletes from VCU Joey Rodriguez, Bradford Burgess, and Jamie Skeen. We'll go ahead and start with some questions.

Q. Joey, could you tell me what time you all got out of Dayton last night, what time you got here, and the effect of the quick turnaround.
JOEY RODRIGUEZ: We left Dayton -- we got on the plane about 2:15, and I think we got to Chicago about 3:00 something central time, I think it was. Actually, 2:00 something central time because we lost an hour. We're fine. We're young guys. I felt like I could have played today, to it will you the truth. I think we're all fine. Quick turnaround is not a big deal.

Q. Guys, a lot of emotion involved in last night's game. How do you guys continue that and channel that into tomorrow?
BRADFORD BURGESS: I think it's just a continued focus with every opponent that we play. Just following our game plan. You know, not letting things get too emotional because that can mess us up as well.
But if we just follow our game plan tomorrow, things will be fine.
JAMIE SKEEN: I feel like yesterday's game was yesterday's game. I mean, we got a new team to play. So we got a new game plan. So we're just going to go out and try to play Georgetown real tough.

Q. Jamie, how much film have you guys seen on Georgetown, and how much work have you been able to do on them in a very short amount of time?
JAMIE SKEEN: We watched some film early this morning. Well, not early this morning, probably around 12:00 today. They've got some talented guys and some talented guards. All three of their guards are really good. We're going to have a rough task, but it's nothing that we can't handle.

Q. Joey, kind of along the same lines, can you describe playing defense against their -- or having to guard their guys.
JOEY RODRIGUEZ: Yeah. They're really talented. They all score in different ways. So we're going to have to stop their actions. They kind of run plays but just with more talented guys. We're going to have to stay in the stance and communicate. I think it's going to be tough, but I think we'll be up for it.

Q. Can you guys just kind of continue that -- you guys went in with sort of an underdog mentality the other night. Are you guys still taking that mentality coming into this game?
JOEY RODRIGUEZ: Yeah, for sure. It's Georgetown, you know. Big East team, and people are probably doubting us right now too. So we're going to have to take that mentality into this game.
As long as we're in attack mode and attacking them, then I think we'll be fine.
GREG GREENWELL: We have VCU head coach Shaka Smart. Coach, you can start with an opening statement, and then we'll take a few questions.
COACH SMART: I'm really excited about this matchup with Georgetown tomorrow. They have a storied basketball program with a terrific coach and very talented players. So it's going to be a heck of a challenge for us.
Our guys did a great job yesterday buying into and executing our game plan against USC. I think that's what allowed us to win.
We got into Chicago about 3:30 in the morning, but our guys were able to get plenty of rest today. We'll get more rest tonight and be ready to go tomorrow.

Q. You get in on Sunday, prep for USC, play last night, fly in last night. You've got to prep for Georgetown, turn around and play tomorrow. Could you just talk about what a whirlwind it's been for you this week and how your team is responding to it.
COACH SMART: It's been a quick turnaround for both of these games because obviously you never know who you're going to get on selection Sunday, and we were in a position where we weren't positive which tournament we were going to be in. Obviously, we got the news we wanted, that we were selected to be in the NCAA Tournament, and then we started our preparation immediately for USC.
You try to watch as many game tapes as you can and get a feel for your opponent as best you can, but to be honest, that's secondary to preparing your team in terms of their mindset going into the game, and I think our coaching staff, particularly Will Wade, who had to scout for USC, did a great job of that going into last night's game.
We were fortunate to win last night. Again, it's another quick turnaround. But our guys are basketball players. They're competitors. They would have played today if the game was today. We'll do what we need to do from a preparation standpoint, a tactical standpoint, but that's a distant second to having our minds right and making sure that we're in attack mode going into this game tomorrow night.

Q. How much of a difference does it make facing Georgetown with Wright back as opposed to maybe not -- when you drew Georgetown on Sunday, not knowing for sure if he was going to be playing or not.
COACH SMART: It's a huge difference. Any time you play a team with arguably their first or second best player in the lineup or out of the lineup, that can make a huge, huge difference. But to be honest with you, I didn't see Georgetown's last four games until we won last night.
So up until last night, I hadn't really thought about Georgetown much without Chris Wright. So it's not really an adjustment or anything that we have to change in our mindset because, as I've watched Georgetown over the years, over the last few years, he's been a focal point of what they do. And as we watch tape, the majority of the games we'll watch will be games he played in.
So we're going to prepare, of course, as if he's going to be out there playing 30-plus minutes, and I'm sure he will.

Q. How long did you give yourself last night to celebrate the win before you started thinking of Georgetown, and what do you think you need to take away from Georgetown in order to win?
COACH SMART: Well, as far as the celebration, it wasn't too much time because we got back in the locker room after the game and we tried to have a mini-celebration as a team after every win because one of the things we talk about in our program, don't take any win for granted. I don't care who it's against or what time of year it is.
We wanted to make sure our guys understood, hey, we just won an NCAA Tournament game. But really from there, we went to talk to the media, and it was full steam ahead to preparing for Georgetown.
I think, when the season gets done, we'll have an opportunity to look back and dwell on some of our games, particularly here at the end of the year. But for right now, honestly, I didn't even watch the USC tape from last night. It's been moving onto our next opponent, which is Georgetown.
In terms of what we need to do against them, very, very talented, talented team, particularly on the perimeter. So many weapons.
I would say, first and foremost, we can't allow them to have too many baskets in transition. They do a great job getting out, pushing the ball. They've got three extremely talented dangerous perimeter players that any one of them can get it and go, in Wright, Clark, and Freeman.
So we're going to have to do a great job of getting back, communicating, getting our matchups. I think from there we have to do a terrific job creating penetration. All three of those guys plus several other players do a great job of getting in the lane. Of course, the stuff they run makes it hard to guard them because it puts you in help situations and puts you in situations where you're chasing screens, chasing cuts, and that's what allows them to get penetration.
We really have to sit down and guard and keep them from getting in the lane as best as we can. And the last thing is we've got to contest threes. They've got guys that can really get out there and make those shots, and we have to be sure to get out there and get those shots contested.

Q. Coach, you guys really seem to thrive off some things that were said earlier in the week, and in this season you've thrived on people who have kind of said some things about you. How do you keep the guys in that mindset as you guys sort of won a game and now move on?
COACH SMART: It's easy because people continue to doubt us. So there's always fodder for that -- you know, that type of thinking. For me as a coach, I really don't put a lot of stock into it, but I do feel like it's something we can use with our players.
It is important for me that I stand up for our guys because I think they've deserved everything that they've earned this year, everything they got this year. You know, when we go out there and play tomorrow, the reality is, when the ball goes up in the air, just like last night, the game's going to be determined by five guys on the floor in dark uniforms and five guys on the floor in light uniforms. The talking heads have nothing to do about it at that point.
But I think it is something that can give our guys a mental edge, and we're going to use that any chance we can.
GREG GREENWELL: Coach, thank you.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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