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March 18, 2011

Rick Barnes

Jordan Hamilton

Tristan Thompson


Texas – 85
Oakland - 81

THE MODERATOR: Coach Barnes, an opening statement and then questions for the student-athletes.
COACH BARNES: Thank you. We just won a game against a team that everybody talks about seeds. They seem to always talk about the big schools. If there is any team program that really got a bad deal, it was Oakland. One, I've seen them. Great respect for Greg. He does it right. His teams play hard.
I'm telling you, we just won a game against an outstanding team. When you have the kind of year they have and you go out and play the non-league schedule that they play, because a lot of teams won't do that, and then you make the run that you make through your league, he's been there a long time. He's a great coach and he's got great respect.
But when that came up everybody looks at seeds and I wasn't going to talk about where we were because I'm not concerned about that. But I did tell our coaches if anybody got a bad deal in this deal it was Oakland. I look at them and believe me, they would finish in our league in the top half.
With that said, again, we just won a game against an outstanding team. A team that's tough, hard-nosed and not going away. We knew they'd fight. We could be a little better at the end, but you've got to give them credit for that, because again, I kept telling our team they're not going to go away. They stayed with it, but it was a nice win for us.

Q. Talk about your match-up with Keith Benson and what were you able to do to kind of frustrate him and limit his offensive ability?
TRISTAN THOMPSON: First off, he's an outstanding big man. We knew coming in trying to make it difficult for him. Trying to get him off the block, and have him resort to turn-around jumpers. I just tried to play defense and help my team win.

Q. Did you get any reaction out of him? He's a little taller than you. When you started blocking his shots, that probably doesn't happen to him that often.
TRISTAN THOMPSON: Not at all. He kept playing. He kept going up strong, and I was just trying to contest it. Just so happened I got some blocked shots, and went down the other end and we made something happen.

Q. If you could address how good Oakland is. Seems like you were up 12, 15, 17, but they wouldn't go away.
JORDAN HAMILTON: They have guys that can shoot the ball. Down the stretch they hit some key threes for their ballclub. And their coach did a great job telling them to run their sets and things like that, and I thought they set good screens too.

Q. Jordan, talk about Texas in the last 5 minutes offensively. Did you feel like maybe you lost a little momentum when you tried to start using the clock a little more?
JORDAN HAMILTON: Not at all. I thought that those guys did a great job of pressuring. We could have done a better job down the stretch of moving the ball around our offense. But other than that, I think those guys really played hard towards the end. But luckily we made some free throws.

Q. You were really attacking the basket today. I guess you missed your first few threes. Did you see something that opened up and that allowed you to attack the way you did and you ended up feeding Tristan a couple of times.
JORDAN HAMILTON: As of late, my three hasn't been falling, so I just said I'm going to go to the block and do anything I can to score the ball, and that's what I did the I saw that I had a smaller guy on me, and I took him straight to the block.

Q. Would you talk a little more about going into the lane and what it was like being contested by Hudson and Benson in there and what their length did?
JORDAN HAMILTON: I think they were worried about if a miss was to come off, Tristan might get an offensive rebound, so that opened the middle up for me to go in there and make lay-ups.

Q. How do you explain the free throws? Are you a great free throw shooting team all of a sudden, or what happened there?
JORDAN HAMILTON: I think after practice guys shoot free throws, and I think that's been helping us as of late. And J'Covan went 12 for 12, and that's a great thing for our team. If we can continue to knock them down, we can go really far.
TRISTAN THOMPSON: Continuing on what Jordan said, after practice every guy on the team stays up and gets extra free throw shooting. In situations like this, especially tight games, it's going to come down to free throws and you've got to make them if you want to advance; and like he said, J'Covan went 12 for 12, and it showed the extra time he put in.

Q. After the way your season ended last year, how does it feel to get off the schneid this season?
COACH BARNES: It's a new year. But, yeah, this is what we play for. I don't think there is any question this time of year. I've said before, you don't take for granted getting into the tournament, but once you're in it, you want to do something.
So, again, I think our team found a way to get some things done. There were some good things, and then at times we weren't as good as we want to be. But, again, Oakland is a terrific team. They really are.
Again, like I said, we won today against a really good basketball team. Obviously, everybody knows what the tournament's about. You get started. But as you keep going, you've got to hope you can keep playing well, keep playing better, and hope you can move on.

Q. What do you see in your two potential opponents for the next game on Sunday?
COACH BARNES: Well, again, they're here. They're outstanding. Obviously they've had success. I think both of those coaches I've known for a long time. They work extremely hard at the profession, they have great passion for it. Their teams, I think, mirror what they're about. You have two obviously very athletic teams, and two teams that, again, they compete.

Q. Coach Kampe said that he kind of cringed when he saw Texas come up at number 4 opposite Oakland. What were your thoughts when you saw Oakland at a 13 across from you?
COACH BARNES: Well, really I've said before, and I do believe this. Really and truly, the line you come in on, you can't do anything about it. But if you sit back and analyze it -- and I said this when I started -- for the year they had and where they went, I was surprised more for them than anything. Here's a team that's -- again, I did see them early in the year as we were getting ready to prepare for Michigan State, we looked closely at that tape because of the respect we have for Coach Kampe.
But we knew it was going to be tough, but I think they're all tough. Again, I told our players we're not going to talk about the line we went in on, because the fact of the matter is if you're good enough, you're good enough. But for them, I did talk about it with our staff because I just felt like they deserved a lower seed than they got.
But with that said, we were highly concerned coming in, and we made sure our players knew that we had to be ready to play and defend. The one thing we said coming in that we have to do is defend the three-point line. That's why we didn't give Tristan very much help down there. The second half we did a better job. The one thing, they shot 24%, but we were determined that we weren't going to give them any looks from the perimeter.
With that said, it opens up the floor and they made some nice moves. They're tough, hard-nosed kids and they missed and went and got it. But I tell you, when you look at their team, you have to have a lot to think about Will Hudson. I mean, when you game plan for a guy to try to keep him off the glass and he still goes to get it, it tells you how good and how tough a player he is.
But, again, they're a really good team. I thought we played well enough today to win. But we knew it was going in, it was going to be hard.

Q. Do you worry about anything that happened in the closing minutes of the game or does this kind of game help you in future tournament games?
COACH BARNES: Well, yeah. I thought in the last minute once we thought we had them, I told Jordan, he got the ball in the corner, just put the ball over his head thinking they weren't going to foul. Then we said with 1 point, whatever, don't foul, and Tristan did. But that's concentration.
Again, it's a good teaching point for us because you've got one guy in his first NCAA, and another guy in his second. But you can't let down. That is the thing. We have to stay in it mentally. Even when they were pressing, our guards I thought should have gotten the ball more than they did and advanced it. But, again, it's something we can learn from. No doubt it's something we have to learn from because we're going to be in close games if we play well.
But it was really a good win. At the end we wanted to defend the three-point line. We actually started switching in the last minute, and then they drove it a little bit. But Jordan's rebounds on -- I thought when we really got control of the game was when Jordan was keeping the ball alive on the offensive board. I thought that was a big part of the game for him.

Q. Can you talk a little more about defending the three-point line? They were setting really good screens and they were still tough inside to make that conscious choice to know there would be some lanes for offensive rebounds and what that thought process was?
COACH BARNES: They're an outstanding offensive team. They really do screen. Again, it goes back to how well they're coached. And they really understand their roles. The players that are supposed to screen, screen. They can spread you out. They run some really nice sets and a lot of good, misdirection plays they run. But they are hard to guard. They're really hard to guard.
We knew that we felt we had as much as anything -- again, defend the three, not let them really get going there. Also when you do that you do expose the court a little bit. But we felt that Tristan, again, we left him down there a lot this year by himself, but to let him really play post defense.
And a major concern was Will Hudson coming in from the back side. That part of it, looking at what he did, we didn't do a great job there. Even we, I thought, stayed down in front of their guards for the most part, but they got us up and shot it and got a couple rebounds. That hurt us.
But all year we've tried to do that. We've tried to really work hard at not giving or drawing kick threes. But the first half we were giving up way too much separation, because they were doing a good job of setting some screen to screener type action where they were using Bader early to screen across.
We finally, in the second half, said we're not helping there. Told Tristan he's going to have to do his part, but we weren't going to give up separation.

Q. Lot of talk about Tristan's defense. Offensively how did you think he fared?
COACH BARNES: I really thought we should have put it there more. We feel that we need to play through him. We also wanted to open up the court a little bit and drive them because you want to try to put some fouls on their guards too because they're such good players. But we did want to work inside out as much as we can.
We have to do a better job of screening, but we wanted to give him the ball and let him go. Again, make them guard on the inside, and what I do like to be quite honest with you, I look down and see where he got 14 shots. That is the most he's had in a long time. So, again, we need to continue to play through him.

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