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March 25, 2011

Darius Johnson-Odom

Buzz Williams


North Carolina – 81
Marquette - 63

THE MODERATOR: We're joined right now by the head coach of Marquette, Buzz Williams and students athletes Jimmy Butler and Darius Johnson-Odom. Coach Williams begins with an opening statement and then questions for the student-athletes.
COACH BUZZ WILLIAMS: Congratulations to North Carolina and Coach Williams. I thought they were outstanding. I knew they were really good, and I thought they played even better than good.
I thought we were completely uncharacteristic the entire first half. They had 10 points in transition the 36 prior games leading into tonight. We had given up 13 per game and they had 10 at half. They had 10 points on offensive rebounds. We have averaged 9.9 points per game from offensive rebounds. They had 10 in the first half. We had zero assists entering tonight. 67.6% of our points thus far this year had been from assisted baskets; we had zero. And we had 12 turnovers. And we finished the season averaging 11.4 turnovers per game. So we were completely uncharacteristic in every facet of the game. That's a complete credit to them. And I thought that once I used our fourth time-out after their two lay-ups at the start of the second half, I thought from that point forward we were okay. And I thought we were much better. But to beat a team like that you have to be that way from start to finish.
THE MODERATOR: We will look for questions for the student-athletes, Jimmy Butler and Darius Johnson-Odom.

Q. Darius, what was it like going through that first half?
DARIUS JOHNSON-ODOM: It was very frustrating. They did a great job of taking away our wings, what we were doing in transition. Their inside presence of Zeller and Henson, you know, those two guys they play great together. You know, we just got down and it was a big lead and we fought and fought and fought in the second half and tried to cut it down as much as possible, but we dug ourselves a hole.
THE MODERATOR: Any further questions for Jimmy Butler or Darius Johnson-Odom from Marquette? Okay guys, thank you very much. The Marquette locker room is open and Jimmy and Darius will head back in that direction.
The first question for Coach Williams.

Q. You talked coming into this game about their size and speed. In what ways did you see their length affecting the shots from your guys?
COACH BUZZ WILLIAMS: I thought in the first half we were pitiful. We shot 52% in the second half, which is more aligned with what we typically do. They shot 38% in the second half, which ideally is what we would like to hold teams to. Field goal percentage defense-wise.
I think their length and athleticism when you're trying to play without assisted baskets even becomes even more overwhelming. And we had no movement off penetration. Too oftentimes we were trying to reverse the ball at 36 feet, as opposed to 21 feet. And so their length and athleticism definitely plays a part in that, but in the same manner that it plays a part in the second half. I just thought that our defense helps our offense when we are able to get consecutive stops, and we had eight assists and six turnovers, which is still not great. But as opposed to zero and 12 in the first half, it is a distinct difference.

Q. Coach, what accounts for the zero assists in the first half? That was very unusual for your team.

Q. What did North Carolina seem to do that --
COACH BUZZ WILLIAMS: Well, they don't want you to initiate offense, and they pressure to disturb you to the point that when you do initiate offense, it is either off the dribble or you are trying to initiate offense, as I said, way too high on the floor for there to be any premise that the paint is something that you want to get to. We had 19 paint touches unofficially in the first half and the year we averaged 49 per game. I don't know how much we had in the second half. But if we shot 52% in the second half, obviously we probably got more.
But our team is built in such a way that we can't do it alone. And I don't think that we would have gotten to this point without doing it together. And I thought too oftentimes in the first half we were trying to, in the right way, our defense mechanism was, Buzz, I can do this one, I'll help on this possession. And we're just -- our DNA is not such that it works that way.

Q. Buzz, does it wear on a team to be an underdog? You know that this is your third straight game where to win it you have to beat somebody that is considered better than you. Does it wear on a team?
COACH BUZZ WILLIAMS: Well, I don't know. I think that's a good question. I think we've been the underdog the last 24 games, to be honest with you. I do think that it's part of our perspective. I think it's part of how we work. I think it's part of how I coach. Not being negative to the media in any sort of way, I just think that's how we function, is we are the underdog. And if you looked at all of the games that we have played, maybe in my tenure, but particularly the last 24 of this season, I don't know that anybody would have been willing to say yeah, they're for sure going to win this game.
So, I don't know that it wears on you. I think it becomes just a part of who we are, and I don't think that is negative, I just think that is kind of how demented I am.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you very much, coach.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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