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March 25, 2011

Bradford Burgess

Brandon Rozzell

Shaka Smart


VCU – 72
Florida State - 71 OT

THE MODERATOR: We'd like to welcome VCU to the dais. We'll have Coach Smart give us an opening statement.
COACH SMART: It's amazing what a team can accomplish when nobody cares who gets the credit. And our guys have played with that in mind over these last couple of weeks. Every night it's a different guy stepping up. But every one of our guys, to a man, goes in there and does what he can to execute the game plan. Tonight was the first game in the NCAA tournament out of four for us where we faced a significant amount of adversity. Those first three games were good teams and it was pretty much smooth sailing for us and tonight wasn't. So I was really proud of the way our guys battled and hung in there, executed down the stretch and finished the game.

Q. On that last inbounds play you guys called timeout and drew out the play. Florida State calls timeout and you go back into the huddle and maybe you changed the play. Can you take us through what Coach Smart talked to you guys about, maybe how you changed approaching that play?
BRADFORD BURGESS: We called a different play right before Florida State called timeout. And then we set up a different play. It really would have gone to Brandon to get a shot, but these two guys ran into each other. Joey picked outside and made Dulkys jump outside and I got open and slipped to the basket and just made it.

Q. You didn't take a shot in the first half, can you talk about how you reeled off 12 straight points for your team in the second half?
BRANDON ROZZELL: I had to feel the game out. I play with great guys. Bradford had a great first half. Jamie talked to me at halftime and told me I hadn't shot the ball yet and it rung a bell. And I came out the second half and was aggressive.

Q. You've been known as Big Shot Brad. Can you talk about why you have this propensity to come up with these big shots at big moments?
BRADFORD BURGESS: I especially wanted to have the ball in the overtime. I wasn't going strong enough in the second half and it was getting sent the other way. I definitely told the coaches if I got an opportunity I wanted to score in overtime. So just having that intent to make plays for the team, I think that helps me out a lot.

Q. I just want to tell you, great game. You guys have a crazy band and a crazy set of fans. Do you ever draw off their intensity during the game? What do you think Jay Bilas has to say now?
COACH SMART: First question, we've got a terrific band, group of fans, students at our University, professors, we just have a terrific group of people behind us, and they've been behind us through the start of the season. We went through some ups and downs, but they always had our guys' back. And it was an impressive section of the crowd in black and gold.
And to answer your question, yes, we feed off them every single game. They certainly made a huge difference for us tonight. As I mentioned, we did have to battle through some adversity. It always helps when you have a group like that behind you.
As for what we think of people that doubted us early on, nothing.

Q. Congratulations, Shaka. Can you talk about overcoming some of the adversity in the first half. Joey was in foul trouble, and Brandon mentioned he didn't shoot the ball.
COACH SMART: Yeah, we didn't play our best game. I thought in the first half we did a nice job executing and getting some easy baskets. We shot 50 percent from the field, so that was good. But we also had some setbacks in the first half. We gave them too many offensive rebounds. The fouls, you mentioned. But our guys hung in there and did a good job kind of staying together and talking. If we made a few more free throws it wouldn't have been quite so interesting down the stretch. The guys made the plays they needed down the stretch to win.

Q. You guys were up nine and then it just seemed like the basket closed, you couldn't score, you didn't get any free throws, you had a hard time getting shots. What was going through your mind in that time frame?
COACH SMART: I just wanted to continue to get good shots. And during that stretch where we couldn't score we got some good shots and there were other possessions where we were a little bit stagnant on offense. Florida State is such a good defensive team. You have to move them around first and then you've got to attack them when you can and scramble situations. We did that at times, but they blocked some key shots. And they made it tough for us to score.

Q. It's inevitable you're going to start to draw comparisons to George Mason's run a few years ago. Can you talk about how games against Mason and ODU and the difficult lead just really prepped you for this kind of a run?
COACH SMART: It's a great point. I think our conference is, to me, by far the most underrated league in the country. And everything that we've done here in March has been a direct result of the CAA. First being picked to represent the league in the NCAA tournament and then each of these four wins that we've had. We couldn't have done any of those things without the other 11 teams in our league. I don't have time to explain everything I mean by that, but every one of the games we played within our conference really, really prepared us for these types of games.
In our league, for instance, you have the best rebounding team in the country with Old Dominion. Our guys played Old Dominion three times, and nobody rebounds better than them. I definitely want to say thank you to the other 11 teams in our league, because without them we wouldn't be here.

Q. I want to get your first thoughts on Kansas.
COACH SMART: They were dominant tonight, that's for sure. I came over to the arena with the team. We got here about halftime. And obviously the margin was a huge one there. And then watching them, I got a chance to watch about six minutes in the second half, and it's the first time obviously I've seen them live this year. But the thing that impresses me most watching them live is the size of some of their bodies. They have great size around the basket. Even their guards have good size and are extremely aggressive. It looked like they shot the ball really well tonight.
Coach Self is a guy I've always admired since I got started in coaching, just an unbelievable job of preparing his team, particularly when it matters most in March. He's always got his guys ready. He's always got them playing aggressively.
The bottom line is we're going to have to play much better than we did tonight to have a chance to win the game on Sunday. But our guys think we have it in us.

Q. Yesterday you talked a little bit about how you designate different players on your scouting report by Steve Kerr, Rajon Rondo. What do you have Chris Singleton?
COACH SMART: He was in between. He can shoot the ball, but also put it down on the floor. That bomb he hit from about 30 feet. I wish he would have been a Kerr in that situation. He's a great player. I thought him and Derwin Kitchen were terrific tonight. They really gave us a lot of trouble. But, again, our guys made just enough plays to win the game.

Q. Talk about the last play, what was drawn up, and also talk about the night that Bradford Burgess had.
COACH SMART: Well, the last play, as Brad mentioned, we had diagrammed a different play out of our timeout and it's basically our favorite out-of-bounds play, the one we run the most, because there are multiple scoring options out of it. When they called timeout I could see one of the assistant coaches telling the guys walking off the court that they were going to run that play, they had it scouted. It was a pretty easy decision to switch to something different. We gave our guys a few different options and the one that we really wanted was the one we got.
The screen at the end there by Brad was the third screen in that play. And he screened for Brandon Rozzell. And I told Joey, you're going to have to pass fake, because you have a big guy on you. Florida State put a big guy on the ball. Joey did a great job pass-faking and finding Brad, and Brad finished the play.
In terms of Brad, coaches aren't supposed to play favorites, but I love him. I wouldn't trade him for anyone in the country. And, you know, the scary thing is I think the best is yet to come for Brad. He can be just increasingly better and better. When he has big nights like he had tonight it really fuels our team. He's so unselfish, sometimes it's to a fault. So we actually have a goal with him, we want to get him 12 or more shots in any game. And when he comes up short of that goal it's not good for us. Tonight he got 15, which is good.

Q. Not a lot of crooked numbers in the box score for Rob Brandenberg. Talk about him.
COACH SMART: I put him in there and I kept him in there because I liked his poise. Some of the stuff we were running, ball screen plays, I thought he was doing a good job getting by, and getting into the lane. Like you said he didn't put up big numbers, but I thought he was guarding well. Ed Nixon was a little banged up so we went with Rob and thought he played with good poise and played extremely hard. For a freshman you don't necessarily need to go in there and give the team great numbers, but you need to give the team great minutes. And I thought he did that for us.

Q. This is the first time I've seen you play, but how do you go from losing four of five down the stretch in February to the Elite 8?
COACH SMART: Well, again we're playing good teams in the CAA. We lost to George Mason, we lost to Old Dominion. They're both NCAA tournament teams. We didn't necessarily have our best and they did and they beat us. Then we went on the road. We won the Bracket Buster against a Wichita State team. In the last games of the season we lost to teams that won 20 plus games and had terrific years.
But to your point, we weren't playing necessarily our best basketball, but it's not like we were losing to bums. We were losing to very good teams. We needed to play with more defensive intensity. We needed to play with a little bit more urgency, particularly on the defensive backboards.
I thought going into the conference tournament our guys did a great job turning the page and putting February behind them. I thought we played well in our league tournament. Won two tough games and then came up short in the final against Old Dominion. But I thought that springboarded us into these games that we've had in the NCAA tournament.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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