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MISSOURI VALLEY CONFERENCE MEN'S TOURNAMENT


March 1, 2012


Jackie Carmichael

Tim Jankovich

John Wilkins


ST. LOUIS, MISSOURI

THE MODERATOR:  Please welcome Illinois State University.
COACH JANKOVICH:  Well, I'm proud of this team in a year that is one of the great years in the Missouri Valley recent history.  You know, to battle through it and finishing in time in third with a lost new guys and a lot of inexperience really, really enjoyed this group and I'm proud of what they've been able to accomplish so far.

Q.  Tim, could you just address first of all Jordan's injury and how that's probably going to impact the team this weekend?
COACH JANKOVICH:  Well, it's not good news.  Jordan has really been doing a great job.  He just keeps getting better and better.  He's a key player for us, obviously.  So I feel badly for our team.  No one wants to come to these tournaments and be a little bit shorthanded.
But at the same time, I feel worse for him.  All the work that these guys all do, this tournament is kind of a dessert.  It's dessert.  For him not to be able to play, I feel for him.
I've said this a million times, there is a lot of luck involved in athletics, and there is.  The injury, bad bounce, bad call, good call, all those kind of things.  Over the long run, they even out.  But in the short run, sometimes you're maybe not on the right side of it.

Q.  Did you talk about him playing a couple more minutes this week?
COACH JANKOVICH:  Everybody.  Not just Zeke.  Everybody needs to understand it.  We've talked about this early on in the season that things are going to happen.  They've had happened.  We've had a number of guys.  Bryant missed games.  Anthony missed games, and Zeke missed games.  It happens.  It's part of the luck factor and what you have to do with that is not allow it to be an excuse.  But find a way to strengthen everyone else and be tighter together.

Q.  With Jordan out, does that put more pressure for you guys up here to stay out of foul trouble and stay out of games longer?
JOHN WILKINS:  Everybody's got to be more conscious about not fouling early.  But with Zeke and the other guys, we still can play hard defense.  I think we're pretty good.

Q.  Tim, talk about Bryant Allen and the contribution he's made coming off the bench and joining the team late and how that's helped?
COACH JANKOVICH:  Bryant was a guy we recruited very hard out of high school.  I spent a lot of time down here in St. Louis and enjoyed that.  Worked really hard.  We had a lot of belief in him, knew he was going to play two sports.  Of course he went to Minnesota and did a great job playing football there.
We're just fortunate that he decided to transfer.  Kind of came out of the blue.  The thing I loved most about him in high school and, the thing I love most about him is he's a great competitor and a passionate athlete to an extraordinary level.  I think he's really had a positive impact.  Can you ask these guys, just a really positive, uplifting impact on our team.
Look at the kind of season he's had as a first year guy.  He's played virtually no college basketball.  He barely played at Minnesota.  To do what he's done in his first year, I think, is extraordinary.

Q.  Can you talk about the contributions?
JACKIE CARMICHAEL:¬† He's a great energy guy.¬† Every day in practice he brings energy.¬† It's just like kind of that X‑factor.¬† Like Coach said, he just does a great job of getting everyone like the team morale up and everything like that.¬† He's a great asset to have on the team.
JOHN WILKINS:  Yeah, just kind of like Jackie said, every day we know exactly what Bryant's going to bring to practice or games.  He's a guy energy guy.  Even last year whenever he went playing and he was just practicing with us.  He just brought something that we needed for the team to get everybody excited and everybody ready to go.  When game day comes, everybody knows just exactly what they need.

Q.  Jackie, you made the most improved team this year in the Valley.  I just want to ask you what that means to you.  I know you've made great strides in your game from last year.  What sorts of things do you feel you've improved on from last season?
JACKIE CARMICHAEL:  Just a more consistent jumpshot and being stronger in the post.  I guess being more active.  It was a great honor to be on the newcomer team.  It definitely shows the hard work in the summertime and the boot camp, and all the stuff we've been doing has really been paying off.

Q.  How hard is it to win a conference tournament for both of your teams with a freshman point guard?
COACH JANKOVICH:  Well, we're going to find out.  We're going to see.  Indiana State did it last year, if I'm not mistaken, so it's possible.  Probably not the most likely thing, but it did happen last year.  So I'm all for it happening two year that's row.  I'm voting for it.

Q.  Tim, I'd asked Gregg Marshall if he was prepared for teams to throw something different at him to get them out of their comfort zone.  He referenced the game at Illinois State, he didn't expect you guys to come out in the zone.  Was that the reason you did that to do something different to try to shake them up a little bit?
COACH JANKOVICH:  Yeah, we tricked them pretty good.  Made them take their first threes in a row.  They were so confused they maybe made three different shots to start that thing.  That led to an early time out if I remember right.  The numbers going into our game, the four games they played us, they were shooting 61% from three.  They were actually better off shooting from three.  Okay, so that's what they were doing going into our game.
They had won at Creighton by 20.  They had won at Davidson by 17.  They won Missouri State by 15 and one other game like that.  So they were on an incredible roll.  So on the drawing board, we thought let's just change their rhythm and that lasted all of two minutes and a timeout.  We went back to man.  Of course people will try.  There is only so much you can do though.
When you see a team, they've got some glaring weaknesses you can exploit.¬† Then there are a lot of things you can do.¬† But they don't have that.¬† There are not guys to layoff of, double off of, or whatever.¬† People can try to do that, but the reality is you're going to have to match‑up head‑to‑head with them and battle them tooth and nail because they're a very, very good team.

Q.  For John, you guys have turned your record basically around from last year.  How much do you guys though need to win at least one game here this weekend to validate that you guys have turned the corner?
JOHN WILKINS:  Whenever you come here, the goal is always to obviously win the whole thing.  Any win that we get we know that we've turned it around from last season.  Anything we do here will really validate that, regardless, and hopefully keep us going into more postseason stuff and keep it rolling into next year to see how we'll have the same guys back.  It's definitely just we know the season has been pretty good for us this year.  Anything that we can do will make us happy.

Q.¬† Jackie, you had double‑doubles in both games against Northern Iowa against and Tuttle.¬† Talk about that match‑up and what you've been able to exploit there maybe?
JACKIE CARMICHAEL:¬† He's a great player.¬† He and his team have done a great job of helping down in the post and a great job of doubling.¬† It's definitely a challenge, but it's a great match‑up.¬† I mean, he plays beyond his years.¬† He doesn't play like a freshman.¬† He got "Freshman of the Year."
It's definitely going to be a good match‑up.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports




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