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March 4, 2012

Tyler Brown

Jackie Carmichael

Tim Jankovich

Nic Moore


Creighton – 83
Illinois State – 79

THE MODERATOR:  Coach, an opening statement.
COACH JANKOVICH:  Could not possibly be prouder of a team.  Love this group.  I just hope so bad that anybody that watched us this weekend, if you couldn't tell how badly this team wanted to win this tournament, then you're eating a lot of popcorn because I thought they were sensational.  I thought the effort was as good as you could ever hope for.  They deserved to be playing in the NCAA Tournament in terms what have they showed here.
I don't know what to say to them to make them feel better, because they deserve to feel a lot better than they do.

Q.  Jackie, what did you learn about yourselves this weekend going forward to next year?
JACKIE CARMICHAEL:  I think we learned a lot of things.  I think we became more of a close‑knit group over these past few days and know that we can play with some of the top teams in the country.  So I think we have a lot to take away from this weekend.  We've just got to get better from it.

Q.  Nic, could you run us through a little bit at the end of regulation there after you guys tied it?  What happened there?  Did you foul there?  And then could you kind of after that talk about your lay‑up?
NIC MOORE:  Well, everybody screening kind of got to me.  And I thought they were saying foul because I thought we were down one.  It was tied, and I found the wrong guy.  Hit both of his free throws, and I hear Coach Jankovich on the side saying push it, push it.  I had the ball, and everybody spread out and I was beating my man and had a lay‑up.

Q.  Tyler, you guys got ahead there by six points midway through the second half.  Then McDermott went on a little bit of a roll there.  Did you guys ever feel you were close to getting control of the game at any point?
TYLER BROWN:  Well, we were up 6 at that point, but I don't feel like we were in control.  There was a lot of time left.  He's a great player and he made a lot of big plays.  Number hit some threes, playing off him, helping out on the post.  But I don't think we ever felt like we had any control where we felt like we didn't have no worries.

Q.  Jackie, did the team run out of a little gas in overtime?  The shots weren't falling initially.  Did the team run out of gas at the end there?
JACKIE CARMICHAEL:  I don't think so.  I think we are an overtime team.  I don't think we ran out of gas at all.  The shots weren't falling.  This is basketball, and that's the way things go sometimes.

Q.  What did you find out about the team this week?  It seemed you guys grew up so much in these three days here.  Obviously, it looks like you might be playing in the NIT, too, so this season isn't even over yet.  What do you take forward from this weekend?
NIC MOORE:  I feel like all of us, we believe now.  We found out what it takes to play in the NCAA Tournament.  I mean, we just came closer.  A lot of guys fought.  We never gave up, and that was great to see.
I'm just proud of everybody.  We left it on the court, but it didn't come through.

Q.  Jackie, what makes McDermott so tough to defend?
JACKIE CARMICHAEL:  He's a good player.  I mean, I don't really know.  He hits tough shots.  I mean, he's a good player.  There are a lot of things that he does well, but I can't name one thing in particular.

Q.  Creighton thumped you guys pretty good in Omaha.  What have you guys‑‑ where has your team come from since that point?  What has made you guys so much better?
TYLER BROWN:  We've just grown up as a team.  Everybody has stepped their game up a notch, even two notches even.  So we just know how good we can be, know how good we are.  Once we figured that out, we just put it out there every night, and that's what got us this far.

Q.  Nic, what's that locker room like right now?
NIC MOORE:  Just guys are disappointed because we worked so hard this weekend to win a championship, and we fell short.  I mean upset, but now we know what it takes for next season, so we'll grow with that.

Q.  Obviously you guys had a defensive plan against McDermott.  He hit some tough shots.  Maybe Gibbs was the guy that you didn't expect for them to come through?
COACH JANKOVICH:  Yeah, you know, we hit the three.  That was our big shot late.  But it's no secret; Doug is a tremendous player.  He's not a normal player.  He's not a good player.  He's not.  He's one of the great players that's been in this league in years, so everyone else gets to look like a really good player because you get to shoot horse shots if you play with him.
Or you don't get to shoot horse shots, and you try to guard him one‑on‑one the whole game and he's one of the leading scorers in the country.  So what are your choices?  They shoot 40‑some percent from three.  So we could zone them and shoot horse shots all over the place.  That doesn't sound like a good idea.
So what do you is say where are we going to help from, and I thought it was very effective, really effective.  About as effective as we could hope for.
But, of course, you know it's going to come down does the guy make a big shot or not?  We have a few that could have changed the game, and they don't go in.  They get there and make the big shot, and you know that going in.  That's why it's great to have a first‑team All American on your team.  That really makes things a lot easier for everyone else.  So they were able to hit some big shots.

Q.  What did you tell the guys in the locker room after the game?
COACH JANKOVICH:  Well, quite a bit.  We talked quite a while.  But really just there's no way to express it, really.  You kind of have to go through it.  You kind of have to feel.  There's no way I can even come close to relaying to you what it feels like to be them, to put out what they put out and sacrifices.  No one could possibly know how hard they work, or how we work, or how much passion and blood, sweat and tears.  There's no way.  There is no way you can describe it unless you live it.  To watch them fall that short is just an absolutely amazing accomplishment.  It cuts so deep.
So I tell them how proud I am.  I don't know they can even hear me given how disappointed they are, but I am.  Not been the most respected team all year.  Kind of flying under the radar.  We had half the guys‑‑ of our top nine, five of them had never played college basketball before.  We had a few guys returning that did a great job and grew up.
One of them didn't even get to play.  We played Stutz against Echenique, our biggest guy on our team.  We're a big man down, and really a crucial man down against two humongous forces.  That doesn't deter them.
We had foul trouble throughout this whole tournament.  That doesn't deter them.  We're down late.  Find a way to go out in overtime.  That doesn't do it.
I don't know.  This team really gets to me.  I'm not sure everybody really gets it.  I'm not sure they get what they've accomplished given they've never even played before, half of them.  Half of them have never played before.
To fall that short of an NCAA bid is painful beyond words.

Q.  Coach, after the battle down the stretch to get it into overtime, did you feel like the first couple of offensive possessions you guys were settled down and did what you wanted to those possessions?  Or did you wish that maybe there was a little more patience on those first couple of possessions?
COACH JANKOVICH:  Well, hindsight is at least 20/20.  When a shot goes in, we're sitting here talking about boy, wasn't the offense looking great when those shots went in early?  When they don't go in, it's like well, we should have done this.  You know, it's basketball.  Sometimes the ball goes in, sometimes it doesn't.  There might have been one shot that I probably wish would have come back.
But they also hit some big shots.  They hit a lot of big shots along the way.  I'm not going to fault them in any way for that.

Q.  Coach, they picked up a couple points on the technical and the hanging on the rim.  I'm just wondering how you saw that?  We've seen a couple of those this weekend.  Is it a point of emphasis on that?
COACH JANKOVICH:  If it was, I missed that meeting because I sure would have relayed that.  I like Scott a lot.  I think he's an outstanding ref.  But I totally disagreed with him.  I told him that.  I said, Scott, it's dangerous if you jump that high.  Scott, you don't jump that high.  I don't jump that high.  You don't know what it's like to be up there and worry about someone being underneath you.
I didn't see him do anything that was anything more than just protecting himself.  That's the rule.  That's the rule.  So I strongly disagreed with that, and I told him that.  He disagreed with me, but I thought he did a great job, I just didn't agree with that one.

Q.  You said your chemistry finally came together for this team.  How big is it for your young players to get this experience?
COACH JANKOVICH:  I think humongous.  I think short of one more basket of regulation or two more in overtime, we couldn't hope for anything better to happen here.  We just couldn't hope for it.  You know, I go back‑‑ think of this.  Even though there is the pain that they feel, but we meet an outstanding team who is always hard to beat.  Then we beat a 15th ranked team, and our reward for that is to play another ranked team.  It's never happened in the history.  There's never been two ranked teams in the tournament ever in the history of this building or in the history of this tournament, and we draw that.  That's our task with five guys that have never played before.
For them to realize they came a possession‑‑ one possession away from winning two top 25 back‑to‑back games in a championship, I think and I hope when the pain goes down, our motivation level goes way up.  That was another thing we talked about, by the way.  What this can do for us once it stops hurting so bad.  What it can do for our growth as a team.

Q.  Despite the disappointment that you feel right now, the quality of the game, can you have an appreciation for that and the stage, the national TV stage?
COACH JANKOVICH:  Absolutely, absolutely, for sure.  Yesterday the same.  Absolutely, I can.  That helps me think about what I was thinking about.  So ask more of those questions.  So, incredible.  Incredible tournament, incredible crowd, incredible teams, incredible games.  Yeah, yeah.
It's a privilege to be a part of that, and I do feel lucky and privileged to get to do that on that stage and that highly competitive environment.  That's what you work so hard for.  That's what you've sacrificed as coaches, as players, everybody.
By the way, I want to say we have so many great support people, especially our trainer, John Munn, my gosh, this year what he does is miraculous.  And so many more guys I could name.
But, yes, I do feel that.  And when we leave this building or we leave this town, there will be a lot of sadness for not being able to do it some more, because you wish you could go do it tomorrow or the next day.  It's really special.

Q.  What do you take from those games going forward to next year and looking at the seasons ahead with this group?
COACH JANKOVICH:  Just that I have said this the whole year and probably this weekend drove home my point times a hundred more than my words, but there is a lot of room for growth with this team.  As well as we played, as hard as we played, we still make a lot of mistakes because we're inexperienced.  We just make some mistakes that I don't think we'll make as we grow older.  I know we won't.
Our guys that returned this year, the nucleus of four, John, Jon, Jackie and Anthony who played a lot of significant minutes for us, they don't make as many mistakes this year as they made.  They grow.  They see things before they happen.  You guys have to go through them.
So natural maturation coupled with tremendous belief on our team given this weekend, I think that we can really, really use this to drive us to some great work throughout the spring and the summer and the fall.

Q.  I know some people viewed the NIT as a consolation prize.  I know you don't.  Do you expect to get an NIT bid, and how do you expect the team to respond to that if do you?
COACH JANKOVICH:  I think it's a great honor.  I think people need to start understanding that.  I think we're inundated with NCAA, NCAA, NCAA.  But gosh, there are only 32 or 34 invitations.  If you don't win the tournament, there are only 32 or 34 and only 6 or 7 go to a non‑BCS school.  Out of 270 schools, they're going to invite 7 schools.  Think about that.
Then you go to the NIT and get an automatic NIT bid if you win your league and don't go to the tournament.  So out of the 32, all of a sudden it's like there are 15 of those taken up.  Now there are only 17 spots.  Well, we're going to take the BCS, and throw those in.  Now there are 7 spots in the United States.  7 spots.
If somebody says we'll invite you guys, so you've got the NCAA inviting 7.  You've got the NIT inviting 7.  So there are 14 teams out of 270 that get invited to a really prestigious tournament.  I don't think people get it.  I don't think they get it at all.  I think it's an unbelievable honor.
Is it the one that we're shooting for?  No, of course not, because the NCAA Tournament is the most prestigious one.  But when you play in a non‑BCS league and get an NIT bid, you've had an unbelievable year, unbelievable.  I really don't think people get it.  I don't think they have any understanding of the numbers of what it takes, how high you have to put yourself.
Does our team not deserve an NIT bid?  Oh, my gosh.  But we don't pick it.  There is a committee and we're just hopeful they'll respect what we've done.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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