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March 7, 2012

Herb Pope

Jordan Theodore

Kevin Willard



Q.  Coach Pitino just talked about you didn't have any easy threes.  What did you see out there?
COACH WILLARD:  I mean, they're one of the better defensive teams in the conference.  We had some really good looks early in the game that I think if we had knocked down we could have loosened it up a little bit.  And we didn't knock them down, and we kind of had a battle from that point on.  Just really proud of the way these guys played tonight.

Q.  Kevin, how much did Dieng's presence just change the whole equation?
COACH WILLARD:  Yeah, Gorgui, they've done a tremendous job with him.  He just sits back there and you go in there and he's got great timing.  I voted for him for Defensive Player of the Year just because of the way he's played all year long.  It was a big presence.

Q.  Jordan, Coach Pitino talked about he wanted to wear you out.  Just talk about the flow of the game.
JORDAN THEODORE:  Yeah, I think early on in the game they did a good job of pressuring me a lot and wearing me down but toward the end of the game I just didn't want to lose.  I wanted to win so bad, and just not for myself but for this guy, for coach.  I just wanted to just leave it all out there for Seton Hall and just go out there and battle.

Q.  Was Aaron still feeling a touch of the flu?
COACH WILLARD:  You just don't get rid of the flu.  He wasn't 100 percent healthy, but he was feeling better than he did yesterday.

Q.  I know you're disappointed somewhat about how this turned out, but it has to be really valuable source of experience for the younger players.
COACH WILLARD:  Disappointed in what, the season?

Q.  In the way things turned out, you had up times, you had down times.
COACH WILLARD:  No, I'm not disappointed at all.  I'm actually‑‑ win 20 games in this conference and have five out of seven on the road and three in a row on the road?  We played the 15th toughest non‑conference schedule.

Q.  But I'm talking as far as experience and giving that type of experience to the younger players that you have on the squad this year, to experience winning, to experience the pressure of being‑‑ this whole thing could help you down the road?
COACH WILLARD:  Yeah, that's part of freshmen becoming sophomores, sophomores becoming juniors.  Eventually hopefully you have a couple guys like this.  When you have guys like this, you have a good program.  I said that all year long.  We'd go as far as these guys take us, and they've taken us pretty darned far.  Again, to have the 15th toughest non‑conference schedule and to have only one loss and our non‑conference RPI was fourth in the country.  I'm ecstatic the way the season went.

Q.  Those kind of numbers, taking all that in, where do you think you will stand?
COACH WILLARD:  Yeah, I believe this team deserves to be playing and its name called on Sunday.  Again, I've always been under the belief that it's the total year, it's not just two games that you played bad maybe at the end of the year or a tough stretch.  Our total résumé is as good as anyone's out there.  Our non‑conference schedule, we played road games, we played neutral site games, and we had one loss.  We lost to a very good Northwestern team.  We were No.4 in the country in the RPI at the end of the non‑conference, and we played the 15th toughest schedule.  So to look around‑‑ and then played with all freshmen and sophomores and two seniors in this league.  Unfortunately, for some reason we were the only team that played three in a row on the road.  That really hurt us.  That was our losing streak.  We played five out of seven on the road and we had three in a row on the road.

Q.  (Inaudible.)
JORDAN THEODORE:  It's really tough.  For me and Herb at the end of our Seton Hall career, especially just leaving it up to the selection committee on Sunday, we wanted to go out there and just prove a point, and we came up short tonight, so it's a tough one.

Q.  Jordan, how difficult are these next few days going to be?
JORDAN THEODORE:  No, I'm just going to get in the gym, get better and just pray.  That's all we can do.  That's all I'm going to do is just get better.  I'm not going to watch TV, I'm just going to get better, go to school and live my life.

Q.  Jordan, you heard the coach make his case.  What would you say to the selection committee about why Seton Hall deserves to be in the tournament?
JORDAN THEODORE:  Well, from day one until now, I think we've done a pretty good job of winning games and beating the teams we had to beat.  We had some tough losses, but I think we did enough to get in.  But I just can't say that; it's up to the selection committee, so we're going to see what happens on Sunday.

Q.  (Inaudible.)
HERB POPE:  Absolutely, definitely everybody is going to come into this tournament and try and win it all obviously.  For the long‑term goal for the season I don't feel like we came up short at all.  I feel like we overachieved things, especially with the adversity we had to face and overcome, so I feel like this season was a success for us.

Q.  (No microphone).
HERB POPE:  You know, I've faced Brad Miller first game of the year and figured out he's got a pump fake, so I feel like we handled him.  He changed a lot more shots than he blocked.  He did a great job of stepping up.  You've got to give credit to their guards.  He couldn't bounce pass anything in there because when he would step up they were in there for the steal.  He made you second‑guess yourself when you got in the lane.  I felt like he blocked shots, that's what he was supposed to do, but he changed more shots than what anybody gives him credit for.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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