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March 12, 2012
THE MODERATOR:Â We're joined by Iona student‑athletes Mike Glover, Scott Machado, and Lamont Jones.
Q.Â For all of you, what has the last week been like after you lost knowing that you were very much on the bubble and hoping that you would get into the tournament?
LAMONT JONES:Â It's been kind of stressful, but at the same time just trying to keep level‑headed.Â We just have to keep in our mind that we still have work to do, we still have practice.Â We still had basketball left, whether it was the NCAA or NIT, somewhere within that we were going to be doing something.Â So we just to had remember that there was still basketball left and just to go to work every day hard as we can and not get down on ourselves.
Q.Â Do you feel a little bit of pressure just to prove to the country, prove that the Selection Committee was correct in letting two teams from a conference in here, and that you can kind of justify your presence?
SCOTT MACHADO:Â Pressure, no.Â More or less wanted to show what we do.Â More or less showing the hard work that we put on in practice every day and what we've been doing all year.Â And just getting this opportunity is wonderful for us, because now we get to show the whole country what Iona basketball is about.
And we just want to prove everybody‑‑ everybody that chose us right in the committee, and we want to show everybody that we can play and that we can compete with the best.
Q.Â You've played BYU twice.Â Your impressions of the games that you played while with Arizona against the Cougars?
LAMONT JONES:Â It's a totally different team.Â Obviously they had Jimmer Fredette my first two years playing them.Â So that was a tough outing.Â We lost to them twice.
But it's a different team that they have now.Â They still bring back Brandon Davies and Hartsock, which are two great players.
But I think we can hang with them.Â I haven't really watched them much this year.Â We just have to play Iona basketball and not really worry about what BYU brings or what happened two years ago, a year prior.Â We just have to go in there and this is a new team and this is a new day.
Q.Â Are you aware of some of the national negative publicity on you guys getting in here, for one?Â For two, are you aware that the team that was in that spot last year won here and went to the Final Four?
SCOTT MACHADO:Â We're well aware of it.Â But we really don't look at that.Â We really don't bother with what people are saying.Â We just want to prove ourselves, and we want to prove not only to ourselves, but to everybody else that we can play and we're here to play.
Q.Â Along the same lines, obviously if you're in the Commonwealth a year ago, George Mason a couple of years before that, have come from having to prove something early on to going all the way to the Final Four.Â Is that something that lends you a little confidence going into this, that proves that almost anybody in the field can beat almost anybody else?
LAMONT JONES:Â It's basketball.Â And it's DivisionI basketball.Â Everybody can play.Â Everybody can put the ball in the hoop.Â Everybody can play defense.
If you couldn't, you wouldn't be playing.Â It doesn't matter what conference you're in.Â As George Mason showed, and as VCU showed last year, it doesn't matter.Â It's all about the heart that you have beating in your chest and the teammates that you come to work with every day and the belief that you have in each other and your coaching staff, and if you have that, you'll go a long way.
Q.Â MoMo, with your big‑game experience last year, is your role any more important the next 24hours than it usually is?
LAMONT JONES:Â I would like to think so.Â Just trying to keep our guys level‑headed, just explaining to them how tough it's going to be.Â Every game is going to be a grind‑out game.Â It's going to go down to the wire.
But I don't think it gets‑‑ I don't think my role comes any bigger than what it's been.Â I think it's something that my guys look for me to do every day throughout the year.
We've talked about the situation plenty of times.Â It's just now that it's reality and we just have to go and put forth the effort.
Q.Â What do you feel is the number one thing you have to do against BYU, maybe a stat in particular that you need to have control over, or what is it in particular that you think you need to do to win?
MIKE GLOVER:Â Well, earlier today we was watching scouting report.Â And with the lack of size that we have, we noticed that they have a big front court.
So our job is to pretty much just get dirty down there in the paint and every time the shot go up just basically rebound.Â Like with the lack of size of myself and Taaj really, we need some more rebounding presence.
So with BYU front court, our job‑‑ our main thing to win the basketball game tomorrow is basically defense and rebounding the basketball.
Q.Â Scott or Mike, you guys probably got in because of your nonconference schedule.Â What is it like to go a whole month without playing a home game?
SCOTT MACHADO:Â It's a grind.Â It's very difficult.Â Some said it's like‑‑ it's like you being in the NBA and traveling every day to another game.Â And we go play and we come home for a day, practice, and then leave the next.Â Or we leave that same day.
And it was just game, travel, come back, schoolwork, class, practice, travel, game, and do the same thing over.Â And it was a long stretch, and it was a hard time.Â But, I mean, it was something that we all wanted to go through and we knew we had to to have a good season, and we had a successful road trip.
Q.Â MoMo, again, you guys played a fast tempo.Â BYU plays at a faster tempo.Â You guys lead the nation in scoring, and BYU is right there, top 15, right with you.Â Is it refreshing to play a team that will play with you, and how often do you see teams that want to take you out of that and slow you down?Â And, in that respect, is it a fun team to play because they will go up and down?
LAMONT JONES:Â Everybody tries to play like that with us.Â Even if they don't play that style, they'll try to.Â And then they'll try to take us out of our game and try to slow the game down.Â But with BYU playing a fast‑paced game‑‑ and, again, I've played against them twice‑‑ I don't think they play nearly as fast as we do.Â I think we still have a speed advantage on them.
I think if we can do what we do every day and just, like I said, maintain the focus at hand, we'll be okay.
Q.Â Scott, I've heard you referred to as the best point guard in America that most of America's never seen.Â What do you think about that statement?
SCOTT MACHADO:Â I think they're right.Â I feel like this is the opportunity that I have and my team has to show what got us here.Â And that the whole team, as a whole, help me become that best point guard.Â So it's just an opportunity that I get to show my talent to the world.
Q.Â MoMo, can you just recollect what those games against BYU that you played in were like, what do you recall from those games, and watching film, what has changed with the BYU team?
LAMONT JONES:Â To be honest, I remember Jimmer Fredette.Â That sticks out like a sore thumb.Â The rest of it was just kind of a blur.Â The first game he had, I want to say he had like 50.Â The next game he probably had 40.
So more than half of their points came from him.Â Now it's a team where they spread out the points, and they've got different players that contribute to their success this year.Â And we can't look any of that off.Â It is a totally different team, but, like I said before, it's the NCAA Tournament, and it's basketball.Â Everybody can play.
Q.Â Did you guys think if you were going to get in that it would be here in the First Four?
LAMONT JONES:Â Yeah, we talked about it.Â It was just something that we was just hoping for, whether it's the First Four, 11th seed, a 12 seed, it doesn't matter.Â NCAA Tournament is the NCAA Tournament.Â And we're just grateful to be here, us and our coaching staff.
I think we worked hard every day to get here.Â Whether it was the last spot in or the first spot in.Â I think that we deserve to be here, and I think this gives us a chance to show what we can really do and how much of a team we really are.
Q.Â Mike, from what I understand, you played junior college basketball in Utah a little bit.Â When the name BYU popped up to play you guys, what was the first thing that came to your mind?
MIKE GLOVER:Â Well, my junior year was in Price, Utah.Â It was I think about an hour away from Provo.Â Never had the opportunity to go out there and visit.Â We was always on the road.
BYU playing‑‑ I mean playing against a Utah team, it feels like junior college all over again.Â But as a team this year, I thinkwe stay within ourselves throughout the whole year to get us to this point.Â And me being a senior, it's my last year going out with Scott and MoMo, my first year playing in the NCAA Tournament.Â So I'm just fortunate to be here.
THE MODERATOR:Â Thank you very much.
I'd like to welcome head coach of Iona, Tim Cluess.Â Questions?
Q.Â Can you just take us through the last 24hours from the nerves to cramming for BYU to putting travel plans together and now being here?
COACH CLUESS:Â As we got close to the selection time, it really felt like a big game was about to occur that you're waiting in the locker room for the game to start.
You just feel your energy starting to flow.Â And commercials on TV were coming on, and they started with the South bracket first, you get more and more excited you start saying I don't know if we're really going to have a shot at this.
When your team's name is selected, you look up there, take a second look, and next thing you know everyone's overjoyed and really enjoying themselves and sharing it with each other.
And it's a great thing for our school and our team, so I'm really happy.
Q.Â Is it difficult at all from a coaching standpoint where you've gone through the apprehension are we going to get in, you get in, and it's like relief that you're in, and now it's a series of emotions, as you just said?Â Is it difficult now to get them to bear down and think about what's ahead?
COACH CLUESS:Â You know what's interesting, when you're a team like ours that gets in like that, not expecting, not sure if you get it, the kids have such an adrenalin rush, that that's one of the worries I have.
Like when you see them this morning, they were gassed like they had played a game last night.Â We had an early practice today.Â I'm looking at how long is it going to take us to bounce back from that and how much adrenalin did we use.
As a coaching staff after we got everyone together, it went from jubilation to it's time to get to work now.Â You only have a couple of minutes to enjoy it.Â You have to return about a million phone calls and thank everyone you've known since you were born and go from there.
Q.Â How's your crash course in BYU coming and what do you think?
COACH CLUESS:Â It's getting there.Â I know they're a heck of a basketball team.Â I did watch them last year a lot as well.Â MoMo had built some confidence into me until a few minutes ago, because he told me he was going to be a much better defender against BYU than he was in the past, and I just found out he guarded Jimmer Fredette, so I don't know‑‑ stopping‑‑ giving him 40 and 50, so I'm hoping he does a little better job this time.
No, they're a great program.Â I was fortunate enough to be on a team that played them when Danny Ainge played way back when.Â So for me it's a little historical playing them again.
But I know we have our hands cut out.Â And I'm proud of our team and I think our team has the ability on a given night to play with anybody, and I'm hoping that's tomorrow night.
Q.Â Is that St. Johns?
COACH CLUESS:Â Yes.
Q.Â Can you talk about Scott and what kind of player he is and how this stage might let America see him?
COACH CLUESS:Â When we went to Puerto Rico in the preseason, Scott was on a bigger stage than normal playing against some high‑level teams for the first time this year and showed that he was a completely different player than a year ago.
He shared the ball at an unprecedented rate.Â I think he left that tournament averaging about 13 or 14 assists a game in that tournament.Â He also worked very hard in the offseason on his shooting.Â So he's become over 40percent 3‑point shooter.
So when you have someone that's that dangerous with the ball, can get it to the right guys, the right spot, and also knock down shots, it helps our team a lot because we are small.Â We need to stretch people out.Â We need to hit the open man.Â And we like to run.Â And that's the style we like to play.Â So he's become the perfect point guard for our system.
Q.Â An interesting tournament game obviously since you don't know about the team, but have you set a deadline for when you stop really worrying about BYU and when you just try and get your guys ready?Â Is it like tomorrow morning?Â Is it just stop chasing ghosts and get ready to play in the morning?
COACH CLUESS:Â We started doing that.Â In all fairness, we started doing that this morning, even at our workout.Â We did talk about BYU, but only for about 15minutes of our practice.
More of it was just really getting our own stuff going and working on some things and fine tuning a few things that we thought we would be important in this game.
Now we're starting to watch some film of them as we're here.Â We'll get into some more film later tonight.Â I think you're right:Â Sometime after breakfast tomorrow it's just about us again, and let's just go out, play loose, have fun, play the way we want to play and let people see what we're all about.
Q.Â A team that a lot of people said didn't belong in last year's tournament came here and won and then went to the Final Four.Â Is that something you'll broach with your players at all?
COACH CLUESS:Â Absolutely.Â I think it's a magical year for VCU last year, the fact that they were here, and went from here to there.Â Means anything's possible.
That's the great thing about mid majors, low majors to get this opportunity, is that we can all dream.
The question is:Â Why not us?
Q.Â Talk about the uniqueness of this game tomorrow night, the First Four, it's a national stage, really the beginning of March Madness, and you're not like one of 20 other games going on like Thursday or Friday.
COACH CLUESS:Â I think it's great for our program and our school.Â It showcases our school, showcases our program, gives people across the country a chance to see what Iona basketball and Iona College is all about and all the good things it has to offer, not only athletically, but academically.
I'm thrilled that people‑‑ players and recruits that we're trying to get involved with are going to have a chance to see us and spend a little time watching us, and coaches are going to see us.Â We're going to hope that's going to help our recruiting base as we move forward with this program.
Q.Â Could you give us kind of a capsule of your guards and your back court and what stands out about them and what makes them so good?
COACH CLUESS:Â I'll tell you, we probably have five or six guys who can really knock down the 3, and they're also extremely willing to share the ball.Â We put several point guards on the court at the same time, sometimes two, sometimes three.Â Occasionally this year we've had four out there together.
Because of how we share the ball, I think that enables us to play against teams of more size.Â And we do pressure the balls well.Â I don't know if that will be effective against BYU or not.Â They have a very good passing team and they're very good with the basketball.Â We'll find that out tomorrow night.
And I think that ability in our back court and having Mike Glover kind of just handle the inside really mostly by himself with a little help from some other guys, that's why we've had some success.
Q.Â You guys go through a lot of conference play as a favorite.Â And now to maybe be on an even scale, does that change the psychology for your team at all?
COACH CLUESS:Â I think our guys should go into the game loose, to be honest with you, because when you're playing as a favorite all the time, I think people are shooting at you.Â It's not easy going on the road all the time and being the target.
I wouldn't even say that we're on an even playing with BYU.Â BYU is I think a Sweet 16 team or something last year and has a richer history than we do.
So for us to go into this game, we're looking at it like we're the Cinderella team and we're going to try to go out and show everyone we can play.
Q.Â On a lighter note, what about the fact that you're playing in front of the President tomorrow night?
COACH CLUESS:Â Like I said before, force them right, I've seen this game.Â It's great that the President is spending time to come here to such a great event as the NCAA and a tip‑off.Â It's tremendous that he can find the time with his busy schedule, which is a lot more important than what we do.
Q.Â There are a lot of good things going on with each team that maybe betrays a 14‑versus‑14 matchup.Â Would you agree with that, that's maybe a little higher caliber than 14s?
COACH CLUESS:Â I absolutely agree with that.Â I think both teams are very good teams and could play with a lot of teams at a higher level, higher‑ranking level for this tournament.Â And it's going to be a very interesting game.
THE MODERATOR:Â Thank you, Coach.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports