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March 12, 2012
THE MODERATOR:Â We're joined by BYU student‑athletes Brandon Davis and Noah Hartsock.
Q.Â For either of you, you've been here before.Â You've got young teammates that haven't been.Â Do you talk to them very much about this environment and what to expect tomorrow?
NOAH HARTSOCK:Â Yeah, I've talked to them a little bit, just it's going to be a great game, get ready for the atmosphere and just the competitive nature of the tournament.
And we've had two days of good practice, and we're really excited for this opportunity.
Q.Â You guys have had a little bit of a layoff.Â How do you think that will affect tomorrow, just having so much time off between games?
BRANDON DAVIS:Â We've definitely had a lot of rest.Â We've actually found use of it, finding time to get treatments that we need to get our bodies back going.Â But other than that, you know, we're expected to practice pretty hard today and getting our shootaround tomorrow and just get things loosened up.Â So we'll be fine in that area.
Q.Â Could either of you talk about what it's like this year in the NCAA as opposed to last year where it was the Jimmer circus?
NOAH HARTSOCK:Â It's a big difference.Â I remember last year having that 3 seed, a lot of expectations not only to win the first game, but advance deep into the tournament.
You know, it's a neat feeling, because it's the First Four, and it's still exciting, I'll say that, just being part of the tournament once more, and being part of this program that's been to it quite a bit.Â It's a lot of fun, and excited for another tournament, another chance at a tournament title.
Q.Â And also just as a follow‑up, do either of you‑‑ do you remember Lamont Jones when he played for Arizona against you guys?
BRANDON DAVIS:Â Yeah, we do.
Q.Â And he sounds like he's a little bit happy that maybe Jimmer is not around.Â What kind of player is he and do you remember anything at all about your games with Arizona perhaps when he was there?
BRANDON DAVIS:Â He's a great player.Â He definitely hurt us when we were there.Â I think he had 20‑something points around there.
He's a great shooter, great guy, great player.Â It's going to be fun to‑‑ he's our only really familiar face on that team that we know maybe more than anyone else on that team.
Q.Â Noah, a lot of people are describing this game as a potential track meet, up‑and‑down basketball.Â You guys like to run as much as anybody, but is there a point where you don't want to run as much as maybe they do?
NOAH HARTSOCK:Â It's going to be kind of that game, just up and down.Â But we talked about it.Â We're going to push the ball like we've always been doing.Â And every time we get a chance to get down in transition, we're going to try to take advantage of that.
Obviously we've got to stop them.Â They scored nearly half their points in transition basketball game.Â And we just gotta try to jam them, slow them down, and try to limit those opportunities that they might have.
Q.Â Noah, first of all, because no one ever asks you about your leg, how is it feeling?Â How close is it back to normal or 100percent, if you will?Â And does Iona remind you of anybody you played during the regular season?
NOAH HARTSOCK:Â You know, the leg's feeling pretty good right now.Â The only thing that's really bothering me is maybe my ankle.Â The knee's feeling really good.Â But I've been able to practice on it.Â It feels pretty good right now.
And I don't know if we played a team that really resembles Iona, because you watch the film, they just get up and down so quick.Â They have great guards, excellent shooters.Â I don't think we've ever matched up to a team like that before.
But I'm just excited to go out there and compete with them and see how the game goes.
Q.Â They've obviously got a guy who dishes out a lot of assists.Â How does that impact you guys inside?Â Will they be just taking a lot of shots from the perimeter and it's rebounding, or is it more than that?
BRANDON DAVIS:Â They're a solid team.Â They score in a variety of ways.Â They have their leading assist guy in the nation, and part of our game plan is getting him stopped and getting him to do things he doesn't want to do.
But we're expecting them to score from every angle, and we just have to play our D and get them stopped the best we can.
Q.Â They don't play a guy regularly that's over 6'7", I think.Â Is that a situation where you're kind of licking your chops, for lack of a better word?
BRANDON DAVIS:Â They're great players.Â They're big, strong dudes.Â They know how to play.Â They know how to use their bodies.Â And it's going to be a battle regardless of their height.Â And we're expected to see different defenses by them down low and everything.
So it's not a matter of who‑‑ like who is going to be defending me or Noah, it's going to take a lot out of us offensively to score on both those guys, whoever they bring in.
Q.Â Noah, what has past experience in this tournament taught you about how to win and advance in this setting?
NOAH HARTSOCK:Â What I've seen is especially the opening‑round games, they go down to the wire.Â And you just kind of make the right plays.Â That's what I think we need to do.
It's going to be two teams vying for another day to play.Â And I've been telling these guys, you know, we gotta play hard for 40minutes, especially the last two minutes, we've got to play really hard all the way down.Â Because that's what these type of games are.Â Hardly are there any blowouts or anything; it's one of those games that goes back and forth the whole time.
Q.Â Noah, the President's going to be here tomorrow night.Â Your thoughts on that, and then you still in the Romney camp?
NOAH HARTSOCK:Â I'm not a big political guy.Â I know who the President is, but I know that he played some pickup ball at North Carolina not too long ago, but other than that, you know, just another fan in the stands.
Q.Â You guys have obviously prepared for NCAA games before, but to prepare for a Thursday game compared to a Tuesday game, can you kind of describe what kind of gets sped up real quick or maybe even left out because you just don't have time?
NOAH HARTSOCK:Â Just thinking‑‑ you know, you get fewer days of practice, fewer days of prepping for the team.Â So it's kind of getting thrown back into like tournament play, West Coast conference, something like that, where you find out the day before who you're going to play and then you just gotta prepare and go out and play it.Â So just quick turnaround.
But we've just been focusing a lot this past week on ourselves, getting up and down the court, competing hard, and just being aggressive.Â And that's the best that we could do right now.Â We got on the scouting report and we just got to really focus on that right now and go out here and practice and get ready for it.
Q.Â If there's one stat at the end of the game that will determine whether you guys are successful or not, what would that stat be?
BRANDON DAVIS:Â Honestly, I don't know.Â I think it's just going to come down to our effort and getting these guys stopped.Â They can score.Â Like I said earlier, they score in every way possible.
And it's going to take a lot of just flat‑out effort on our part to get them stopped and play great defense.
Q.Â Do any of you on the team, do you think, go online when you first find out about the team, maybe coaches are putting together a game plan, do you go online to find anything about the team, the school, or do coaches encourage you to just wait until they gave a report?
BRANDON DAVIS:Â Everything I have I've gotten from the coaches, the film, the scouting reports.Â I trust their judgment more than mine.Â So I just try to do things that they want me to do.
NOAH HARTSOCK:Â Nice (laughter).
THE MODERATOR:Â Thank you.
We're joined by BYU head coach Dave Rose.Â Questions?
Q.Â How is past recent tournament success, how will that‑‑ do you think that will help your team going into tomorrow's game?
COACH ROSE:Â I hope it helps in our preparation.Â As far as when you start playing, the guys who can feel the most comfortable out there in this environment the quickest I think are the ones the most successful.
Usually you can rely on experienced players, players who have been through this environment to maybe feel a little more comfortable.
But that's kind of what you hope happens.Â Once the ball's tipped and it comes down to execution, comes down to effort, and hopefully that your team can start to play the way you've played all year long in this environment as soon as possible.
Q.Â Labels tend to get put on teams, Cinderella and that kind of thing.Â And Iona seems to want to play the underdog card.Â As a coaching staff, do you ever have to deal with that psychology about either embracing a label or deflecting it?
COACH ROSE:Â Well, as far as our approach, that's not a big thing for me, personally.Â I think that there are times when, if your team has maybe been written off, that you kind of maybe use that as motivation to try and help your team believe in each other and believe in themselves.
But the first round of a tournament game, I think that what you want to do is, especially with as quick a turnaround as this game is, you just want to get your team ready the best you can to play your best basketball.
And there's a lot that goes into preparation for the other team.Â But with a really quick turnaround, I think the biggest concern for us is to try to get us to play the way we want to play and try to slow them down somehow.
Q.Â Along those lines, a lot of people are saying this might turn into a track meet.Â Is that the way you want to play tomorrow, or do you kind of want to limit that a little bit?
COACH ROSE:Â Well, what I want to do is get our guys into the flow of the game, how we play.Â And that's an up‑tempo, fast‑paced game.Â What we really have to concentrate on is in transition defense, to make them take contested shots.
Their point guard is as good with the ball as anybody we've ever played.Â And he not only can finish at the rim, he's a great 3‑point shooter.Â And then he can really make plays for his teammates.Â And his teammates are good finishers.Â They can finish at the rim, they can finish from the 3‑point line.Â We're playing the leading scoring team in the country with the point guard who has the most assists.
So it's not a team that's creating things for themselves.Â They play together.Â They share the ball, and transition defense will be a huge factor in this game.
And I would bet that he would tell you the same thing; that he probably thinks transition defense is a big key for his team, because that's how we both play.
Q.Â How does this year feel different, perhaps, than last year where everybody was caught up in Jimmer‑mania coming to the tournament?
COACH ROSE:Â You know, the feeling of being in the tournament is very similar.Â I mean, it's just that our team's excited.Â Our coaching staff is excited to be in the tournament.
I think that as far as the biggest difference is probably not the hype with Jimmer, it's probably in the turnaround; that you go from a‑‑ that we've actually played‑‑ we played our last game a week ago Saturday and found out who we were going to play last night and now we're here in Dayton this morning, or this afternoon, and play tomorrow night.
So that's probably the biggest difference as far as how things feel.Â And coaching staff's done a terrific job putting our game plan together.Â Now our players need to get a good practice in tonight and get a good night's sleep, and hopefully we'll play well tomorrow.
Q.Â For the first time the NCAA released how they ranked all 68 teams that made it.Â And based on where you're ranked, if you do the math, you probably should have been a 12 seed, but yet you're a 14.Â Is that something that you even worry about?Â Does it rankle you at all, or do you just say "hmm" and move on?
COACH ROSE:Â Probably I just feel that we're excited to be in the tournament.Â And if it was difficult for them to fit us in the tournament, then I'm grateful for the work they did to help us fit in.Â And hopefully we can advance.Â That's what we want to do, is just advance.
Q.Â With the kind of layoff you've had given the injuries and stuff, has this been a good thing for your team to have that extra rest?
COACH ROSE:Â It's hard to say, because rhythm, feel, repetition I think is something that coaches really rely on as far as how their team's going to play.
And I think that the time off has been good for our players who have needed to heal, and hopefully we'll physically be better prepared.
But mentally and how we execute, that will be a question mark for us because of the time.Â It's been a long time since we played, and hopefully we can get back really comfortable into how we play, what we want to do, how we need to execute, because all it will take is a few minutes and this team can‑‑ they can score a lot of points in a very small amount of time.
And so we're going to have to be good all game long and we'll have to be really consistent throughout the game.
Q.Â Wonder if you remember much about Lamont Jones?
COACH ROSE:Â Yeah, I remember him.Â He got 20 against us last year.Â He hit four 3s in EnergySolutions Arena when we played Arizona.Â That's a team‑‑ especially late in the game he was good.
And looks like he's doing the exact same thing here with Iona.Â He's very good off the dribble, can finish mid‑range, can get to the rim, finish, great 3‑point shooter.
When he catches the ball in any position once the ball crosses half court, he's looking for an opportunity to make an offensive play.
And if you shut him down with help, then you've caused yourself some real issues, because they're so good at sharing the ball and so is he.Â He's a guy who can hit that open man, and he's going to pass it to another guy who is a very skilled offensive player, because they have five guys on the floor at all times that can score.Â So it's a challenge.
But MoMo is a terrific player, one of the best we've played against.
Q.Â The chance to get Noah healthier if not totally healthy and get him a final opportunity in this tournament, how much did that weigh on your mind the past week and how valuable is that for you to see him get that chance?
COACH ROSE:Â We just kind of hoped that he would respond, and had a great practice Wednesday, did some individual skill work during the week, and then Saturday.Â And Wednesday he actually looked a little bit better.Â But somewhat the same.Â He wasn't very explosive.
Saturday we all got a little bit excited because it looked like he felt a lot better and made some moves in the post where he actually showed some type of explosion, especially off that injured leg.
Q.Â I was wondering if you could speak to the technology of just getting the tapes real quick.Â I know you've been to a lot of tournaments, but sounds like there was a pretty quick availability to have access to Iona.
COACH ROSE:Â We had two Iona games loaded on my iPad before I got out of the broadcast building back to my office.Â And you'd probably have to talk to Chad Bunn about how that happens, because I really‑‑ that's not my expertise.
I'm really good once it gets on my iPad, but how it gets from wherever he finds it and loads it‑‑ but our coaches have done a wonderful job.
Since then we've added five or six, seven more games.Â So we've got a pretty good look at what they do.Â You don't need to watch too many films to know what they do, because they do the same thing and they do it to everybody.Â They're really good at it.
THE MODERATOR:Â Thank you, Coach.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports