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NCAA MEN'S 1ST ROUND: DAYTON


March 13, 2012


Luke Apfeld

John Becker

Matt Glass


DAYTON, OHIO

THE MODERATOR:テつ Good morning.テつ We're joined by Vermont student‑athletes Luke Apfeld and Matt Glass.
Questions?

Q.テつ Matt, are you surprised to be here, and what is this atmosphere like jumping into it right now?
MATT GLASS:テつ It's very exciting for all of us right now.テつ It's an honor for us to be here.テつ We couldn't be more excited to play, and we're looking forward to getting on the court tomorrow.

Q.テつ I realize that because the president's here and the prime minister, that it's changed things for everybody.テつ But is it difficult for you to play a game in an arena where you have not played before, you won't get a chance to practice at the UD Arena, I don't think?
MATT GLASS:テつ It can be a little difficult sometimes.テつ But we're just going to do our best getting used to the atmosphere tomorrow as quickly as we can.テつ And hopefully on the first few minutes of the game we can get used to the court a little bit and settle down.

Q.テつ Matt, how much do you rely on keeping the team focused?テつ It's kind of a crazy atmosphere situation for everybody.テつ You as a leader of the team, how much is that part of what you're trying to do today?
MATT GLASS:テつ We want to stay as focused as possible today.テつ There are a lot of distractions out here.テつ It's a pretty wild atmosphere, something that we're not really used to with a lot of younger guys.テつ So it's really important to keep our focus today to learn as much as we can about Lamar and to prepare as much as we can for tomorrow.

Q.テつ Luke, obviously you guys just won the title just a couple of days ago.テつ It's been sort of a whirlwind couple of days.テつ What's been the schedule like since then and how are you guys able to try to prepare, turn this around quickly?
LUKE APFELD:テつ It's been fun, but we know our goal is to win a game in the NCAA Tournament, make a run.テつ Our season is not over.テつ The guys have been excited with beating Stony Brook down there and then coming back into to Burlington, seeing our fans and stuff like that.
Like Matt said earlier, we've just been trying to stay focused and really live in the moment and remember that we still have some basketball to play.

Q.テつ Could each of you talk a little bit about Lamar, what you know about them, what you've heard about them?
MATT GLASS:テつ We know they're very fast in transition.テつ We know they're very athletic.テつ They've got a lot of very talented guards.テつ So we're going to have to work really hard on the defensive end to keep those guards‑‑ limit their penetration and really have a great defensive effort to try to contain them.
LUKE APFELD:テつ It's definitely a battle of contrasting styles.テつ But the coaches have been stressing that we need to play Vermont basketball and do what's made us successful and gotten us to the point this year that we are at now.テつ Like Matt said, that's defense and rebounding and execution on offense.

Q.テつ How often is the Syracuse win from 2005 brought up to you guys?
LUKE APFELD:テつ I know personally I was redshirting the year we last went to the tournament, two years ago, and we were about to play Syracuse, and we watched the Syracuse game from a while back before that.
But it's definitely kind of a standard we hold ourselves to, I think, because that was a great Vermont team, possibly the greatest ever, and they did some great things.
But we're concentrating on ourselves and realize they did great things, but we hopefully can do great things as well.

Q.テつ Along those lines, Matt, you were from Vermont, grew up in Vermont, you followed the game closely.テつ What were sort of your reactions to that team or how close were you following that team in 2005?
MATT GLASS:テつ I was right there every second of that game.テつ I was glued to the television that day.テつ And I couldn't have been more excited for T.J., Taylor and those guys.
So to now be in this tournament, I never thought that I would end up here, and to have an opportunity to play a winable game in this first round here, it's exciting, and we're going to get as focused as we can and try to play our best basketball tomorrow.

Q.テつ Luke, is this a good opportunity for the team because you're playing another mid‑major school, as opposed to playing a No.1‑ranked team in the country, another 16 seed?テつ Is that a good opportunity for the team to go out and get a NCAA Tournament win?
LUKE APFELD:テつ I think it is.テつ It's a good measuring stick for us, especially coming this late in the season.テつ We've had a very up‑and‑down season, and thankfully it ended on a positive note in terms of the regular season and the tournament.テつ But definitely playing another mid‑major team, a difficult game, it's going to be‑‑ it's a great measuring stick, especially for some of our younger guys, and it hopefully will be a great way to go out for Matt.

Q.テつ Matt, with such a young team, you're on such a big stage here, are you as a leader trying to keep the team grounded, some of the younger players?
MATT GLASS:テつ Trying to keep guys grounded as much as possible, but at the same time it's important to enjoy the atmosphere and everything that comes with it.テつ We're excited to be here, and we're going to do our best to get focused in on tomorrow and to stay in that moment.
But at the same time, we're going to definitely enjoy that moment and have fun with this game.

Q.テつ Matt, what makes Four so good?
MATT GLASS:テつ Four puts in a lot of work behind the scenes.テつ He doesn't just roll up on game day and knock down shots.テつ He's always in the gym.テつ He's a gym rat if I've ever seen one.テつ He puts in more time than almost anybody I've ever been around.
So I think all that hard work that he puts in and all those reps he gets up behind the scenes just on game day, it becomes easy for him.テつ And we couldn't be happier with his performances, and as a freshman he's got nowhere to go but up.

Q.テつ Either Matt or Luke, over the past couple of years you've been one of the best road teams in the country, you won two true road games to win your conference tournament.テつ What's made you guys so good away from Patrick?
LUKE APFELD:テつ I think it's a testament to our coaching staff and their ability to prepare us for games away and home.テつ But especially away, as you were mentioning, they were doing a good job keeping us focused.テつ And even though the atmosphere may be hostile, they do a good job keeping us focused and keeping us playing Vermont basketball.テつ And, again, to our guys who followed this, the scouting report, and stick to what the coaches are telling us, it makes winning on the road a lot easier.
MATT GLASS:テつ We take our preparation very seriously.テつ That starts with the coaches, and everything that they do to prepare us for every game.テつ We have very detailed scouting reports that we do our best to study and get down pat before the game starts.
So I think that puts us in good position come game time, and fortunately we've been able to carry it out successfully, more often than not.

Q.テつ Luke, obviously the team's been battle tested the last couple of weeks.テつ Had to come from behind from deficits and had to win double overtime wins, win the championship on the road.テつ Has all this experience prepared the team for an atmosphere like this?
LUKE APFELD:テつ Absolutely.テつ I think it all started with our Binghamton loss which was probably the toughest moment in the season for us.
But after that, the coaches kept stressing how we were going to battle adversity and how the Binghamton game wouldn't be the last hard spot in our season.テつ And I think we really responded well, especially the weekend down in Hartford, and then in Stony Brook game guys just stayed focused, stayed with the plan.
You're going to be down at some point in the game, things won't be going your way, but their ability to keep us in the game and in the moment, like Matt said, I think that's really‑‑ it will bode well for us in the future.

Q.テつ Both you guys were with the program but not actually playing the last time this team was in the NCAA Tournament.テつ Anything about the experience that caught either one of you guys by surprise, either a good way, bad way, just different than what you were expecting?
MATT GLASS:テつ Just to be a part of it and to actually be mentally preparing myself to be on the court this time and to be playing and to be trying to help my team, that's just an adjustment itself.
But it's exciting.テつ At the same time, it's something that I was waiting for for a while.テつ So I'm just really thankful that I'm here and really glad to be here.
LUKE APFELD:テつ Yeah, I think that we're both realizing how fun it is sitting on the sidelines, you're kind of‑‑ while you're still part of the team, you're kind of separate from the team at the same time.テつ And just going through this whole season, it's been a tough season, great wins, great losses, and now to be here it's been fun.テつ And college basketball is awesome and something we're finally being able to experience.
THE MODERATOR:テつ Thank you.
We're joined by Vermont head coach John Becker.

Q.テつ How often is the Syracuse win in'05 brought up to these guys, or do you try not to talk about things like that?
COACH BECKER:テつ Oh, no, we'll talk about it as much as you want.テつ It comes up quite a bit.
I was just in another interview where it came up.テつ And it's probably the greatest win of Vermont basketball history.
So we love talking about that game.テつ And really proud of that and hopefully we can get the program's second NCAA victory tomorrow night.

Q.テつ Is it a little bit disjointed for you because you don't get to practice on the actual court that you'll be playing?
COACH BECKER:テつ We'll shoot around there tomorrow.テつ So today we'll have a good practice over at Wright State, and so we'll get to shoot around there tomorrow, which will be fine.
I understand there's a lot going on over there today.テつ So we'll enjoy the no distractions and have a good practice today, which will be important.

Q.テつ I know we talked to you‑‑ Sunday night you didn't know much about your opponent, being just learning.テつ Now you've had a chance to study the film, what's your impressions of your opponent, Lamar?
COACH BECKER:テつ Lamar's a talented team, likes to get out in transition, play really fast.テつ A lot of talented offensive players.テつ So it's going to be a game of contrasting styles, and we'll have our hands full tomorrow night.

Q.テつ Are there any teams that you've played this year that are similar to Lamar that you draw some kind of comparison?
COACH BECKER:テつ Yeah, I think there's comparisons to Iona.テつ I think that both teams like to play really fast.テつ Both have a lot of good offensive players, good guards, and so I think they're similar.テつ The team we've talked about is Iona.

Q.テつ Playing a guard‑oriented offense like that, is this an opportunity for some of your bigs, some of your front court players to make an impact on this game?
COACH BECKER:テつ Hopefully.テつ We play inside‑out basketball.テつ We like to play through our bigs.テつ And so we will‑‑ I think this will be a game that they'll have an opportunity, a size advantage on some of their guys and opportunity to throw it in there and play through those guys.テつ So their bigs are good shot blockers and they do have some size, so it's not going to be easy.
But we're going to play the same way we've played all year, and we'll play inside out and hopefully those guys have some success.

Q.テつ Lamar coach Pat Knight caught a lot of attention for the press conference he had about three weeks ago.テつ Did you have any thoughts on that and how he approached that with his team?
COACH BECKER:テつ Yeah, I think he understood his team.テつ He understood that they needed some encouragement.テつ And I think it worked.テつ They've won six games since then.テつ And, like he said since, he understood he had tough kids on his team and that they would respond to that kind of public calling‑out type of situation.テつ And that's all part of coaching and understanding your team and what it takes to get the guys motivated and refocused.
In hindsight, it worked perfectly.

Q.テつ Some teams don't really like the First Four because it's a quick turnaround and you end up‑‑ well, it's a difficult turnaround and on short notice.テつ In this instance, though, it seems like it's an opportunity for a team to get a win, to get a little momentum going into the tournament.テつ And a win's a win, I would think, in the tournament.
COACH BECKER:テつ Absolutely.テつ We're looking at this as an opportunity to play a team that is similar RPI, we have the exact same record, similar type conferences, as far as RPI goes also.テつ So an opportunity for us to compete and play a game that we think we have a chance to win and just prolong this NCAA experience a few more days and longer.
We're looking forward to it.テつ We're really excited for being here.テつ I want to thank Dayton for hosting this.テつ It's a great basketball town.テつ And we're real excited to be here.

Q.テつ Can you just talk about the last couple of weeks since the Binghamton game and finishing off the season and two comebacks in the America East Tournament and now here in the NCAA Tournament, just emotionally for you and the team what's the last couple of weeks been like?
COACH BECKER:テつ The Binghamton game was obviously disappointing.テつ We won 10 games going into that game and had a chance to close out our regular season and be regular season champions and tripped up there at Bimington.
They beat us that night, but that loss I think is what's propelled us to where we are today, to be honest with you, and refocused our guys and made them understand that we have a small margin for error and we have to play a certain way and do certain things to be successful against anyone.
And since then the guys have got that message loud and clear, and they've responded and we've played really well since then.テつ We played two true road games in our conference tournament, and some‑‑ faced a lot of adversity and tough environments and were able to win those games.
So we learned a hard lesson that night, and since then I think we've been playing really well.

Q.テつ John, you have such a young roster, hardly any of them have experience on this stage.テつ How do you keep the team loose?テつ Was their performance in the early goings at Stony Brook give you hope going into this game as far as their attitude and their composure?
COACH BECKER:テつ Yeah, I feel good, especially after the weekend at Hartford and Stony Brook game.テつ It's a loose group.テつ If you've ever been around our team, it's a loose group.テつ So I'm not worried about them getting too uptight.テつ And we'll just continue to try to keep things as normal as possible for them and keep things as they've been every game and approach it the same way and let them enjoy, obviously, the experience.
But when we get into practice and other things like that, it will be business as usual.テつ And we're excited to play this game, and I expect our guys to come out and play well tomorrow night.

Q.テつ When you took over your first year and started in October, did you imagine you would be sitting here?
COACH BECKER:テつ Honestly, no.テつ I mean, this is more than I had expected in my first year.テつ I knew we had a good team coming back.テつ And we compete every year for our conference championship.
We've been postseason eight of the last 10 years, we've been in the championship game of our conference tournament seven out of the last 10 years, and this is now our fifth NCAA Tournament appearance in the last 10 years.テつ So I knew we had a chance.
But we had a very tough nonconference schedule.テつ And we had some tough losses early in the year.テつ And with a young team, you never know how that's going to‑‑ how they'll respond to that.
But once we got into conference play and things started to click and guys started to‑‑ I think those early nonconference games started to pay off, and we started to win some close games, and then we got on a little‑‑ got on a nice 10‑game winning streak there.
So, yeah, we feel fortunate to be here.テつ And this is beyond my wildest dreams.
THE MODERATOR:テつ Thank you, Coach.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports




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