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March 14, 2012

Mark Few

Kevin Pangos

Robert Sacre


THE MODERATOR:テつ Let's go on now with our student‑athletes for Gonzaga.
Welcome to Pittsburgh, traveling across the country to play the tournament tomorrow.テつ Anything you'd like to say?
ROBERT SACRE:テつ Let's just get the questions started.
THE MODERATOR:テつ Questions for the student‑athletes from Gonzaga.

Q.テつ Robert, the other night when you had the conference call after the selection was announced, the word you used was you were 'salivating' about this matchup because of the physical nature of West Virginia.テつ Do you not get to do that much in West Coast Conference play?
ROBERT SACRE:テつ Well, it's a different style on the West Coast.テつ But I think when you go against West Virginia, it's more physical.テつ I think just in the Big East, you look at the Big East teams, they're very physical, very strong inside.テつ It's much of a power game.
So I think we're very excited to see that.テつ We haven't seen that in a while.テつ Nothing against the WCC, but it's a different style.テつ I think we're just really excited to see a physical team like West Virginia.
KEVIN PANGOS:テつ Yeah, same thing.テつ We're all prepared for a physical game.テつ We know they're going to come out, crash the glass, really be physical with our guards and posts.テつ We've been stressing that a lot.テつ We've got to be just as physical.
THE MODERATOR:テつ The time zone makes it difficult.テつ Have you got to see the Mountaineers play much.
ROBERT SACRE:テつ Yeah, we see the Mountaineers.テつ They're on ESPN quite a bit.テつ We know Huggins' style of play.テつ We're all prepared for that.

Q.テつ When you look at the task of a Kevin Jones down low, how do you plan on stopping him?テつ Will it be you?
ROBERT SACRE:テつ I think he's a great player.テつ We got to limit his touches, make sure that he doesn't get easy baskets.テつ He's a great offensive rebounder.テつ That's where he gets most of his baskets.
We have to make sure that nothing comes easy for him.テつ When it comes to like simple plays, we have to make sure it's very difficult for him to catch the ball deep within the basket.

Q.テつ This is arguably a home game for your opponent, 75 miles to Morgantown, 2200 miles from here to your campus.テつ Usually your fans are well‑traveled.テつ This time there's a lot of hardships, maybe economic.テつ Tell us about the challenges if you don't have that many Bulldogs fans.
KEVIN PANGOS:テつ We're just going to treat this as an away game.テつ We're not sure what the fans are going to be like.
Really, we're not worried.テつ That's not what our biggest concern is.テつ We're more worried about our approach to the game, how we handle the other team and our own strategy.
The fans, no matter how noisy they are, we're just trying to focus on what we can control.
ROBERT SACRE:テつ I feel if you're at Gonzaga, you come into this tournament, you're guaranteed to have a backyard team.テつ You always have to go somewhere else, in someone else's backyard, no matter if you are a higher seed.
That's what always comes into the tournament.テつ We're used to it, so it's nothing new to us.テつ We're just ready to go play West Virginia.

Q.テつ Is there still a perception that West Coast teams are soft?
ROBERT SACRE:テつ I feel sometimes we get that impression.テつ But if you look at even BYU last night, they grinded it out.テつ They were physical inside with Brandon Davies and Hartsock.テつ The mentality of basketball in the West Coast is changing, becoming a more physical game.テつ It's great to see that.
You know what, I feel we can compete with any team in the country.

Q.テつ Kevin, against BYU in the WCC tournament you had a great game, finding your shot.テつ Not so much against Saint Mary's.テつ How important do you feel it is for you to get that going early?
KEVIN PANGOS:テつ Hopefully my shots fall in.テつ Sometimes you can't always control that.テつ I'm just going to stay aggressive.テつ If I have open looks, I'm going to let it go.テつ My teammates have confidence in me that I'll knock it down.テつ If I'm open, I'll let it fly.
I'm going to try to do other things well, as well.テつ Not just my shooting.テつ I'm going to try to control the pace of the game, find my teammates open looks, do other things just than shooting.

Q.テつ Obviously a great line of guards at Gonzaga.テつ You're the latest in that never ending string.テつ Did you feel any extra responsibility?テつ That position has produced well for Gonzaga.テつ Do you feel any extra pressure being an underclassman to follow in that line?
KEVIN PANGOS:テつ Not necessarily.テつ I put a lot of pressure on myself to perform to the best of my ability.テつ I don't really think about that as much.テつ Obviously there's been a great line of point guards.テつ It's an honor to try to carry that tradition.
I'm just trying to do what I can to help the team win, if that means scoring the ball, passing the ball.テつ Hopefully I can do as well as those guys in the past because they were pretty solid.テつ Whatever I have to do, as well as I have to do it, I'll do my best.

Q.テつ You tried to limit touches for Kevin Jones.テつ How do prevent a guy like that from getting those offensive rebounds?
ROBERT SACRE:テつ By any means necessary.テつ Keep him off the glass.テつ He's boxing them out.テつ He has a great talent of finding the ball, locating the ball whenever it goes off the rim.テつ So we just got to make sure that you keep a body on him at all times, be physical with him.
I think we have a great game plan for him.テつ I'm not too worried about it.テつ I know he's going to come out and play his style of basketball.テつ We'll be already.テつ We just got to play our game and be physical and match their intensity.

Q.テつ As far as youth on this team, there's a lot of young guys playing in their first ever NCAA tournament.テつ Kevin, this is a new experience for you.テつ Do you feel that ignorance is a good thing?テつ You can enjoy it a little bit?
KEVIN PANGOS:テつ Yeah, sometimes.テつ Obviously I've grown up watching March Madness.テつ I always dreamt of playing at this level.テつ So it's obviously really exciting.
But at the same time I'm just going to treat it as any other game, play as hard as I can, not really look at any of the March Madness or blow it up too much.
I'm just really excited and looking forward to the game tomorrow.

Q.テつ Robert, you've been here a few times now.
ROBERT SACRE:テつ I feel old now (laughter).

Q.テつ Are you trying to impart some wisdom on these guys?テつ What do you see your role as here?
ROBERT SACRE:テつ Make sure everybody is prepared and ready, have their game face on, bring that intensity that we know we're always good at.テつ Just be fired up for the game.
I think our young guys are ready.テつ They've been through tough games already this year, so I'm not too worried about them.テつ I know they're going to bring their game.
So let's just get this West Virginia started.テつ I think everybody on our team is ready to go and ready to get this game going.
THE MODERATOR:テつ Gentlemen, thank you.
Coach Mark Few, no stranger to the NCAA tournament.テつ 13th appearance, right, coach?
COACH FEW:テつ Right.
THE MODERATOR:テつ Do you want to make an opening statement or go right to questions.
COACH FEW:テつ Let's go right to questions.テつ Make it easier.
THE MODERATOR:テつ Questions for Coach Few.

Q.テつ What does it mean to be here yet again?テつ You do it time and time again, but it's never easy.
COACH FEW:テつ Well, it means everything to us.テつ I mean, it's why you play college basketball.テつ Why you compete in college basketball is to play on the biggest stage and to make the tournament.テつ It is the tournament you want to be involved with.
I'm really, really proud of our guys, to be able to negotiate their way through a difficult non‑conference schedule that we usually have.テつ Then our league was as good as it's ever been in the 22 years I've been at Gonzaga.テつ It was great to see them get through that, earn their way into the tournament.

Q.テつ This is not new for you, traveling across the country to play a team in their own backyard.テつ How do you handle that again?
COACH FEW:テつ You know, I think the one thing we try to always impart on our guys is control what you can control.テつ We don't have any control of when and where.テつ But, you know, again, we just need to take advantage of the fact that we're in the tournament and try to play our best basketball on Thursday.テつ That's kind of what we're trying to focus in on, and see if we can advance.

Q.テつ When you found out the venue, so close to West Virginia, 50‑minute drive for them, were there audible groans in the room?
COACH FEW:テつ No, not at all the neat thing we have this year is we have a bunch of young guys, and they're new to college basketball.テつ They're excited for everything.テつ You know, we were excited that our name popped up there once again and saw the matchup.テつ We knew we were going to play somebody good.テつ Low and behold, we are playing somebody good.
I don't think really anybody looked at the logistics and all that until a little bit after.

Q.テつ Could you talk about when you first realized that social media, Twitter, Facebook, was something that was a part of your players' lives, and if you developed a policy, talked to them about how to talk about their lives on there.
COACH FEW:テつ Again, you're dealing with probably one of the all time great dinosaurs in regards to social media here.テつ I don't have email.テつ I don't do Twitter.テつ I don't do Facebook.テつ I'm awful darn proud of the fact that I don't.
I probably can't give you great commentary on that, other than I warn my guys about it all the time.テつ Whenever anything pops up there that somebody got in a little hot water for, we always try to educate our guys on it.
I understand it's out there, it's not going anywhere.テつ God bless all those people who do use it, but at this point in my life I don't really have any interest in it.

Q.テつ Are you aware of the term 'bromance'?テつ How close are you with Bob Huggins?
COACH FEW:テつ What is the term again?

Q.テつ Bromance.
COACH FEW:テつ Bromance, no, I'm not aware of that.

Q.テつ I was going to try to explain it to you, but...
COACH FEW:テつ All I can tell you is he's a great guy.テつ He's a guy's guy.テつ He's a great guy.テつ He's always treated me great.テつ Being one of the real big‑time coaches in college basketball way back when.テつ My first year as a head coach, we play his Cincinnati team that I thought would have won the national championship that year if Kenyon wouldn't have broke his leg.テつ We had a great year, competed, enjoyed it.テつ I think he's one of the real characters left in college basketball that just isn't afraid to say what's on his mind.
He's the same way on the court, off the court, in front of you guys.テつ I think that's a real neat quality to have.テつ I think when it's all said and done, when you look back at everything he's done, I mean, he's got Hall of Fame‑type credentials.テつ Big fan of his.

Q.テつ How tough is it to play a friend in the NCAA tournament knowing that one of you are going to see your season come to an end?
COACH FEW:テつ I mean, it's not ideal.テつ It's about your team, about your program advancing this time of year.テつ You don't want it to end.テつ They're in the way from us moving on.テつ I think we're both competitors.テつ We both know that.テつ Win, lose or draw, we were friends before this, we'll be friends after that.テつ I think we both understand that.

Q.テつ You talk about playing Bob's team at Cincinnati.テつ How does this team compare to those teams you played and how might this team be different from other Huggins' teams you've seen?
COACH FEW:テつ Well, they all kind of share the same Hug's qualities.テつ They're tough.テつ First the thing that comes to your mind is just how tough they are and how physical they are, I mean, unbelievably physical.テつ And they all rebound the ball well.テつ This team rebounds the ball unbelievably well, especially the offensive end.
I think they share those kind of same qualities kind of year in and year out.
THE MODERATOR:テつ How does this team compare to your past teams?テつ What do you gain each year from the tournament experience?
COACH FEW:テつ This is easily the youngest team I've ever brought into a tournament.テつ But, you know, this team shoots the ball or can shoot the ball extremely well.テつ Probably one of the more balanced teams we've had.テつ We can score, double‑figure score, at a variety of positions.テつ I mean, we seem to be able to play, you know, we can grind it hopefully if we have to, and we like to play fast, too.テつ It's pretty versatile in that way.
Definitely the youth is probably the thing we haven't dealt with in a tournament setting like this.
THE MODERATOR:テつ You certainly didn't back off your November and December schedule because of that.テつ You have quite the reputation for playing one of the most challenging schedules in the country.
COACH FEW:テつ Some of those things are four‑year contract deals.テつ Once we got into the middle of Michigan States, Illinoises, Notre Dames, Xaviers, Arizonas, that was a pretty daunting stretch there in December.テつ These guys held up really well.テつ To be honest, it really surprised me.

Q.テつ You mentioned style of play.テつ Robert said the other night he's salivating at the possibility of playing a physical game against a West Virginia team.テつ Is your team one that wants to play that sort of grind‑it‑out style?
COACH FEW:テつ Well, obviously, you know, that suits Rob.テつ I think Rob throughout his five years or 25 years, however long he's been at Gonzaga, I mean, he's had some rough stretches.テつ Sometimes the games are officiated a little bit differently from West Coast to East Coast.テつ A physical guy like that loves to be able to hit and grind and rumble a little bit.
I think after watching tape on West Virginia, I think he's looking forward to the challenge.テつ But it's going to be a challenge.テつ You know, it's one of those be careful what you wish for things, too.
But we've played physical teams this year and done pretty well.テつ And I think if I was to pick a style, you know, from finesse being one, physical being the other, we're far better if we're playing over here on this side of the continuum.

Q.テつ Robert was also talking about how he's going to try to limit Kevin Jones' touches.テつ He goes well with the flow of the game, getting the offensive glass.テつ How do you keep a guy who gets the offensive glass from doing that?
COACH FEW:テつ You have to have a real attention to detail.テつ You have to have a big‑time attention to detail because this kid's just got a nose for the ball.テつ He really has a great understanding of what shots are getting ready to go up.テつ He sets up shop in there and he does a great job of finding the ball.
I mean, he's just very interesting to watch on film, to see how opportunistic he is offensive rebound‑wise.テつ I think Rob is one of our best, best I've ever had, of inside guys with attention to detail defensively.
THE MODERATOR:テつ Coach, thank you very much.
COACH FEW:テつ I'll work on my 'bromania,' whatever.テつ This must be a Facebook term or something (smiling).

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