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March 15, 2012

Tony Bennett

Mike Scott

Sammy Zeglinski


THE MODERATOR:  First up, the student athletes from the University of Virginia, Sammy Zeglinski, Mike Scott, we will forego an opening statement.  Questions for these two gentlemen?

Q.  Mike, talk about going up against Patric Young and what you've seen on film.
MIKE SCOTT:  Identify seen that he's a very strong player, a defensive big man but a little raw, if you let him get the ball at 6‑feet and in, he's going to dunk on you.  Very young and talented so I have to bring my "A" game.

Q.  For both of you how difficult is it to defend a team like this that has a type of scoring balance where you know who the shooters are but on any given night it could be any different number of guys.
MIKE SCOTT:  Our two systems are going to clash, they like to get up and down the court, shoot quick off the shot clock and we like to slow it down, so we're going to impose our game plan and they're going to do the same.
They are guard‑oriented and shoot a lot of three's, so it should be interesting.  The way they like to get up and down the floor is going to clash so definitely it's who is going to outlast each other, I think we will get back and get set and handle the pressure welcome out with a win.

Q.  You guys had issues with the press this year, how important of a factor do you think that will be, handling their press?
MIKE SCOTT:  We worked on that all this past week, working on the pressure.  They press a lot and they will run and jump into half‑court so we worked on that in practice and we will prepare for it.
SAMMY ZEGLINSKI:  Every day we work on ball sureness and taking care of the ball and run against the press, we go against 6, 7 defenders to help us get ready.

Q.  If both players could answer this.  It would seem that the back line defense would be vulnerable to the 3‑point shot, but you defended it well this season.  Reconcile that for me, if you could.  Why you have been effective against a defense with a 3‑pointer.
MIKE SCOTT:  That's a good question.  I don't know.  I think we just close out the shooters, and if your guy happens to drive past you then you have gap help so for the most part we're taking people out of their three's and relying on help or taking them out of three's and planning slot in our alley defense.
SAMMY ZEGLINSKI:  It's all about anticipation.  If the defense is reactive and you have to make two moves to help and then recover to your man you're going to give up a lot of 3's, but if you can make one man back to the shooter and close out, you can take away three's and guard your alley as well.

Q.  Mike, talk about the notion that people may say, well, Virginia is happy to be here after all these years.  Is that a bad thing, a good thing?  Is it something‑‑ an attitude that you have at all?
MIKE SCOTT:  First, question, we were celebrating and go we were happy when we saw our names called.
For the most part, I don't think any of my teammates are just happy.  I think we want to go deep into the tournament and win some games.  We're just not settling just for being here.

Q.  Mike, the "do" has been out for a few days, do you like the new look?
MIKE SCOTT:  I do.  Feels weird.  I don't know how the women‑‑ I don't know how you guys can do your hair‑‑ I was getting my hair done once a week, trying to get a new "do" every game, I'm glad it's over.

Q.  Did you decide‑‑ I know it's been since the end of last season but how did it come about that you said you would not change your hair until you made the NCAA Tournament.
MIKE SCOTT:  Jontel came up with it and I agreed with it and I haven't got a haircut since the ACC Tournament last Marchso we went through there.

Q.  I know this is the first NCAA Tournament trip for both of you guys and just curious about what Coach Tony Bennett has told about it from being at Washington State.
SAMMY ZEGLINSKI:  He just tells us it's a once in a lifetime opportunity.  For us it is.  We've been at the school for five years and we have been waiting for this our whole career and now that we're here I don't think any of us are complacent and we want to take advantage of the opportunity given us and we want to take advantage of it tomorrow.
MIKE SCOTT:  Celebrating is over, it happened, names were called and now it's gone.
Now we're here to work and win games.  I'm definitely excited to come out and compete against Florida tomorrow.

Q.  Do you have any initial impressions of Bradley Beal and the threat he presents tomorrow?
SAMMY ZEGLINSKI:  Well, he's a pro.  He's very athletic, talented with the ball, and he can shoot, he can get to the rim and finish.
He's definitely a concern of ours.  We're going to have to do a good job on him and make sure we limit his driving lanes to the rim and kinda make him settle for jump shots.
MIKE SCOTT:  He does the little things and he does it all.  He rebounds, scores, assists, plays defense.  He's a young, talented player so we're going to have to keep our eyes on him.

Q.  Sammy, with Florida's known representation to have grade guards it's a position that you play with Jontel.  Do you take this as a measuring stick to come up against some of the best guards in the country?
SAMMY ZEGLINSKI:  Definitely, they have great guards and I think we take pride in our perimeter defense.  One thing is going to have to give and we're excited for the challenge and hopefully we can see what we can do.

Q.  Mike, could you describe Sammy as a teammate a little bit is and what legacy you think he will leave here when this is all said and Done?
MIKE SCOTT:  Torturing me to have to describe him.  Right here?  You know, Sammy is just like we, we went through injuries, up and downs, coach changes and just so see him persevere through the adversity is amazing.
I'm sure he will probably say the same thing about me, hopefully.  Me and Sammy‑‑ this guy, he committed to UVA as a sixth grader.  He's a die‑hard UVA fan and I cherish our moments together but we're not trying to let this in right now, we're going to try to keep this thing going.

Q.  Mike, can you talk about comin' back for‑‑ getting a fifth year and coming back and this being the reward at the end of it, how that makes you feel?
MIKE SCOTT:  Last year, someone told me my injury was a blessing in disguise and I couldn't see it right then, same thing I'm trying to tell Malcolm.
To come back and shave off 20 pounds and work with Mike Curtis and work with the coaches.  My first impression was I didn't want to let down Moufasa and the other seniors but I had to do something that was helpful for my future.  For the most part it's came out pretty good.

Q.  Mike, a lot of people see your scoring‑‑ the team's scoring average and thinks Virginia plays a slow‑down style.  Obviously you have had a lot of freedom this year, can an offensive player thrive in this system?
MIKE SCOTT:  We have a lot of freedom on offense being sure with the ball and if you want to make a mistake make sure it's because you were aggressive but for the most part Coach Bennett lets you play with a lot of freedom.  He wants to be perfect on defense but where offense we're playing with a lot of freedom out there.
THE MODERATOR:  Anything else?  Gentlemen, thank you very much for your time, best of luck.
Head coach of the Virginia Cavaliers is with us, Tony Bennett.  Brief statement about being here in Omaha and we will go to questions.
COACH BENNETT:  Well, we're certainly looking forward to the opportunity to play in the NCAA Tournament.  That was a goal for our players to get into it this year.
We've got two fifth year seniors who you heard from in Sammy and Mike, and I'm happy for them that they get to taste this but we have talked about making the most of this opportunity.  We're a team that I think knows who they are and certainly in this match‑up against Florida knows that we will have to play at a high level and do certain things well to have a chance to be successful.
But, our guys are excited and this was an important step to get here and now, again, the opportunity to play well will be significant.

Q.  Tony, the pack line defense has gotten a lot of notoriety lately and probably will tomorrow on TV and so forth this, would it seem that Florida, that would be to their‑‑ their offense would be one that causes trouble for the back line?
COACH BENNETT:  Their offense gives anybody trouble.  How quick they play, regardless of the defensive system that you play, that gets your defense set.  They run a lot of ball screens and they have great spacing, Billy does a great job with space and go it's multiple ball screens and ball screen defense is really an entity in and of itself, it's not how you guard ball screens‑‑ doesn't have much to do with the pressure defense, so you're going to have to guard multiple ball screens and that will be important.
But regarding our pack defense it's a position defense and it relies on being in good position is with good pressure on the ball and whether it's guarding the three‑point line that's the thing, to make opponents shoot contested three's.  When we have played it well our defense has been good, this year it's been solid.  Florida will test you with their speed and their ability to stretch it but our challenge is making them shoot contested shots, and they're quick with the perimeter guys and getting into the lane that if you're really stretched out they're going to get all the way to the lane.  They challenge you in both ways and it's our system and we're going to play it to our fullest and make them earn the shots they get.

Q.  Mike said a couple minutes ago, talking about your offense and he feels that your offensive players somewhere a lot of freedom.  Is that a misconception about the program that because your scores are low that you're a slow‑down team anything you might have to fight in recruiting?
COACH BENNETT:  If we're playing good defense, Doug, we talked about that, teams, when we're set in our defense it takes them a while to break us down so that lowers the possessions, but offensively I want our guys to be opportunistic, if there is a chance to get a good bucket or if guys are in the position early and can take it, absolutely, so we want to take care of the ball and get good shots, but I like to give my guys freedom to use their strengths and creativity.
But, again, you have roles in the offense some guys are more predominant than others, but we want to give them the best system to be successful.  At times that's being more patient and at times it's being aggressive and score, but I can't get caught up into that or worry about the outside perception because our scores are low, what that means.  When recruits watch us or people watch us they see the opportunities that are there and sometimes we just miss a lot of shots and that's why our scores are low.
But when we are playing well and Mike is going and we have a couple of perimeter guys attacking, I think that's real efficient and effective for us.

Q.  Tony, when you came here three years ago, starting to build a program, how significant is getting to the NCAA Tournament as part of building that tournament and what about getting a win in the NCAA Tournament?
COACH BENNETT:  I think it's an important step as I said in my opening statement to get here, and we're excited about it.  I didn't realize, there is great tradition and history at Virginia, there really is but this is only the fourth appearance in the last 16 years for Virginia in the NCAA Tournament, so this is a positive step, and step it is.
Then when you can get in here and play well, it's another step, so of course, the opportunity that presents itself is great for our program to play well and move on.  That's what we are trying to build.  We made steady improvements from our first year to our second year, and now we are trying to move on.  So, again, that's what we're trying to build.
We've made steady improvements from our first year to our second year and this year I think we took a bigger jump and that's important, what you're trying to establish.
So to be here and now to have the opportunity as you always do in these games, they can do wonders for our program and we're going to certainly go after it that way.

Q.  Tony, you have coached in the NCAA Tournament before at Washington State, what role does experience play into the tournament with guys having been there before as opposed to the group that you have now that hasn't been there?
COACH BENNETT:  I think it's experience is always Golden, it is, but it's not everything.  Again, it's how you play, can you get to your system.
But there is the newness of it obviously Florida is a team, Coach Donovan has great experience, their players have all been here, and done this before, and that does help, our second year at Washington State we went I thought our guys were more comfortable and we advanced, but you got to start somewhere and, again, if you play well and you're effective, experience will take you so far and hopefully the 5 minutes after the first media time‑out we will have enough experience to play well.

Q.  Just being through that is there anything that you can pass down to the guys about that stage or anything that you've been doing this week to tell them about what the NCAA Tournament is like?
COACH BENNETT:  I think you can sometimes talk to 'em too much about it.  It's about playing the game, it's about gettin' back on defense as we talked about and making Florida earn and us being good with the ball and working to get good shots.  Not changing or not being any different.  Probably be a few more nerves, but they've played against excellent competition, been in big settings, been on TV, that's one of the things that playing in the league like the ACC gives you the opportunity to do.
Again, my hope is that we will be ready.  It's about the opponent, about the match‑up, Florida is talented, we know we're going to have to be at our best and when you draw a team like Florida when you see that name come up, that automatically gets your respect because of their abilities and I think our guys know they're going to have to be at their best to have a chance at this one.

Q.  Could you speak to how difficult their balance is?  They have a bunch of guys averaging in the double figures and any one of them is capable for a 25‑point game if you're not careful.
COACH BENNETT:  You're looking statistically the five guys that average double figures, that puts pressure on your defense.  It's not like you can layoff one of the players and load up on the other guys, so again, back to our system defensively, we're going to have to have great position, defense‑‑ it's going to have to be a team defense that's going to have to stop them and we used the term,"make them earn." If they're getting uncontested shots or easy once, we're turning it over, they're scoring in transition, they're getting second‑chance points, those cost us.
            So, again, that battle of trying to say they're going to have to earn because you can't key on one guy and that's why it's important for us to have a little more balance, when we have played well we have had balance in our offensive approach but, again, with them, the quickness on the perimeter, they will play four guards and they can score said so they have an inside outside attack and the ability to make them shoot the contested shots will be a key for us.

Q.  Tony, Pat has really battled some consistency issues this year.  Issues this year, when you see him on tape how do you deal with that?
COACH BENNETT:  He's active, he's physical, certainly he can get goin'.  But because they have‑‑ it's not like you can forget the other perimeter guys and pack it in on him and make him earn, you have to be aware of them.
He's capable, I've been impressed with him and at times he has battled inconsistencies, but he can get it going and you have to be aware of him, if you say we're going to guard the perimeter and be not pay attention to him he'll hurt you.  So we will have to have a good attack on him and make him work and earn his shots.

Q.  Tony, what's the difficult thing about Bradley Beal as you prepare for him tomorrow?
COACH BENNETT:  He's very complete.  We've played against players that‑‑ again, most of their perimeter guys are but his ability to shoot the 3 and he's playing good basketball as of late but their perimeter guys are not one‑dimensional, some games they can stretch it and shoot that many three's and they aren't as quick off the dribble or they can't beat you with pull‑ups or to the rim but he has completeness, and that's a sign of a good player, his completeness on the offensive end is impressive and the more experience he's gotten being a first‑year freshman you can see him coming into his own in the Tournament so the completeness factor with him and some of the other guards is impressive and challenging.

Q.  Tony, Jontel and Mike got the new look going, obviously they got it because of the NCAA Tournament, you like the new look?
COACH BENNETT:  Sure, I'm not going to tell them the Samson story in the Bible, they look good, they should be quicker, they're more arrow dynamic, and I guess that's something they had decided.  I don't know if they talked about it up here, that if they made it to the NCAA Tournament they would cut their hair.
It's such an exciting thing to get here and I like it better this way so hopefully they will keep it this way.

Q.  Obviously bench short at this point in the year.  Talk about the role that Paul and Darion will be playing in the tournament.
COACH BENNETT:  We're down to our seven scholarship guys so our two bench players are freshmen and in the ACC Tournament I thought they were tentative, and you don't want to go in and cost your team or make mistakes, but I think you have to go out there and rely on them and give us something and you can't be afraid of a mistake, you've got to play with an aggressiveness or a sureness that will be important because everybody's minutes are valuable and with our limited depth, they become important.  If we get in foul trouble or guys need rest or they have the ability to impact the game at different times this year, Darion and Paul have given us a nice lift.
Again, we're going to need‑‑ everybody has to give their best in this one and my hope that they will go out there and play with a quiet confidence and not be worried about making a mistake.

Q.  With the games being here in Omaha did you talk to Coach O'Connor about a different place to check out in town?
COACH BENNETT:  He sent me a text and said we'll have people rooting for you and I told him maybe we're going to rub the statute‑‑ I think he is the one that as we drove by, correct me if I'm wrong, is he the one that they're lifting up?  Right?  That's Brian there so that's pretty cool but hopefully there are good vibes, the baseball team has been here a couple of times and done well and Brian said he will get some good fans for us and he certainly wished us well.
THE MODERATOR:  Okay, Tony, thank you very much, best of luck.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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