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NCAA MEN'S REGIONALS SEMIFINALS & FINALS: PHOENIX


March 22, 2012


Draymond Green

Tom Izzo

Austin Thornton


PHOENIX, ARIZONA

Louisville テや 57
Michigan State - 44


COACH IZZO:テつ Well, it's hard to feel good and hard to feel bad.テつ It's hard to feel good because I don't think we had anybody that played at all like they played in the last three weeks.テつ But it's hard to feel bad because Louisville deserved it.テつ They outboarded us.テつ They took it at us pretty good.テつ And every time they cut the lead, they brought it up.
A little worried the first half when Swopshire, who was 3 for 20 for the year, hits two 3s.テつ And Dieng, I don't think has taken one all year, and he hits one.テつ Our game plan was to cut off the paint.テつ I thought we did actually a very good job of that.テつ And yet they hit some 3's.
And on the other end I thought we just missed some shots that we have hit, but I also thought they disrupted us a little bit and we just didn't have enough guys that could play well.
So in the end I think this team has had a heck of a run and I think we ran out of gas a little bit emotionally, mentally and physically.テつ And Louisville had the gas and deserved to win.

Q.テつ You said they disrupted you a little bit.テつ What did they do, exactly?テつ What did they do to you defensively to disrupt your shooting tonight, the offense?
DRAYMOND GREEN:テつ They played their solid defense.テつ And we thought we was pretty well prepared for it.テつ It's not our coach's fault.テつ I think they gave us a great game plan.テつ At the end of the day, players play, and we didn't, we just didn't execute well.

Q.テつ How disruptive was Dieng on defense tonight for them?
DRAYMOND GREEN:テつ He was very disruptive coming in.テつ We knew he averaged three and a half blocks a game.テつ And we're not going to back down from anyone.テつ We still took it out of him.テつ He pulled off some great block shots.テつ And that's what he do, that's his strength.テつ I think we found some lanes and we got some good things going inside, he just ‑‑ he did what he do best.テつ And I think Derrick Nix and Adreian, they did the moves they always use.テつ He played solid defense and he was the anchor in the middle for them.

Q.テつ Can you describe what it's like to end great careers like this?
AUSTIN THORNTON:テつ Well, it's tough.テつ Like coach said, it's hard to feel good and hard to feel bad because we had a special year. テつWe know we did some things at Michigan State that haven't been done in a long time.テつ We were able to win the conference championship and then we went down to Indianapolis and won the Big Ten tournament championship and that was special.テつ And we were able to earn ourselves the No. 1 seed.テつ And obviously make the Sweet 16.テつ Our ultimate goal was to make it to New Orleans to the Final Four.テつ We weren't able to accomplish that.
So it's a bittersweet feeling.
DRAYMOND GREEN:テつ Like Austin said, it's tough to feel good or feel bad, like them two said.テつ But like we told the guys in the locker room, and our coaching staff, thanks for a great year.テつ They couldn't have given us more than they gave us, and just from where we came from from the beginning of the year, no one thought we was going to be anything.テつ And for all us guys, including our coaching staff and our managers, our support staff, everybody rallied around us like the way they did, it was great.
And we couldn't have asked for a better year.テつ We could have asked for a better ending, but the year couldn't get any better.

Q.テつ You guys are usually such a fundamentally sound team.テつ When that inbounds pass goes out‑of‑bounds into the back‑court, do you just feel like this is one of those nights where things just aren't going to go right?
AUSTIN THORNTON:テつ It certainly felt like that at that point.テつ That's something I haven't done all year long.テつ And the ball just kind of slipped on the initial pass.
You can't just look at one play.テつ Give Louisville an enormous amount of credit.テつ They put pressure on us from start to finish.テつ They really disrupted what we're used to doing.テつ It's hard to game plan for how athletic and how quick and how good those guards are, and the big guy, he did a great job in the middle, too.

Q.テつ When is the last time you saw an opposing center be so impressive with shot blocking?
COACH IZZO:テつ I didn't think he hit it as much the first half.テつ The second half he really did.テつ We wanted to go inside more.テつ He did a great job.テつ But we were really out of sync, we didn't get it in, get it out and back in, all the things we had worked on.
But he is what he is.テつ He's not a 3‑point shooter, and he made one of those.テつ So it was a pretty good night for him.テつ He is a shot blocker.テつ He got those couple at the end and did a good job, he really did.

Q.テつ You talked about match‑ups being the key to winning the NCAA tournament.テつ Can you talk about just the different match‑ups and how that did or didn't go in your favor?
COACH IZZO:テつ You know, we turned it over four times in the last three minutes.テつ That means we had 11 during most of the game.
If you were to say we were going to have that, I didn't think we did many against the press.テつ The ones we did, those match‑ups were ‑‑ we made some foolish plays, inbound it right to them or something.
At halftime, I think we were at 27 percent and I said how can we be that low, and I looked and they were at 26 percent.テつ The whole game came down to really, they made those 3's.テつ And a couple of those 3's were made by people who have never made 3's.
I thought that and the fact that we just didn't execute the way we wanted to against that zone.テつ I don't think it was the big guy inside that had anything to do with it.テつ I think our guards just did not play as well as they needed to play against them.
So the match‑ups, they're a very athletic team, they're a different team than we played.テつ We always play a lot of different teams, and yet that's one we never faced, so maybe it was a bad match‑up for us.

Q.テつ It seemed like offensively a lot this year the whole was kind of greater than the sum of the parts for your team.テつ Is this the performance you feared might happen at some point?
COACH IZZO:テつ I really didn't.テつ I swear to you, I thought that ‑‑ I thought we could still get the ball inside, we could have early.テつ We missed some decent shots early.テつ He was not blocking any shots then.テつ We just missed some shots.
And I thought we let the physical stuff get to us again.テつ That's one negative.テつ That hurts us, when you don't have Branden Dawson.テつ Our guards just didn't handle that very well.
But I don't know, I mean, they did not have the best shooting night, we still get 16 boards.テつ As I said, I can't think of anybody who played really well.テつ And I don't know if it was because I feared it.テつ I think it was because they deserve some credit.テつ We deserve some blame.

Q.テつ You had talked yesterday about the chaos that Louisville creates.テつ Was that impossible to simulate for your team, because they did seem like they weren't completely prepared for it?
COACH IZZO:テつ Yeah, I said the worst thing ‑‑ and I think I made some mistakes, too, I really do.テつ I'd never come out on a Monday again.テつ I think we needed more time there and maybe get some athletes around that could do some things.テつ It was just a weird situation for us.
I thought we were mentally fatigued today and maybe that was almost too much time.テつ You're in the hotel, you're not going to class.テつ I didn't think I ‑‑ for my team.テつ They've been on the road, so they had nothing to do.テつ For my team, I really have to look at myself when I get back, and say next year, the year after, how am I going to handle it differently.
This is one of those games when I don't think we had one guy play really well, and I'm not saying we did as good a job as coaches.テつ So we grew together, we won together, we had fun together.テつ Today we cried together.テつ Because you couldn't even look at one guy or blame one guy; collectively we just didn't get it done.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports




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