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March 31, 2012

William Buford

Thad Matta

Jared Sullinger


Kansas テや 64
Ohio State テや 62

THE MODERATOR:テつ Coach, if you want to start off with a couple opening thoughts.
COACH MATTA:テつ Well, I thought we played the first half very effectively.テつ Second half obviously we didn't shoot the ball to the level we needed to.テつ I thought Kansas was much more active defensively, using their athleticism.テつ Our execution wasn't as good.テつ We didn't get as clean of looks as we needed.
Down the stretch as this tournament goes, it comes down to making some plays.テつ Give them credit, they did a great job of finishing where we had the ball, had some great shots, and wasn't able to go in for us.
THE MODERATOR:テつ Questions.

Q.テつ Thad, the Cincinnati game, very similar to this.テつ What was it about this team that seemed like they couldn't put people away when they had a big lead?
COACH MATTA:テつ Well, I think a lot of it was who we were playing.テつ Give Kansas credit, they were fighting for their lives.テつ Their season was on the line. テつYou know, like I said, we just didn't have the edge that we knew where they were going to start the second half.テつ You know, we couldn't get it done.

Q.テつ Thad, we heard you were hurt.
COACH MATTA:テつ Cord caught my foot.テつ I'm all right.テつ Thank you for asking.

Q.テつ Jared, this is what you came back for.テつ William, your shots were going down.テつ Talk about your thoughts on how this all unfolded.
WILLIAM BUFORD:テつ I mean we can't blame it on anything.テつ We had a great season.テつ We had a lot of doubters this season.テつ Nobody expected us to get this far.テつ Real proud of the guys for helping me get to the Final Four my last year.
I had a great time at Ohio State my four years.
JARED SULLINGER:テつ It hurts.テつ But, at the same time, if you look at this team a month ago, people like y'all said we wasn't good enough to get here, so...
I'm proud of these guys and everything they overcome.

Q.テつ It looked like defensively you had a tough time, you were double‑teamed a lot.テつ Looked like you really had trouble.
JARED SULLINGER:テつ I wasn't expecting Kansas to double, to be totally honest with you.テつ A couple times it caught me off guard.
I mean, it is what it is.テつ We had a chance to control that game, and we slipped on our opportunity.

Q.テつ Could you talk about you just mentioned the effect of the double‑teams in the second half that you weren't expecting.テつ How much more of a presence was Jeff around the basket, especially when he was on you in the second half?
JARED SULLINGER:テつ He was just playing hard.テつ Seemed like he stepped up his defensive intensity.テつ I mean, like I said, it is what it is.テつ We had a chance to control the game, but we didn't.テつ But you also got to give all the credit to Kansas.テつ They came out and played hard in the second half.テつ They just wanted it more, it seemed like.

Q.テつ Thad, what happened in the last three seconds?テつ Kansas inbounded, there was no foul.テつ What happened in there?
COACH MATTA:テつ You know, I'm not exactly sure.テつ It went quick.テつ We weren't set to where we needed to be.テつ You know, they quick inbounded on us and we didn't have it.

Q.テつ Thad, you mentioned maybe not having just that edge in the second half.テつ We've seen your team this year when you've had it, seen some games when you don't have it.テつ Can you see it coming when you don't have it?テつ What can you do to try to find it again?
COACH MATTA:テつ Well, I think the biggest thing for us tonight was our inability to make shots in the second half.テつ You know, Deshaun only playing 23 minutes tonight hurt us because they were able to sit Withey down there and allowed him to double‑team.テつ The game plan going in was we were going to have to spread him out and give him time to work, but also Deshaun the opportunity to stretch the defense.
That was probably the biggest advantage I think that they had on us.テつ You know, our inability to put the ball in the basket there was something that enabled them to gather momentum and get themselves going.

Q.テつ Jared just said he was surprised by how much they double‑teamed him.テつ Were you surprised?
COACH MATTA:テつ Well, no, I wasn't surprised.テつ Like I said, when Deshaun wasn't in there, they were able to sit the guys on him.テつ You know, that was probably‑‑ you know, we tried to mirror.テつ We needed a stretcher out there at that position.テつ That just enabled them.テつ It forced our hand a little bit.

Q.テつ Thad, could you talk about is there a harder play in basketball than the intentionally missed free throw, trying to get the putt‑back?テつ How often are you able to practice that?
COACH MATTA:テつ You don't really practice it a ton.テつ I thought Aaron made a great read on it.テつ You know, the way it happened there, he actually made the shot when it came off of there.

Q.テつ Jared, last year after the Kentucky game in New Jersey, you gave us a definitive announcement on what your future would be, you were coming back next season.テつ Can you do the same tonight and give us a definitive answer on where you're going to be playing next year?
JARED SULLINGER:テつ I honestly don't know.テつ That's something I'm going to take up with coach and just talk it over with him and talk it over with my family.
I really don't know my decision yet.

Q.テつ In your wildest dreams, you lose by 2, Craft, Sullinger and Deshaun combine to go 12 of 44.テつ You're probably talking about this in a different light.テつ Could you ever imagined all three having off nights like that?
COACH MATTA:テつ If you look at our loses this year, the way Jared and Deshaun have been shooting, eight for 33, you know, like you said, we needed one more guy to kind to put the ball in the basket.テつ I thought we had some second looks, they just didn't go down.テつ You shoot 24% in the second half against a really good team, it's going to be hard to win it.

Q.テつ Thad, when you're in a position to win a game like this and you don't, does it make it harder or do you still look back and say we had a heck of a run to be in this position?
COACH MATTA:テつ Well, you know, I think it takes time because what you enjoy the most about coaching is the kids.テつ You know, what this basketball team has been able to accomplish, I'm extremely proud.テつ I didn't want the season to come to an end because I wanted to come back and watch film tonight and go to practice tomorrow and play another game with them.テつ Because watching these guys come together and all the great basketball they've played throughout the course of the season, all the great wins they've been a part of, the whole locker room, they're special kids.テつ That's probably the hardest part.
By the same token, it's a tough job.テつ It's a tough profession.テつ I think you have to look and say, Hey, there's a lot of things accomplished this year, but tonight is probably not the night I'm going to do it.

Q.テつ Every game in the tournament you had at least one player come off the bench and give you something big.テつ Tonight you didn't.テつ Talk about that.テつ They didn't even take a shot, any of the reserves.
COACH MATTA:テつ Yeah, but I thought Sam with three blocked shots did a very, very good job for us.テつ The first half, even the second half, we burned some timeouts.テつ We were kind of riding the guys and felt like they had a pretty good feel for what was going on out there.

Q.テつ Obviously it's the last game of Will's career.テつ Talk about his play tonight, what he's meant for this program over the four years.
COACH MATTA:テつ Well, William has‑‑ I don't know if I can put into words what he's meant to this program.テつ Just watching his maturity, watching him grow as a person, watching him grow as a player.テつ I don't know how many wins he ended up with in four years, but I know it was a lot.
I'm proud of him.テつ I'm happy for him.テつ He's helped us build this basketball program into something special.

Q.テつ Could you talk a little bit about Withey's development.
COACH MATTA:テつ No question about that.テつ Just his size and presence.テつ He's good enough in the post that he commands a man and a half down there with his size.テつ He really, really complements what they've got out there.テつ He seems to really know his role and take great pride in it, both offensively and defensively.
They were able to move Robinson around a little bit tonight on the perimeter.テつ Withey, you got to be aware of where he is on the floor at all times.テつ They're running their four out.テつ It takes an extra man back there or half a man to guard him.

Q.テつ As you guys sit up here and take a look at the box score, what causes you the biggest reason to shake your heads?
WILLIAM BUFORD:テつ Probably the way we shot the ball.テつ We usually don't shoot this bad in the second half.テつ That's kind of mind‑boggling a little bit.
JARED SULLINGER:テつ Obviously me going 5 for 19.テつ I mean, that's not a normal shooting day for me.テつ But sometimes it happens.テつ The ball rolls that way.テつ Just them out‑rebounding us.テつ It was 42‑30 on the glass.テつ That's the way the ball rolls.テつ We still had a chance to win this game.テつ We just didn't execute.
Like I say, you got to give all the credit to Kansas.テつ They came out and they played hard, they never gave up.テつ I mean, it was a great game.

Q.テつ When you look at Kansas' roster, you talked about youth all year long.テつ Everybody that played for Kansas tonight was a junior or a senior.テつ You had one junior and one senior with a bunch of sophomores and freshmen.テつ How much do you think maybe that played into losing the lead in the second half?
COACH MATTA:テつ Well, I think if you look at Kansas' run through the NCAA tournament, their experience has helped them.テつ I know those guys didn't maybe play a ton of minutes, per se, last year, all of them.テつ But that experience is something that just being in the arenas, being in the practices, being in the film sessions, that I think is very advantageous to have that group of guys that have been in there and fought the fights.
Experience does make a difference in this tournament, there's no question about it.

Q. テつJared did you feel like yourself out there with Withey guarding you?
JARED SULLINGER:テつ I mean, I had the shots.テつ They just wasn't falling.テつ I mean, sure, why not?テつ I was myself.テつ I mean, who else could I be?
THE MODERATOR:テつ Thank you, guys.

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