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March 7, 2013

Tyler Brown

Jackie Carmichael

Dan Muller


THE MODERATOR:  Illinois State is up next.
We welcome the sixth seeded Illinois State Redbirds with head coach Dan Muller and players Jackie Carmichael and Tyler Brown.  As a reminder, once again, our microphone‑‑
As we begin with a statement from head coach Muller on the tournament, the weekend, and upcoming opponents.
COACH MULLER:  It's a pleasure to be back here, fond memories.  Got a tough opponent in Northern Iowa tomorrow night.  Obviously played them less than a week ago.  So we know each other very well.  Excited for my group, and especially my group's seniors, to come and see what we can get done this weekend.  We're excited about our opportunity.
THE MODERATOR:  Again, a reminder to state your name and your affiliation before asking your question.  Questions for Coach Muller.

Q.  Dan, this is your first time in the building since '98?
COACH MULLER:  It is.  I've known it, but it's my first time.

Q.  What sort of threw you even as you're walking inside the arena today?
COACH MULLER:  I think, when I walk on the court, there will be more memories.  I have fond memories of this arena.  We had a great time here a long time ago.  Shared a lot of exciting moments with a team that I was very close with.
It clearly has nothing to do with our team today, but I do have great memories, and I do know that‑‑ we're hoping that our group can create some of those memories this weekend.

Q.  You were at Vanderbilt last year when you guys won the SEC tournament.  Is there anything you can take from that experience, maybe from the coaching side to translate over to this weekend?
COACH MULLER:  I hope so.  I shared my experience somewhat with my team so far, and we'll share some more of those things that helped make it successful, helped us be successful last year, just the right mindset you have to be in to win the tournament in postseason play, whether it's the conference or the NCAA Tournament.
You have to go in with confidence and free your minds.  We certainly did that last year with a similar group of seniors that we have on our team this year.  They're very talented, been through a lot of things.  I can only tell them what I experienced, but I think it helps.  Hopefully, they take it, and they can use it just a little bit to gain some confidence.

Q.  Dan, there's been a lot of Missouri Valley teams that have either started fast or started slow and then kind of turned on a dime.  Obviously, your team is one of them.  What did you do as a coach to kind of keep the team on task and put them in a position to play better in the second half?
COACH MULLER:  We just stayed the course.  We actually went to some longer practices, some two‑a‑days with staying with our same philosophy.  But working a lot more on the defensive end.  Because we practice longer, we have more time that we could focus on our defensive habits, our fundamentals, just breaking things down.
We just‑‑ I wanted to make sure our guys understood that I believed in them, but I wasn't going to change my expectations of what it takes to be successful and what it takes for a program and a team to be successful.
Credit to them, especially our seniors, they kept faith.  They kept the buy‑in.  We won some close games, which helped us, and from there, we played pretty well.
It's not real complicated, basketball.  It doesn't mean it's easy, but if you guard, you have a better chance to win, and we got back to doing that.

Q.  Hi, Dan.  Seeing Zeisloft practice the last couple of days especially, how much do you think you can get out of him this weekend?
COACH MULLER:  I'm not sure yet.  Nick is still not 100 percent.  He's got a brace on, which he'll have to wear until the end of the year, and that may limit his ability a little bit.  You never know if he's game ready.  With a little bit of conditioning and time off and a little timing, I think he's certainly capable of playing.  How much, you've got to wait and see what he looks like when he's on the court in live action.
THE MODERATOR:  We'll move to questions for our student‑athletes, Jackie Carmichael and Tyler Brown.  Again on the left in the middle.

Q.  What did you learn most from last year, when you came so close to winning this, that you can use this year?
THE MODERATOR:  Jackie, why don't you start.
JACKIE CARMICHAEL:  I think just staying in the moment.  Just being able to take one game at a time and not looking ahead.  You just have to focus.  When you get too far ahead of yourself, that's when you kind of‑‑ you've got to keep everything in perspective.  So just stay in the moment will be our biggest thing, what I learned most from last year.
TYLER BROWN:  For me, last year was my first year experiencing the tournament.  I think I will just be prepared more for what's going to happen and the game time situations and the experience.

Q.  This question is for Jackie.  Jackie, 14 double doubles on the season.  You led the conference.  Do you at all feel underrated with all the talent in the league and kind of go in with a chip on your shoulder, would you say?  If you don't feel like you do, can you talk about your mentality going into each game.
JACKIE CARMICHAEL:  I've always felt I have a chip on my shoulder.  I've always tried to use that as extra motivation.  I think at the end of the day, we do have great players in this conference.  I'm just trying to battle with them.
Obviously, they also have great talent.  But at the end of the day, I'm just trying to play with a chip on my shoulder and make my team better in the process.
THE MODERATOR:  Gentlemen, thank you very much.  Good luck to the Redbirds.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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