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March 15, 2013

Tony Bennett

Joe Harris

Akil Mitchell


North Carolina State: 75
Virginia: 56

COACH BENNETT:¬† First, credit to N.C. State.¬† They were warriors on the offensive glass.¬† When Wood gets it going they become so dangerous.¬† I think they're the most offensively talented team in our league with the five on the floor at most times and for us to have a chance in this game, we talked about it, there were a couple of areas that we had to be at least an "A" or "A‑" and it was to limit transition ability and as few of rebounds as possible.
They used their toughness, got offensive rebounds and got transition buckets and we didn't play very well.  That's the result against a talented team like that.

Q.  Joe, what made it a tough shooting day for you today?
JOE HARRIS:  I thought they did a good job of overplaying, they made shots tough and contested and had a hand in the face.

Q.  Joe, some of those 3s that Wood was knocking down, did you feel like you contested ed those, did you feel like he was in the zone, did you feel you closed out nicely on them?
JOE HARRIS:  I felt like you gotta rush for a moment and he allows a little bit of space and that's all he needs to knock down a shot.

Q.  Tony, this is another slow start not unlike the Maryland game.  Any explanation for why the team has been so slow out of the gate last couple of games?
COACH BENNETT:¬† We talked about‑‑ obviously you always talk about trying to start the right way.¬† We were sluggish, mixed a few easy ones, couple of turnovers, they got good looks and every time we tried to make a "mini" run, if you want to call it that, they would answer with a 3 or we would have a breakdown.¬† That was discouraging, you can't have breakdowns like that against a team like this.

Q.  Akil, talk about the lack of success for this team since you came into this tournament.
AKIL MITCHELL:  We struggled in the first round, we played N.C. State last year and last year we had a couple guys banged up and there is no excuse.  We have struggled to find our way in here, but I have faith in our team and hopefully we've got some basketball left.

Q.  Coach, N.C. State, you scouted them closely, obviously, did they look more confident than you saw in Charlottesville?
COACH BENNETT:  Wood had a terrific game against us, he wasn't as hot there and they're a different team with Lorenzo Brown.  He makes them go.  He played 10 minutes against us and rolled his ankle and that changes the complex of the game when he's on the floor.
The play of Richard Howell and certainly C.J. Leslie on the glass, even if they can make plays individually whether you trap you have issues, if you try to play 'em one‑on‑one you have issues, but those two guys were playing, I thought, at a high level of class.¬† I know Richard Howell banged his foot and C.J. Leslie's stat line, 6 of 17 but I think Browne makes all the difference and Wood with his shooting.¬† He hit some special shots and as Joe said it was both, some we did a poor job on and some we were right there and he got it rollin'.

Q.  Tony what does this do to your NCAA chances and did you feel the pressure like you were playing for an NCAA spot today?
COACH BENNETT:¬† What will be, will be.¬† We have some quality wins, we have some bad losses and who knows what will happen.¬† I'm sure people won't give us much of a chance, the Committee will make their decision, this would have helped and I thought we had the right mind‑set going in, we prepared hard and knew the keys but if you're off against an offensive team like this you won't have much of a chance and we have a fine line.

Q.  Coach, you were a great shooter yourself, you probably had nights like Joe had as a great shooter, not so good tonight and also great nights like Scott Wood had tonight.  What did you see in terms of spacing and defense that made that happen between two great shooters?
COACH BENNETT:  They probably keyed in on Joe, guarded him better than we guarded Scott Wood, but as I said, if he earns them and they're tough shots we live with 'em, but it's when we lose vision or relax and he gets a clean look those are the breakdowns that you can't have and it was a combination of both.  He had it going and they tagged, Joe got good looks, he was off today that happens.  And we always say don't let your shot affect the rest of your game and you try to be as sound as possible in other areas and impact the game.
Wood has some nice pieces and if you just guard him they're going to hurt you in other ways.

Q.  Tony, the first start for Tobey since November, talk about that decision.  It looked like he was "off."

¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† COACH BENNETT:¬† Yeah, I think we finished the second half of the Maryland game, in overtime.¬† I thought we were playing good basketball in terms of going inside.¬† He gives us a scoring threat and some size, I was hoping on the glass.¬† We were worried about the match‑up, certainly, if it was Richard Howell, who we had to match up on and it was obviously a big stage against high‑level guys and he was a little off, but the reason is I thought we finished the Maryland game and we thought we needed to be a little more traditional to battle them.

Q.  I know it was a tough night but what are some positives you took ought of the game?
COACH BENNETT:¬† This game, right now, it's hard to find some.¬† Our effort was good.¬† It was, but our execution‑‑ effort without execution or soundness doesn't get you a whole lot.¬† These guys are a group‑‑ and I sound like a broken record but you certainly can win with 'em and you can lose with them, and you know they're going to fight for the next practice and they're about the right stuff.
On the floor I'm struggling a little bit, the stat sheet will show some good things that happened but I'll have to get back to you on that one, how's that?

Q.  Joe, seemed like they were getting into you, being physical, how does that compare with how they placed you last time and compared to other teams you have faced this season?
JOE HARRIS:  They did a good job of making cuts hard, they weren't making anything easy, if I had a down screen they were trailing the cut and they were playing tight.  It was a little bit different.
I thought at home we did a good job, we were in more of a rhythm offensively and it seemed like things were click and go guys were able to get good shots and tonight it was different.  Akil played well tonight for us but other than that it was hard to find rhythm.

Q.¬† Tony you trailed by 19 early in the second half and you cut it to 11 after Warren's technical.¬† Back‑to‑back possessions they had three, maybe as much as five shots.¬† Was that the last straw there?
COACH BENNETT:¬† You never want to say that but that was probably our chance to get it into a single‑digit lead, fortunate to hit that shot and then you're right, Akil looked like he was fighting his butt off in there trying to get a rebound and we needed to come up with one and those are the plays that you gotta get.
We weren't able to do that against them, the perimeter, we didn't have size, there were match‑up problems all over out there but getting back, there was an easy transition layup that we lost sight of a guy and that hurt us and those offensive rebounds were the nail in the coffin, so to speak.

Q.  Your team and its body of work has become a litmus test for an unusual combination of a great record against good opponents, but too many bad losses.  You're a fair guy, how much weight do you put on those things?
COACH BENNETT:¬† I don't know, I think I told you before, said we're the "Dos Eqis" bubble team, we're the most interesting bubble team in the world, we gotta stay thirsty, right?¬† Was that you?¬† Who was it?¬† It was‑‑ someone, I'm sure, will claim it.
We do have some quality wins, absolutely.  Have some bad losses, have the injuries, they'll have to make those decisions.  It is a unique situation and that's where it's at.

Q.  Did you guys feel pressure today playing like you were playing for an NCAA bid?
JOE HARRIS:  No, I thought our coaching staff and everybody around us, we did a good job of being prepared and focusing in on just the game at hand.  Coach always talks about how that stuff will take care of itself if we have to focus on playing good basketball.
AKIL MITCHELL:  Just like Joe said, I felt like our team was focused on this game at hand.  We all had ACC Tournament Title was our goal.  Whatever happens, happens, you can't worry about that and you have to get yourself ready to play.
COACH BENNETT:¬† And in the Maryland game I thought‑‑ we dropped those two games and I thought we played with a little pressure.¬† I didn't sense that from them, I knew we were going to have to play great basketball for the Maryland game but I didn't sense that with these guys that much today.
THE MODERATOR:  Thank you. 

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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