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March 21, 2013
THE MODERATOR:Â We're now being joined by Notre Dame student‑athletes Eric Atkins, Jack Cooley, and Jerian Grant.
Q.Â Start with Eric.Â Eric, what did you know coming into this week about Iowa State, and what do you know about them now that you've seen tape and gamed up a little bit?
ERIC ATKINS:Â Before this week, I watched the game against Kansas at their place.Â I watched them a little bit there, and I really knew that they could shoot the ball from 3 really well.
Watching them some more, I found out pretty much the same thing.
JACK COOLEY:Â I kind of learned the same thing as what they said, that all five positions can shoot.Â They run the floor very well, and they're more of a spread‑you‑out kind of team as opposed to a four‑out, one‑in type of team.
They're just a really good offensive team, and they're very efficient with the ball.
JERIAN GRANT:Â Yeah, it's basically they like to shoot 3s.Â We're going to have to defend the 3‑point line in.
Usually, Big East teams like to go inside on you, so you defend inside out.Â But tomorrow is going to be from outside in.
Q.Â Jack, is there anybody that Iowa State particularly reminds you of that you might have played this year?
JACK COOLEY:Â Maybe a little bit of‑‑ we've been comparing them slightly to Villanova this year because, when we played them, it was after they came off their two big wins in the regular season.Â They were the shooting the ball really well.Â So we had a very good 3‑point awareness in that game.
As Jake said, most teams aren't oriented with the inside presence that they go to regularly.Â So it's been kind of hard to find comparisons of teams we've played.
Q.Â Follow up on that.Â You said most Big East teams aren't oriented like that.Â Does that make this week fun or more difficult because it's a different style of ball?
JACK COOLEY:Â I think it makes it more fun because the tournament is supposed to create fun matchups to watch and make it more difficult, and you play teams you normally wouldn't play.Â This is a perfect example of that where the style is so different than what we're used to playing.
I think it makes it more fun because sometimes it gets boring having to play against teams that you know exactly what they're going to do.Â To kind of get thrown up against someone that you haven't played against and they haven't played against is going to be fun to watch.
Q.Â Jack, when were you guys at your best this season?
JACK COOLEY:Â I think‑‑ honestly, I think during the end of the season and the Big East Tournament and the couple of games leading up to that, besides the Louisville hiccup, we were playing really well.
When we played against Marquette, that was some of our best basketball we played all season.Â We really started to get into a flow of players really knowing their position and their roles on the team and how to play in order for us to win.
Right now we're clicking very, very well, and we're playing our best basketball.
Q.Â Did you guys get away from sharing the ball and being a little more cohesive than you were earlier in the year?
JACK COOLEY:Â I think maybe we got away from it during the middle of the season, but I think we got back to it greatly with these two guys controlling the ball and pushing their shots around.Â It really stems from their unselfishness that helps our team play so well.
I think we've gotten back to that.Â I don't think we ever left it, but I think it's more in the forefront now at the end of the season.
Q.Â I'm just curious, all three of you guys, what kind of reaction did you get about the green uniforms?
JERIAN GRANT:Â Well, they were kind of love or hate.Â Some people loved them.Â Some people hated them.Â There was really no in between.Â Either you hate them, or they're real nice.
Q.Â What did you think of them?
JERIAN GRANT:Â I liked them just because they're different, and it's something different.Â So that's good.
JACK COOLEY:Â I mean, kind of the same really.Â I got a lot of people‑‑ I could tell a lot of people weren't telling the truth to me when they said how they felt about them.
I personally really liked them, but it is what it is.Â I'm happy that adidas gave us the opportunity to wear these uniforms, and they're really nice.Â I'm glad we're respected enough to be given such a gift as these uniforms.Â I like them personally.
ERIC ATKINS:Â I really like the jerseys.Â I wish Obama was on our side about the jerseys.Â I like them a lot, though.
Q.Â Are you guys wearing them tomorrow?
ERIC ATKINS:Â I think we're wearing white.
THE MODERATOR:Â Eric, Jack, and Jerian, thank you for your time.Â Good luck tomorrow.
We're now being joined by the head coach of Notre Dame, Mike Brey.
We'll start with an opening statement by Coach, and then we'll open the floor for questions.
COACH BREY:Â Thrilled to be part of this thing.Â It's four years in a row, six out of seven for us.Â I never take for granted being part of this NCAA Tournament.
So thrilled to be involved.Â I'm thrilled for this group, that this nucleus kind of played together last year and got to the tournament.Â They're back again, and they'd like to do better.
Q.Â How much easier is it the second time around for guys?Â Just overwhelmed maybe the first time in?
COACH BREY:Â I would hope, especially for our guards.Â Jerian and Eric played last year.Â They played older than they were to get us the bid.Â And then in the postseason I thought they played their age a little bit, especially the Xavier game.
I think they would really like another shot with another year under their belt and being experienced.Â Experience helps in everything in college basketball in that you've been part of the tournament once.Â I think it can be a great advantage.
Q.Â A guy like Jack Cooley plays in four tournaments in four years hasn't happened in a while.Â What does that say about him, and then in the context of your program, where it's at?
COACH BREY:Â I'm really proud of it, with the consistency of our program to have his class be the first in over 23 or 24 years to do it every year.Â He's probably spoiled.Â I told our guys that, our seniors.
They're spoiled a little bit because not a lot of people live like that.Â But for Jack, I'm proud of him.Â He certainly came to us as a young guy when we had some good older players, but he learned a lot from them.
Then he was kind of able to carry us to NCAA Tournaments maybe last year and had a big hand in it this year.
The consistency of our program, as we try to kick it to another level, this is a good thing for us, four in a row.
Q.Â If I could actually follow up with a completely different topic.
COACH BREY:Â Sure.
Q.Â Duke assistants, the Coach K tree, not too many guys have been successful over a long period of time, with sort of the exception of you.Â Any thoughts on why it's been that way for such a revered program?
COACH BREY:Â It's a great question.Â I'm asked that a lot of times.Â Certainly, Tommy Amaker has reinvented himself at Harvard very successfully.
Maybe one advantage I had was I played for Morgan Wootten and my experience coaching then with him.Â Then I played under Bob Tallent, who was a Kentucky Adolph Rupp guy, for one year when I transferred to GW.Â Then he got fired, and I played for Gerry Gimelstob, who came from Indiana and was a Bob Knight guy.
So I probably had more experiences other than Mike K.Â Mike K.'s preparation was the ultimate for me, and I'm forever thankful because, when he hired me, he let me get my hands on everything, and I thought he really let me be ready to be a head coach.
But I had more than just Duke background, and I think that was really helpful.
Q.Â Can I ask one more follow‑up?
COACH BREY:Â Hey, it's me and you, baby.
Q.Â Chris Collins, I don't know how well you know Chris.Â At this point‑‑ I know you know him from years ago.Â Any ideas or thoughts about how ready he would be to take on a job?Â He's being mentioned for Northwestern.
COACH BREY:Â I know Chris.Â I was part of recruiting him when I was there.Â I stayed in close touch with him.Â I think he would be very ready to be a head coach, and he'd be very ready to be a head coach at the Big Ten level.
I think with Chris, his initial thing is he's got great energy and juice, and when you're taking over a program and you want to rebuild or try and get it to places it's never gone, you need great energy, and he has that.
Q.Â You talked about on Sunday how getting ready for Iowa State is unlike everything else in the Big East.Â Does that make this week more fun or more challenging?
COACH BREY:Â Great question.Â A little bit of both.Â We've gone in with a real loose, have‑fun frame of mind.Â But our preparation, I'm glad we had an extra day‑‑ we don't play until tomorrow‑‑ and we had a while to digest it.
They're unique.Â With five shooters on the floor at times and spreading you out and not much of a low post presence, it's really an adjustment for us.Â We played some similar teams in our league, but not anything like this.
I thought, as much time as we had, we needed to prepare for our big guys, not playing a whole lot of post defense, but having to rotate up and maybe switch out on a shooter.
Q.Â Mike, just curious, what does a five‑overtime game do for tournament preparation?
COACH BREY:Â I'll tell you what.Â You know what, it's the game of the year, and still our fans‑‑ I don't know, when I went out in South Bend, I grabbed something to eat, I'm at the mall, at a restaurant‑‑ I don't really go to the mall.Â Why did I say that?Â I never go to the mall because it would be a pain in the butt.
Anyway, that's all they know we played.Â They don't know of any games we lost since then, thank God.Â They don't remember the two thumpings Louisville gave us.Â They remember that one.
You know what it did, though?Â It really did give us like another level of confidence.Â It brought Garrick Sherman back, who was not playing for us, and Cam Biedscheid played 50 minutes off the bench.Â I've never played anything like that in college basketball, but it helped us believe a little bit more.
It helped us solidify a spot in this tournament.
THE MODERATOR:Â Anything further?
COACH BREY:Â Thank you.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports