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March 21, 2013
AUBURN HILLS, MICHIGAN
Virginia Commonwealth Â– 88
Akron Â– 42
MODERATOR:Â We'll open up with a statement from Coach Smart.
COACH SMART:Â Our guys did a nice job tonight executing the plan.
I got a ton of respect for Keith and his kids and their program.Â They got a great program.Â They had a phenomenal season.Â This was just a better matchup for us tonight, and that's why we were able to win.
But the guys did a nice job.Â Juvonte, Rob, Troy and all their teammates really executed the things that we talked about over the last few days, and we were able to get the win.
Now we're shifting our attention to the next game.
MODERATOR:Â Questions for the student-athletes.
Q.Â Troy, you guys were up big.Â Coach came over, kind of put his hands in your face and got up in your face.Â What was that message?
TROY DANIELS:Â He was telling me to box out, you know, so they couldn't get a second chance playing.
That's what you look for in a coach.Â No matter what the score is you want to coach it regardless really hard and that's what he did.
I didn't take it any way, but I just said, Okay Coach, I got you.
Q.Â Can you talk a little bit about guys went in early and often and sort of established that despite their bigger front line, can you talk about what the message was pre game?
JUVONTE REDDIC:Â Yes, coach, you know and everybody else knew that they had a size advantage over us, but like Coach was telling us, even though they're bigger, doesn't mean we have to switch up the way we play.
We just kept doing what we always do, you know, god in, play inside out and I think we did a good job of doing that tonight.
Q.Â Troy or Rob or both of you, in the first half it seemed like you guys couldn't really miss.Â How much did that help your press and put them on their heels?
TROY DANIELS:Â It helped a lot.Â I was making shots.Â We were getting to the press.Â That's great.
We have, you know, a press where if we're missing shots we still can get in there, but it was just to our advantage when we were making shots we were able to get in our press and start defense.
ROB BRANDENBERG:Â Basically the same thing Troy said.
You know, we want to force our pressure, but when we're making shots it's, you know, easier to get in press and easier to set up our full court pressure.
In the first half, I think guys were shot ready and we made some shots and it went to our advantage and we were able to get in the press and force some turnovers.
Q.Â Rob and Troy, I know you want to enjoy this one for a little bit, but you've got Michigan coming up Saturday.Â I wonder what your thoughts are on playing them?
ROB BRANDENBERG:Â It's win or go home right now, so we can enjoy this win tonight but we've got to realize it's a quick turnaround.
Michigan, they got a great team, so we've got our work cut out on Saturday but, you know, I'm confident I know all my teammates are confidence in themselves and Coach Smart, he's going to have us ready to play.
Q.Â Rob, you guys knew that they had lost their point guard recently.Â How much did you talk about that?
ROB BRANDENBERG:Â We defensively, you know, felt that we could use that to our advantage and really get after him in the press.
I think we did a good job really, you know, trying to exploit that.
I'm proud of the way that we battled in the first half and the second half.Â I think we did a good job, you know, using that to our advantage and, you know, got the win.
Q.Â Any of the players that want to answer, can you talk about how important the 24 to 7 run was early on?
JUVONTE REDDIC:Â I think any time a team makes a run, it's great.
Like they said, we did a good job, you know, forcing a lot of turnovers and playing good team defense.Â I think tonight was one of the best defensive plays we ever did as a team.
In the first half we did a great job, also in the second half.Â You know, in the past we had trouble.Â We either played in the first half good defense and not so well in the second half and I think we all did a good job playing the defense in the first and second half, entire 40 minutes.
ROB BRANDENBERG:Â I didn't even know that we were on a run like that.
You know, we were just in the zone.Â It all starts on the defensive end, and, you know, our defense could lead to easy shots.
Troy, he made a lot of threes in the first half and that was due to our defense and them scrambling and we were able to find open shooters.
That's the way we play.Â We try to, you know, use that to our advantage every time we step on the court.
TROY DANIELS:Â Same thing those guys said.Â I didn't know that we were on a 24 to 7 run.Â We all bought into what Coach Smart wants us to do on the defensive end.
We never know what the score is; we just out there playing.
Q.Â That was the biggest win by a No. 5 against a No. 12.Â Does that do anything for you or the team?
TROY DANIELS:Â It doesn't.
I mean, it's a great accomplishment.Â You know, we'll take it, but we just got to be ready to play Saturday.
Q.Â Guys, you have now been in the NCAA tournament three years in a row.Â How big of a factor was that in terms of coming into the game and being comfortable, your nerves compared to maybe past years?
TROY DANIELS:Â I feel like we have an advantage.
A lot of guys, they played in the tournament and we used that tonight.Â You know, we'll use it for the rest of the tournament, and we just have to be ready to play no matter who we play.Â As long as we're all bought into the plan, we'll do great.
ROB BRANDENBERG:Â Yeah, it's definitely, you know, nothing we can use to our advantage.Â I know Troy, myself, Juvonte felt pretty comfortable on the court.
We just got to try to help the younger guys with that.Â So we could get them accustomed faster.Â I just think with that experience, you know, that's going to definitely pay off in the long run.
JUVONTE REDDIC:Â Pretty much what they said.
Any team that have players that had a lot of experience in a tournament, that's going to be a great advantage for anybody.
MODERATOR:Â Thanks to the student-athletes.
Questions for Coach Smart.
Q.Â You've got the tournament experience, but this year you're coming off playing in the Atlantic Ten for the first time.Â How do you think that's strengthened your guys?
COACH SMART:Â No, similar attitude.Â The Atlantic Ten's a great league.Â We played against some terrific teams.
I think your preparation is based on the schedule you've played, both nonconference and conference, and we played as tough a schedule as VCU has ever played, and I think that that went a long way towards allowing us to get a five seed in the NCAA tournament and, you know, went a long way in having us ready to play tonight.Â But that by itself doesn't win you the game; you still go to go out and execute the plan.
Q.Â Could you talk about Treveon and his development and how important he is to your press specifically?
COACH SMART:Â He's been great.Â He's come a long, long way.
You know, he's went from as a freshman being a guy that got off to a slow start and wasn't the most confident and kind of came on near the end of the year but was a bench player to a guy who started every game, who's leading us in scoring.
And the great thing is, you know, he can be so much better and he can make so much more progress.
As it relates to our press, all of our guys are important to the press. Â You know, Trey, he usually guards the other team's power forward.Â So what that means is if they're going to use that guy to inbound the ball, then Trey's going to be a trapper a lot of the times.Â If they're going to use that guy to bring the ball up the floor, then Trey needs to do a good job defending that guy coming up the floor.
He's gotten better.Â His first year, his freshman year, he was like a chicken with his head cut off in the press, but he's certainly not Gary Payton out there yet, but he's getting better.
Q.Â In the second half keeping your foot on the gas, is that just a matter of you don't want your guys to get relaxed?
COACH SMART:Â I mean, there's a lot of time on the clock.Â So we're not just going to fall back and play zone.Â It's just really not what we do.
We stopped pressing -- well, first we stopped trapping in the press with about nine, ten minutes left.Â And then with about six or seven minutes left, we stopped pressing altogether.Â So it's not like we stayed in the press the whole game.
But our guys are going to play aggressive on the defensive end even if we're just playing half court defense, and, you know, we got some deflections even in the final minutes of the game.Â It's just how we play.Â You know, you can't turn a guy off, and we're not going to just pack it in.
I mean, the last thing I would ever want to do to any coach, particularly one of my best friends, is run up the score.Â That's just not what we do, and you can look back at our games.Â We don't do that.
You know, we had guys in the game that typically don't play very much, and they did a good job.Â It was just a tough matchup tonight for Akron.Â You know, I think I heard Keith say earlier, if they come out tonight and they're playing a different team that plays a different way, you know, they got a chance to advance in this tournament.Â They have a very good team, but just tonight without their point guard and just because of the matchup, it was going to be tough.
Q.Â Coach, can you talk about the decision to go inside at their bigger front line right away?
COACH SMART:Â This is what we do every game.Â We want to get in the paint.Â We want to throw the ball to Juvonte Reddic.Â He's a good player.Â So we want to take advantage of him.
Zeke Marshall's a great shot blocker, but the last thing you want to do when a team has size or shot blocking ability is over-respect them.Â You want to go at them.Â If they block some shots, they block some shots.Â It's not the end of the world.Â But you want to make sure you get in the paint.Â You put pressure on their defense.
One thing I was pleased with in the first half is when we only shot five threes, and we typically shoot a lot of threes.Â But what that showed me is we were really getting in the lane and getting a lot done around the basket.Â And the guy that needed to shoot threes was shooting threes.Â That was Troy.Â And then the rest of our guys were really attacking.
Second half, we got a few more up, but for us to only shoot 16 threes, that's not very many, and certainly to make eight of them, we'll take that.
But to get in the paint, to get a lot of shots around the basket was huge for us tonight.
Q.Â What are your immediate thoughts on Michigan Saturday?
COACH SMART:Â We're not going to really -- I'm not going to enjoy this one at all.
I mean, this is what we wanted to do.Â We won, but we're turning the page, man, because that's what we do this time of year.
Then after the season, when the season gets done, maybe we can watch some of our games or we play it better and feel great about them, but now it's all about Michigan.
That's what we live for.Â We don't live for the afterglow of a win.Â We live for the process and the journey and the opportunity to play a team that, you know, all year long has been in or near the top ten in the country, and that's what we'll have.Â And it will be a road game.Â We love that.Â So we're fired up about that opportunity.
Michigan's got a phenomenal coach in John Beilein.Â They got some terrific players.Â They got some NBA-level guys.Â Great opportunity for the Rams.
MODERATOR:Â Thanks, Coach.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports