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March 23, 2013

Rob Brandenberg

Juvonte Reddic

Shaka Smart


Michigan テや 78
Virginia Commonwealth テや 53

MODERATOR:テつ We'll begin with an opening statement by Coach Shaka Smart.
COACH SMART:テつ I thought Michigan was terrific today and they played great every facet of the game, the guards, their big guys.テつ You know, they obviously were the much better team today.テつ And if they continue playing the way they did today, they got a chance to go a long way in this tournament.
As for us, just was not our best game.テつ We didn't have quite the spirit or energy that we've had when we've been at our best.テつ I'm not sure why.テつ You know, we'll certainly watch the tape and analyze it.テつ But, again, a lot of it had to do with Michigan.テつ They were terrific.
I do want to say I'm really proud of all of our guys, but particularly our three seniors.テつ They're the winningest class in VCU history.テつ They won more NCAA tournament games than anyone in the history of the program, and they're a huge, huge reason why we're even in a position to play today.テつ So proud of those guys.テつ It's too bad that their career had to end today the way that it did, but a lot of credit goes to Michigan.
MODERATOR:テつ Questions for the student-athletes.

Q.テつ Juvonte, can you talk about Mitch McGary?
JUVONTE REDDIC:テつ He was a great player, you know, he was very strong in the post, and, you know, he just outworked me tonight.
He got the better end of the game, the top, and, you know, I expected him, you know, to be physical like he was tonight.テつ You know, but, yeah.

Q.テつ Rob, were you surprised at how easily Michigan appeared to be able to break your full-court press?
ROB BRANDENBERG:テつ I wasn't surprised.
I think, you know, it started with us.テつ Like coach said earlier, we didn't have that same energy, that same spirit we needed to get the job done.
They took advantage of that and got open threes.

Q.テつ Rob, it was tough to make threes, but it seemed like it was really tough to get threes.テつ Were they long enough and quick enough to get out and make it tough to get shots?
ROB BRANDENBERG:テつ You know, the shots that we -- you know, that were open, we didn't make.
I mean, sometimes it happens like that.テつ You just got to shoot the ball the same way.
They did a good job defending, you know, me, defending Troy.テつ But at the end of the day, we didn't defend.テつ So that's what it really comes down to.

Q.テつ What kind of presence did Michigan have deep under the basket and why was rebounding or lack of it for your team critical in this game?
JUVONTE REDDIC:テつ It was very critical.テつ You know, they got a lot of second chance points off of rebounds.テつ You know, the entire night, they just controlled the boards.テつ There was no point in the game where we really controlled the boards.
So it played a really critical point in the game tonight and, you know, that's not going to -- if you get destroyed on the rebounds, on the boards, you know, you're not going to win the game.

Q.テつ Rob, can you describe what your career's been, what it's meant to you to play here at VCU?
ROB BRANDENBERG:テつ Can you say that again?

Q.テつ Can you describe what it's been like for your three years here and what you think of what it's been like for the seniors here and what they've contributed to the program?
ROB BRANDENBERG:テつ You know, Darius, Troy, and David, you know, provided for this program, you know, it's going to be forever remembered.テつ You know, they did a great job, you know, leaving their mark.
Right now it's all about them.テつ You know, it's kind of tough right now, but, you know, they're always going to be remembered here.

Q.テつ Rob, is there a point where you guys will be able to sit and sort of reflect on what you guys were able to accomplish this year?
ROB BRANDENBERG:テつ You know, later on in the future, but right now, you know, I can't do that.
MODERATOR:テつ Thank you, student-athletes.
We'll take questions for Coach Smart.

Q.テつ So much was made of Trey Burke and pressuring him but some other guys handled the press pretty well, it seemed.テつ Talk about their alternate means and methods.
COACH SMART:テつ They have a lot of players and a lot of good ball handlers.テつ I think Burke is the best of them, but, you know, Hardaway did a nice job against the pressure.テつ Stauskas did a nice job.テつ Robinson helped out.
You know, I thought that as a team they did a good job.
We had stretches where we bothered them.テつ We were able to turn Burke over seven times, which, you know s. a great number for someone that's that good of a player, but overall, we only forced twelve turnovers, which is much lower than what we normally do.
They were able to, when they did break the press, really make us pay, and I'm sure that was their game plan.テつ We didn't fix it well enough out of the press.テつ So that was one of the big differences in the game.

Q.テつ Was there anything you saw in film with Mitch that would leave you to believe he would have that kind of impact?
COACH SMART:テつ Well, I saw Mitch McGary quite a bit in AAU basketball.テつ There's a reason -- I think at one point in the year, at one point in his senior year he was in the top two or three players in the nation.テつ You know, he came in here as a very talented kid, and then the coaching staff at Michigan's done an unbelievable job molding him and teaching him how to be successful at this level.
He's had that motor since high school, but they've given him great guidance.テつ You know, he outworked us tonight or today.テつ He was terrific.テつ He went down and chased all the loose balls.テつ He was very good on the defensive end, physical presence.テつ You know, I knew he was really good.テつ I certainly didn't know he was going to have 21 and 14 against us, but, you know, that's what good players do at this time of year; they step up and play their best.

Q.テつ You said yesterday this was -- as usual it's a risk/reward for you guys and you knew it would be a challenge if they broke it.テつ Talk about when they did.テつ They went to the basket and dunked it.テつ Does that always happen or is that just something that was part of their game plan?
COACH SMART:テつ No.テつ They did a nice job and, you know, we did not do a very good job fixing -- we say fixing it out of our press.テつ You know, again, it is a risk/reward situation, but when we've been at our best, we've been able to press people, and even when they do break the press, we've been able to get matched up and then make them run their half court offense.
We did that at times tonight, but way too often Burke was able to get in the lane, other guys were able to get in the lane.テつ Then our big guys had to help up, and they dropped it off to McGary or kick it out for three.テつ And Michigan did a tremendous job of capitalizing on those opportunities.テつ Sometimes when you force those type of situations, it ends up actually being good for you because the other team takes a hurried shot and misses.テつ But Michigan capitalized almost every time.

Q.テつ Coach, you had to sit Darius within the first three or four machines with foul trouble in the first half.テつ How much did that hurt both offense and defense?
COACH SMART:テつ Well, we had to sit him.テつ We also had to sit Juvonte Reddic.テつ Those two are arguably our best two players.
You know, we've dealt with foul trouble this year.テつ It was a little frustrating.テつ I think the officials were kind of letting the game go a little bit, which is good this time of year, but, you know, unfortunately Darius and Juvonte were called for those two quick fouls.
I think it does affect you, but the reality is you have to have other guys come in the game and step up and play well, you know, and I don't think that's the only reason we lost.テつ But not having two of our best players in there certainly affected us.
You got to give credit to Michigan for making sure that they were on the offensive and very aggressive the whole day.
When we're not the most aggressive team on the floor, then that typically doesn't bode well for us, and today we certainly were not.

Q.テつ You guys always think you're in a game obviously no matter what the score because of your style, but was there a point in the second half when you realized that it was just going to be too much to overcome?
COACH SMART:テつ Well, we never give up, if that's what you're saying.テつ You know, we're always going to keep playing, we're always going to keep attacking, but they did a great job of -- once they had that lead in the second half and they were able to break pressure, their guards kind of dribbled around, Burke and some of their other guys.テつ I thought the kid Albrecht did a nice job coming in and contributing for them and playing under control.
And then, you know, they were able to really eat a lot of clock that way.テつ So the game went -- the clock went faster.テつ So certainly when that was happening, then, you know, you don't really feel good about the way it's going.

Q.テつ You talked a lot about matchups.テつ Was this not a good matchup for you guys today?テつ Second, you've got the program to the point where your goal is not to win one game in the NCAA and go home.テつ Can you put into words your disappointment with this outcome?
COACH SMART:テつ Well, the first question is about the matchup.テつ I think, you know, certainly in retrospect it wasn't a very good matchup, but again the credit for that goes to Michigan.
I don't think that we, for whatever reason, had great bounce today and energy.テつ You know, our guys tried.テつ They always do, but I think what Michigan was able to do to us early on and us missing some easy shots around the basket and maybe some outside looks we'd normally make that, may have contributed to our spirit not being quite where it needed to be.テつ So in terms of a matchup, yeah, I think Michigan's a tough matchup.テつ That doesn't mean that, you know, we couldn't have won the game if we hadn't have played better.テつ And maybe they hadn't have played as well.テつ But, yeah, I think it was a tough matchup for us.テつ That's certainly not an excuse.テつ Excuses get you beat in the NCAA tournament.
They just were the better team today.テつ That's really all I can say in terms of that.
In terms of my disappointment, yeah, I mean, any time you lose, it's disappointing.テつ Any time you lose by the margin we lost by, that's even more disappointing.テつ And then in the NCAA tournament format, it's win or go home.テつ So now that we lost, we have to go home instead of, you know, moving on to the Sweet 16, which that's a tough pill to swallow.
I think you're trying to get at the expectation that we have to go further.
You know, on one hand, Paul, I'm proud.テつ I'm really proud of our guys who -- somebody told me earlier, I think we're one of seven programs in the whole country that's won an NCAA tournament game each of the last three years.テつ I think that says a lot about what our guys have done and the progress we've made as a program.テつ But obviously today, not good enough.テつ We need to be better.テつ We need to get better, and that's across the board.テつ That's all of us.テつ That's what we'll set out to do.
MODERATOR:テつ Thank you, Coach.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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