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MISSOURI VALLEY CONFERENCE MEN'S TOURNAMENT


March 6, 2014


Manny Arop

Greg Lansing

Jake Odum

Khristian Smith


ST. LOUIS, MISSOURI

THE MODERATOR:テつ No.2 seed Indiana State Sycamores are with us.テつ Khristian Smith, Jake Odum, Manny Arop represent the student body here.テつ Indiana State plays the winner of the Bradley‑Loyola game, which is the 8:30 game tonight.テつ Going to ask Coach Lansing to start with a statement.
COACH LANSING:テつ We hope that's about a six or seven overtime game, and they don't get out of here until late.
Great to be here.テつ Awfully excited to be with these three guys up here that have played awfully well all year and accomplished a lot, leading their team.
We've lost a few here right before the start of the tournament, but we lost to good teams.テつ And we competed hard Saturday against a very good UNI team.テつ I think we've had good practices leading up to this.テつ We'll have one more here today, and we'll be ready to go tomorrow night.

Q.テつ Jake, could you discuss the team's last three games, the losing streak.テつ You guys had already clinched the No.2 seed.テつ Did that have something to do with it and other teams were coming at you more?テつ How would you describe the way you guys played and the last three games?
JAKE ODUM:テつ I think it was a little bit of everything.テつ We locked up the second seed, took a tough one to Wichita and really got us down.テつ We really can't do that as a veteran team.テつ I think we bounced back strong.
We turned it up a couple of notches in practice, and we've really been locked in the last week or so to get focused on this tournament.

Q.テつ Jake, obviously, so much success, your first year here at the MVC tournament, winning it.テつ Can you believe this is your last go‑round here at the MVC tournament?
JAKE ODUM:テつ It's hard to believe.テつ It went by faster than I anticipated, especially being here today.テつ It's been a long journey.テつ It's been a fun journey.テつ We're hoping it's not over yet.テつ We still want to make a little splash here and kind of show these guys that we're not this three‑game losing streak that we came in here.テつ We're not that type of team, that we're better than that, and we'll be successful.

Q.テつ For Manny and Khristian, can you guys just talk about kind of the balance of having so much on the line in terms of your overall goals coming into the season at stake this weekend, but also knowing that, to play your best, you probably have to play a little bit relaxed.
MANNY AROP:テつ We've been preparing, and like Jake said, we had a couple of good days of practice, and for us seniors, it's kind of like last go for us.テつ So it's exciting.テつ It's not like crazy pressure or anything.テつ We're just excited to get on the court, compete, and we feel like we're ready.
KHRISTIAN SMITH:テつ Like he said, we can't focus on what happened in the regular season anymore.テつ That has no impact on what's going to happen tomorrow night.テつ Like he said, we have no pressure.テつ Just one game at a time from here on out.
We did have good practices this whole week.テつ I think we've refocused a lot more.テつ Coach has got us a lot more energized and excited for this weekend.テつ Hopefully, we play just how we practice.

Q.テつ Coach, the guys all said better practices this week.テつ What's the biggest thing that you want to see different that was not happening during the three‑game losing streak for you guys?
COACH LANSING:テつ I don't really consider Saturday as part of that because I thought we competed pretty hard on Saturday.テつ I think we were a little complacent, and that starts with me, and just it wasn't so much in practice.テつ I think these guys have always been a hard working team and we've practiced pretty well no matter what game we were going into, and very focused on that next opponent.
We just got outplayed.テつ We got outplayed on the road by two good teams that were fighting for a third seed, and I don't expect any of that to have any effect on them in our preparation or tomorrow night.

Q.テつ Greg, the two potential opponents for you tomorrow.テつ Could you discuss each of them, what problems they present to you guys.
COACH LANSING:テつ Well, we're fortunate enough to sweep both teams, so that's one.テつ You always worry about that.テつ I've been part of a lot of tournaments where that kind of thing can get turned around real quick, and they're both good teams.テつ They're both good teams that are going to be well coached and well prepared.テつ We've had tough games with both in all four games.テつ None of them were decided until pretty late.
You know, with Geno's guys, it's just you start with Walt, obviously, an all‑conference guy since he's been here.テつ Dynamic player, can score, just as quick as it gets, and the type of pace they play.
Pickett always, every time I see him, I just get uncomfortable because he's a good player, and he plays hard, and he plays at both ends is what I like.テつ They've had other guys that have hurt us too.テつ The way they play and the style they play, you can't get into it.テつ We have to be us no matter who we play and play at our pace.
And Porter's done a great job with a real young Loyola team.テつ We had beat them at our place early and then had a really tough game with them at their place where they were leading even in the second half, but all freshman, all newcomer, Milton Doyle is just a tremendous talent.テつ But they've got other guys too, and they run good stuff.
I think that was the start of people zoning us a little bit.テつ At the end of the game, we struggled with it there, just making shots.テつ But both opponents will be ready to go.テつ It's a little different.テつ Bradley's got some veterans, and you've got the youth coming into their first tournament.テつ It's going to be an exciting game to watch tonight.

Q.テつ Greg, do you kind of treat this like it's kind of a nonexempt tournament type of situation where you don't have‑‑ you don't know who you're going to play and you don't have much time?テつ Is that kind of how you approach it?
COACH LANSING:テつ We were talking the other day, we haven't had to deal with this for a while.テつ We've always kind of known our opponent going into it.テつ You have to, I think.テつ They have a little advantage just by playing a game in here.テつ We'll go get some shots up tomorrow in there, and these guys have already played in it here, so there will be some familiarity.
But it is.テつ It's a one‑game seasons from here on out.テつ It's the best time of the year.テつ This is when you truly‑‑ the true competitor comes out in people.

Q.テつ Jake, can you talk about that aspect too, not knowing who you're going to play for and how it affects preparation and things of that nature.
JAKE ODUM:テつ It slows down the scout a little bit, but with our team, I think the focus is really on us.テつ We need to come ready to play, not come out and start the first four minutes slow or the first half or the second half.
We believe, if we play to our potential, we can compete with anybody or beat anybody.テつ So we're really just going to concentrate on ourselves.テつ We're going to focus on a little bit of tomorrow and run through some of their plays.
It will be an interesting matchup tonight.テつ We know that whoever wins will be ready for us, to complete against us tomorrow.テつ We've just got to stay locked in, maybe watch the game tonight and figure out a few things there, and focus in on tomorrow.

Q.テつ Greg, two‑part question.テつ What's your favorite part of this weekend and this event?テつ You mentioned Harry hitting a shot, Terre Haute going crazy because we're not in the play‑in game.テつ What's it like to come here with a No.2 seed and a team you really believe in?
COACH LANSING:テつ First time I've had to do it.テつ I'd rather be the Number 1 seed.テつ I'd have rather won the regular season championship.テつ But these guys, it's where we were picked.テつ We finished two games ahead of the people that finished third.
They've been a great group to deal with since day one.テつ So it's a new feeling.テつ My feeling, myself, is I'm just excited to get out there and play.テつ People can talk about losing the last three all they want.テつ Like Khristian said, that stuff is gone.テつ It's over.テつ I'll ride with these three guys and the rest of those guys any time.
We're just going to go out, and I'm excited to take them to the floor tomorrow night and compete and represent Indiana State and our fans in a big way.
What was the first one?

Q.テつ [No microphone]
COACH LANSING:テつ Eating at Charlie Gitto's tonight, probably part of it.テつ No, my dad is here.テつ It's great to have my mom and my dad and my brother around.テつ I love‑‑ the best feeling ever, other than seeing these guys' faces after winning it, was coming down that elevator before the championship, getting on that bus before the championship game.
I always, when we go on the road, I'm always in the lobby pacing because there's nobody around.テつ Here, we get a good old following there in the lobby of our hotel.テつ So I'd wait until the last minute, and I'd come down, and I could hear the crowd going crazy because the guys were walking through there.テつ Walking through that lobby before the championship game was a pretty special memory.

Q.テつ Jake, Coach just talked about how it was advantageous to play a game.テつ In your instance, Bradley or Loyola may have a little bit of an advantage having already played a game.テつ How do you look at that as a player?テつ Is that an advantage, having played a game, or is it more an advantage being rested and coming in fresher?
JAKE ODUM:テつ You can go both ways with that, but I think with this veteran group of guys we have, I think being able to just play tomorrow instead of having to play in today is an advantage for us.
But at the end of the day, I don't think it really matters.テつ They're going to come in here tomorrow, whoever it is, and they're going to play and give it all they've got, and that's what we're going to do too.
I do think having a little bit fresher legs does help a little bit.テつ But at the end of the day, it's a game, and everybody is going to be out there competing.

Q.テつ Khristian, Jake talked about the team working on itself.テつ What do you think is the key to that, and what has been the focus for you over the last week?
KHRISTIAN SMITH:テつ I think this week we worked a lot on getting back to our defensive principles, having more bite to the ball, the flow on defense, and just bringing more enthusiasm to the game, you know, 1 through 11, just all of us.
We've done that here in the past couple days, and we had it in the beginning.テつ Once I think‑‑ once we locked up the 2 seed, it was kind of like, okay, we did what we were supposed to do.テつ But now we have to get back to being the more hungrier team every possession, every game, every day, and we'll start it tomorrow and see where it goes.
THE MODERATOR:テつ Gentlemen, thank you very much.テつ Good luck.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports




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