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March 18, 2014

Antonio Barton

Cuonzo Martin

Jeronne Maymon

Jordan McRae

Josh Richardson

Jarnell Stokes


THE MODERATOR:  We're joined by student‑athletes Jordan McRae, Jeronne Maymon, Jarnell Stokes, Antonio Barton, and Josh Richardson.  We'll open the floor for questions for our student‑athletes.

Q.  Just Jordan and Jeronne, the veterans, how does it feel now you're in the building and see the NCAA logos?  If both of you will talk about your emotions this morning.
JORDAN MCRAE:  It's just a great feeling for us on.  This is something that we've been working towards all year, and for us to finally be here, it's a great feeling.
JERONNE MAYMON:  To second what Jordan said, I think it's a good accomplishment for us to finally be able to make the NCAA Tournament.  And that's about it.

Q.  Jarnell, just‑‑ you talked about the NIT not being fun.  Did it hit you today when you walked in here and see all the blue and all the NCAA logos that this is the NCAA Tournament, you're finally kind of where you always wanted to be in?
JARNELL STOKES:  It hit me when we got to the hotel room, got to the hotel and we were able to see some of the things people go through when they get to the tournament.  Something I personally never experienced.
But we realize we have unfinished business.  So I don't want to get too hard, I guess.
Jarnell, what do you know about Iowa going into this game?
JARNELL STOKES:  We saw them in the Bahamas, and I stayed and I watched a lot of their games.  I saw them competing with Villanova, one of the top teams in the country now.  So this team is very good.  They can shoot the ball and they have very good balance in their offense.

Q.  Jordan, I guess both teams are in a similar position, came into the season with big expectations, are now in the First Four game in Dayton.  Coach Fran McCaffery talked about this kind of being a reset for his team, now it's a new season.  Is that kind of how you guys feel as well?
JORDAN MCRAE:  For us, it's definitely something new.  Everybody's record is like 0‑0.  68 teams right now are trying to do the same thing.
Josh, I don't know what your game plan would be, but I assume you'll spend some time on Marble tomorrow.  What have you seen from him on film and what kind of a challenge is that compared to some of the guys you faced this season?
JOSH RICHARDSON:  Devyn Marble is definitely a good player.  He's good at creating his own shots, he plays well in transition.  It's kind of tough to contain somebody like that that can do so many things with the ball.
But, I mean, I've got my guys behind me to help me if I get off balance or something like that, so I think we should be all right tomorrow.

Q.  Jarnell, for you, you tend to play well in games that there are a lot of eyes on you.  This tournament is going to be probably the most‑‑ most people that have been watching‑‑ are you excited about that opportunity?  I mean, you've put up some good numbers this year.  Do you feel like this could be a showcase of some of the things you've been doing?
JARNELL STOKES:  Well, I'm not thinking about putting up big numbers except maybe rebounding.  But anything else I'm not really thinking about that.  I just want to make the right play, make high‑IQ basketball plays and defend, rebound, do what my team needs me to win.  I'm not really thinking about numbers.

Q.  Antonio, you guys have won I think five in a row going into that Florida game, and I don't think it trailed any of those five games.  Did that Florida game at all feel like stopped your guys' momentum at all?  Because, again, you guys were beating teams so easily up to that point.
ANTONIO BARTON:  I don't think it stopped anything.  We watched a lot of film on it.  We made a couple of adjustments.  I think it's more motivation on the bounceback after a loss.  We've just gotta come in, get a job done.

Q.  Jeronne, the last time you guys had‑‑ these two teams had the potential of crossing each other was at the Battle for Atlantis.  Looking back at you guys now compared to where you are now compared to then, how has this team changed and what have you learned about yourselves since that preseason tournament?
JERONNE MAYMON:  I think we're a totally different team in all aspects from top to bottom.  I think we've all improved.  If not so physically, mentally more so than anything.  So we came a long way, made a lot of different strides and a lot of different directions to reach this point.  That's why we're playing our best basketball right now.

Q.  For any of you guys, what was it like when you first came to Dayton?
JOSH RICHARDSON:  We first got to Dayton, well, for me I remember just stepping off the bus and hearing somebody playing a bagpipe.  And we were all kind of thrown off like we just didn't really know what was going on.  Then we remembered it was St. Patrick's Day, so that was part of it.
We were all excited getting off the bus and like little decorations on the bed, so it finally set in for us that we're here and we just gotta come out and play well.

Q.  Jordan, can you talk about the pace of play, how important it will be tomorrow, average over 82 a game, no team scored 80 on you guys this year?  I know you're not afraid to get out and run, but how important is it you just don't get caught up in going back and forth with them?
JORDAN MCRAE:  Just like you said, they're a team that's scoring 82 points a game.  So we run the run when we get a chance to.  We're not trying to have an up‑and‑down battle with them.  We're trying to sit down on defense the whole game and limit them.

Q.  Jarnell, you've played a lot of close games.  I'm sure you expect one tomorrow night.  What do you guys need to do to maybe come out on top in a close game because you guys maybe haven't done that as well throughout the season?
JARNELL STOKES:  We have to want it a little more than the other team.  I feel like Florida game, Florida did a very good job, particularly at the end of the game, finishing us off well, letting our defense lead to offense.
And we just have to make plays, go to what's been working.  If they take one thing away, just someone has to generate offense.

Q.  Jordan, Jeronne, I don't know if you heard the news, rather not comment on it or not, but Bruce Pearl accepted the Auburn job today.  Either of you guys heard about that?  What are your thoughts on that, him staying in the SEC and being back in the coaching game?
JERONNE MAYMON:  We ain't got no comments on the Auburn situation.  We're here to talk about Tennessee.
JORDAN MCRAE:  What Jeronne said.
THE MODERATOR:  Fair enough.  Any other questions for the student‑athletes?  All right, Josh, Antonio, Jarnell, Jeronne, Jordan, good luck tomorrow night.
We're joined by the head coach of the Tennessee Vols.
Coach Martin, an opening statement, and then we'll open up the floor to questions for you.
COACH MARTIN:  Just very excited to be in the NCAA Tournament, great for our guys, great for our program, our fans.  Just a tremendous honor.  We're excited to be here.  We're looking forward to a great game against Iowa.
THE MODERATOR:  Questions for Coach Martin?

Q.  So many coaches talk about the importance of, /he importance of point guard play.  Is it even more important than it is during the regular season when you get to tournament time or not, and, if so, what are your feelings on that?
COACH MARTIN:  I think it's always important.  I don't think that the level raises just because it's an NCAA Tournament, you're still playing against a college opponent.
Even though Iowa's a talented team, I think after 30 plus games, you are who you are.  I don't think you can just scrap what you're doing and change.
So for us I think what Antonio and Darius, those guys have been playing well, especially in the last six games.
Even though some games they might not make a lot of shots, they are playing well and they run their team and facilitate offense, getting the ball where it needs to go and defending a lot better.
But, of course, you've got to have talented, good point guard play in order to be successful.

Q.  Coach, you see some similarities between you guys and Iowa, not necessarily in styles of play, but just two teams that entered the season with expectations, had some ups and downs but are now here in Dayton playing each other?
COACH MARTIN:  I think you can say that.  I think two teams that went into the preseason that weren't ranked, whatever the expectations were, we're picked to finish third in the SEC, finished fourth.  You go through things through the course of a season.
I think for us, when you have two new point guards in a program and you have three returning starters, a guy all‑league guy two years ago, he's back in your program.  So trying to gel those guys together to get the chemistry right, the flow right, doesn't happen overnight.  But I'm glad it's happened for our guys the last six or seven games.

Q.  Coach, can you just talk about the importance of pace of play tomorrow; they averaged over 80 points a game.  You guys haven't given that many up all season long.  How important is it you play your style?
COACH MARTIN:  I think for us it's not necessarily control of the tempo, because we'll score the ball, we'll run in transition when we have opportunities to score.  But I think for us, playing against a very talented Iowa team, we have to stop them in transition.  Similar in some ways to Mizzou, when they get up those wings, we watch film of those guys, some cases they'll score with two or three seconds, going off the shot clock, 31seconds on the clock, 30seconds on the clock, put the ball in the rim.  Not just their guards running the wings, their bigs do a great job of running.
You have to control it from that standpoint, which is easier said than done, and just really make those guys play in the half court.  You have to box out because they're a really good offensive rebounding team as well.

Q.  You guys have talked about seeing Iowa in the Bahamas back in I guess it was November.  How have you seen them, how are they different maybe now than they were a few months ago?
COACH MARTIN:  I don't think they're necessarily different.  They're still a good team.  I think in some ways they're probably better than they were in the Bahamas.  That was a new team.
They probably played four or five games before they got to the Bahamas, probably not the best opponents.
They played well in the Bahamas, went through the grind of a Big Ten season.  So in some cases you'll probably think they're better than they were at that point, even though the record might not show as much.
But I think they're a better team because anytime you go in a league of that level in 18 games and you talk about 19 games, tournament game, it's tough.  So you learn a lot.  You see a lot.
You've got some great coaching in the league, some very talented players.  I think a lot of cases they're probably better than what they were.

Q.  Can you talk about their depth versus your bench, if you think that's going to factor in at all, they play a lot of guys a lot of minutes, you play kind of three guys, are you looking at playing more, and how important is that tomorrow?
COACH MARTIN:  I think we'll go with the eight guys.  If there's foul trouble or a situation that takes place, if you can get a guy a few minutes here or there we'll do that.
But for us, we'll play the way we play and whatever happens happens.  If we need to make adjustments, we'll make them and they have good depth.  I think they've got 10 guys hovering around 15 plus minutes at least, excuse me, 10 or 11 guys and have some young guys very talented as well that played a lot early, probably don't play as much, but they have the pieces to play a lot of minutes.

Q.  When you look at Marble, what can he do not only scoring but away when he's distributing and how does he compare with McRae?
COACH MARTIN:  Well, I think two different players, though, very talented.  Marble's a guy, 6'7", can run some point, play the 2, play the 3, and some cases can possibly play the 4.  I'm not sure they play him at the 4, but with his size and his ability to hand the ball, can make shots, crash the glass, great job of catching and shooting.  And I think his skill level definitely translates to the next level.
Jordan McRae's case, 6'2" guard that scores in transition, doesn't run the point for us, but different players, but their approach is the same as far as how they score the ball, they're both in attack mode.
THE MODERATOR:  Any further questions for Coach Martin?

Q.  I asked the players this, Coach what was it like when you first arrived here in Dayton?
COACH MARTIN:  It was great.  I mean, just being in the NCAA Tournament on the bus ride, with our guys, it's a fun time, exciting time, not only for our guys, but for our fans, our program, the university.
And to walk in a hotel, to receive the fanfare that we did, it was great for our guys and our program.  So it was fun.

Q.  With the health issues you had earlier in your life and you beat them and now Coach McCaffery going through a thing with his son, he's going to have to leave, he has surgery tomorrow, does your heart go out to him and how does that, how do you think you would deal with that as a coach?
COACH MARTIN:  Obviously I said a prayer for he and his family last night and this morning because at the end of the day this is what we do for a living but it's not who we are.  First and foremost, he's a father, and that's the most important thing.
But that's first in his life.  Put it in God's hands.  And when he coaches his team, he'll coach his team.  I think it's a tough thing to deal with in a situation like today you plan the NCAA Tournament game, your players need you, but your family needs you more.  So tough thing to deal with.
THE MODERATOR:  Any further questions for Coach?  All right.  Thanks for your time.  Good luck tomorrow night.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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