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March 19, 2014

Archie Miller

Devin Oliver

Jordan Sibert


THE MODERATOR:¬† Good afternoon, everybody.¬† Welcome to Buffalo, New York, First Niagara Center, for our press conferences today.¬† Today's format will be student‑athletes first then followed by the head coaches.
I'm joined on my right by Devin Oliver and Jordan Sibert from Dayton.  Welcome, guys, to Buffalo.  We'll go ahead and get started with questions.

Q.  Devin, what are the keys to this game?  Are you going to score against the Buckeyes?  What have you got to do to win?
DEVIN OLIVER:  I think the most important thing going into this game is just do what we do every day.  The team up to this point has just got us to this point.  So just continue to be the day in and day out team.
Obviously, defense, rebounding, and limiting our turnovers are probably some of the more important factors of the game.

Q.  What about Aaron Craft?  He's a great defender.  How do you deal with him?
DEVIN OLIVER:  Craft is a great player.  He plays extremely hard.  From what I've seen, over the course of my career, watching him play, he plays extremely hard, and he has a will to win.
We've just got to match that with our hard play.  We know he's a good on ball defender.  So some other guards, other than the point guards, are going to have to help bring the ball up and relieve the press.

Q.  This is for Jordan.  Welcome to Buffalo.  Obviously, you've probably been asked this question several times.  Deep connections to Ohio State and what your reaction when you saw the bracket come out, and what this game tomorrow might mean to you?
JORDAN SIBERT:  Definitely excited when I heard that we were playing them.  You know, every transfer would love to get a chance to go against their old school again.
But definitely just excited.  Me and my teammates are just blessed to be in this position and just be in the tournament.  Playing Ohio State is definitely going to be a tough game.  They're a great defensive team.  We're definitely going to have our work cut out for us, but as long as we just stay together and play hard and play how we've been playing all year, we'll be okay.

Q.  Just as a followup, what led you to Dayton?  Any hard feelings in regards to Ohio State?
JORDAN SIBERT:  No hard feelings at all.  Leaving the program, Thad did a great job helping me find a new place.  My choice for Dayton was pretty easy.  I've had a great relationship with Coach Archie.  He's actually the one who recruited me to Ohio State.  Me being from Cincinnati, making that trip to Dayton was definitely an easy choice for me.

Q.  Jordan, you and B are the only guys who have been to the tournament before.  Have your teammates been asking you questions all week?
JORDAN SIBERT:  Not really.  They're excited for the opportunity just like me.  Me being from Dayton and enjoying the whole trip, I'm reliving it all over again.  This is my first time with the Flyers, and I just want to enjoy it with these guys.

Q.  Jordan, talk, if you would, about how your redshirt year.
JORDAN SIBERT:  My redshirt year was very important to me.  Not only just working on my game, but getting familiar with my teammates, being able to get familiar with the system, how Dayton works.  It definitely took my game to a whole other level.  I really give credit to the coaching staff who really took time with my game and to my teammates who really helped me develop and really pushed me in practice.
Even though I couldn't play, just in practice every day, just making the game like as much as possible for me, so I give credit to my teammates and my coaches.

Q.  Ohio State's basketball program maybe could be looked at as the top basketball program in the state.  How important is it on a national level with this platform to maybe take down the top dog?
DEVIN OLIVER:  I mean, it would be great, but as a team, we feel like we deserve to be here.  I don't think you can really get into that big brother/little brother mentality, per se.  We're a great basketball team.  We're here to win.
The most important thing here is advancing.  Not just beating Ohio State, but getting to the next round.  I mean, it would be great to beat anybody, but we just want to advance.

Q.¬† You mentioned the keys for you guys, rebound, defense, limiting turnovers.¬† Three‑point shooting has been really good.¬† Devin, what do you see from their three‑point defense that stands out?¬† And how could that be a challenge for you?
DEVIN OLIVER:  We haven't watched an extensive amount of film just yet, but Ohio State is known for their defense, getting on to shooters, running them off the line, and then the next player stepping up and helping.  So I think it's just important for us to take good shots.  If you can drive the ball and kick it to get an even better shot, then that will only help out our team.
So I think just continuing to share the ball.

Q.  For Devin and Jordan, like you said, I don't know how much you've seen of Ohio State, but how difficult do they make it on the opposing team to inbound the ball from the baseline?  It seems like that's something they really put on emphasis on.
JORDAN SIBERT:  They definitely take a lot of pride in denying that pass and trying to get steals and turning teams over.  So we've definitely looked at that on film, and that's one thing that we want to make sure we take pride in the ball and make sure we don't turn it over and just try to be as protective as we can.  That's something we know that they take pride in.  That's where they do score.  So it's something we want to limit for them.

Q.  Jordan, taking something that Devin just said there, the big brother/little brother thing.  You've been in both programs.  Was there a feeling like that when you were at Ohio State?  Do you see any difference in the two programs?  Ohio State's a little higher profile.
JORDAN SIBERT:  One thing I would say about Ohio State, they're competitors.  Regardless, it seems like they can win, they're all competitors.  So I don't think there's a little brother/big brother thing here with me.
Being from both teams, I know we're both competitors.  Thad's a great coach.  Archie is a great coach.  We all just want the same thing.  We all want to win and advance.

Q.  Jordan, where did you visit besides Ohio State when you came out?  What did you pick Ohio State over?
JORDAN SIBERT:  I believe it was over West Virginia and Tennessee.  It was so long ago.

Q.  Jordan, the fact that you know these guys, how much is it an edge for you in terms of a competitive drive versus needing to stay within yourself and not do too much?
JORDAN SIBERT:  I'd be lying if I said I wasn't like I'm not hyped about the game.  Playing against your friends and going against people who you've grown up with is definitely, definitely something to be excited about.
But at the end of the day, I want to win.  Me and my teammates want to be considered winners at the end.  It's not about me.  It's not about me playing against old teammates.  It's not about Jordan or Coach Miller versus Ohio State.  It's about Dayton Flyers versus Ohio State.  And at the end of the day, we just want to win.

Q.  Chip on the shoulder, the idea of Dayton versus Ohio State, but also you versus Ohio State, how much is there one?  As you mentioned, you'd be lying if you said you weren't hyped for the game.  So to what degree?  How would you explain it?
JORDAN SIBERT:  I definitely have a big chip on my shoulder, definitely want to go out there and play to the best of my ability, not do too much, just go out there.
Whatever my team needs for me, I don't care if I score a lot or a little.  At the end of the day, as long as we have a win on our side, that's all that matters to me.

Q.  Jordan, how are you doing?  In terms of you developed relationships while you were at Ohio State, who did you have the closest relationship with as far as another player?  And how often do you communicate with those individuals?
JORDAN SIBERT:  I would say Craft is my closest relationship.  I talked to him earlier in the year.  We haven't really communicated as much.  As far as lately, I've talked to Sam the most.  Actually, I texted him a smiley face once I heard who we were playing, and he said, I'll see you Thursday.
So definitely no hard feelings with most of the teammates.  We were all family there.  It's just basketball.
THE MODERATOR:  Time for two more.

Q.  Devin, were your parents excited that Western Michigan also ended up here in Buffalo?
DEVIN OLIVER:  Yeah, Western recruited me coming out of high school.  They're five minutes down the road.  I always give my parents grief about Western because it's their alma mater.  They both played there.  It's their alma mater.
But they're excited.  They said they're happy to come and watch me play as well as their old school.  So I'm happy for Western too.  Good to see a team out of Kalamazoo in the tournament.

Q.  Do you know any of the guys on that team?
DEVIN OLIVER:  Yeah, actually, one of the kids, Von Washington III, he went to my high school as well.  He was my principal's son.  He plays there.  So, yeah...

Q.  Jordan, if you could just tell me what Devin means to this team.  I mean, he's the guy, the senior that's been here, and you guys kind of ride him a little bit.
JORDAN SIBERT:  Devin is the heart and soul of this team.  From practice to outside of the court, he brings energy.  He brings life to this team, and it's good.  You know, when you transfer anywhere, you always want to try to find who you can be compatible with and who you can hang around.  This guy's been a great friend, been a great influence.  He's definitely somebody I'm proud to have on my team and proud to be on this journey with.
THE MODERATOR:  Jordan, Devin, thanks for your time.  Appreciate it.  Good luck.
We'll have Coach Miller up here shortly.
We're joined now by Dayton head coach Archie Miller.
So, Coach, if you want to make an opening statement, and then we'll take questions.
COACH MILLER:  Obviously, I'm very excited to be here.  We've, like all teams that participate in the tournament, have had our moments this season, good and bad.  Very proud of our group.  Together, a lot of camaraderie.  Every individual on a team has their moments where they've had their day in the sun and helped us win games.
We've been about the right things from the very beginning.  So it's very rewarding to be here.  Obviously, Ohio State presents a lot of challenges, to say the least, and we're trying to gear ourselves up, and we're ready to play.
THE MODERATOR:  Thanks, Coach. 

Q.  Archie, is it too much to overstate this as a battle for Ohio?
COACH MILLER:  Yeah, it's too much.  I think everyone understands in the state of Ohio what it's about in that state.  That's Columbus, and that's where they are.  It's a powerful, powerful place.  I was very fortunate to spend a couple of years there and feel that and understand it.
But at the same time, a place like ours has its own special tradition, has a great program, an unbelievable fan base.  In my opinion, the best fan base in the state of Ohio for basketball.
You can get caught up in that big brother/little brother, knocking off the big dog, all you want.  But there's a lot of great programs in the state, a lot of great coaches, and we feel like we earned a right to be here.
Regardless if it's Ohio State or anybody else, we have to prepare to be ourselves.  Come here and be ourselves.  Locked into what's gotten here, not who we play and what part of the state they live in.
But it's going to be the topic of conversation, and to be on the same floor with them is exciting.

Q.¬† Just as a follow‑up, Archie, you having coached under Thad.¬† I mean, what is your emotion knowing that you're going to be going up against a guy you coached under in Thad?
COACH MILLER:  Thad means a lot to me.  He's been a really special guy in my life for a long time.  He's always looked out for me, even when I was a player coming up.  To have an opportunity to work for him, he opened a lot of doors for me mentally in terms of what the game was really about.  He changed the view for me.
He gave me a different impression of how to coach the game.  Number one, just how to treat your players, how to really have a program about making people better, developing the ability to communicate with guys differently.  Without that, I don't think I'd be sitting here today.
But when you get out there and play, you know, when you work for Thad, you know how it is.  He'll walk around with a smile on his face, but he's going to try and stomp your head in the first chance you get.
Being on the same staff with him, going to battle in practice every day, you have a bond.  Unfortunately, we have to play against them.  Not so much to speak of you want to win or lose versus a friend and what not.  It's always tough.  You always want to see the guys who mean a lot to you do well and advance.  He's done a lot of that.  So he's a good guy.

Q.  Normally rivalries come from familiarity, such as your rivalry with Xavier.  Is there an extra edge to this one in that Ohio State, unless placed in a tournament with Cincinnati, Xavier, and Dayton, does not play them?
COACH MILLER:  Can you repeat the question?

Q.  Is there an extra edge to this game because Ohio State has to be placed in the same tournament draw to play you guys and Xavier and Cincinnati?  Historically anyway.
COACH MILLER:  Yeah, I think there's a lot of great rivalries in the state of Ohio.  Obviously, I think our rivalry with Xavier is one of the more special ones.  I think that UC has its own with Xavier and what not.  I think Ohio State stands on its own two feet.
Everybody would love to play them.  Everybody would love an opportunity to play them.  They're not going to get that opportunity, though.  In this day and age with college basketball and scheduling and everything that goes on, you know, it's just not possible.
I think when you draw Xavier, Cincinnati, one of these match‑ups happen, probably feels a little different to them than it does to the other teams.
But in our case, we have a few guys that are connected to the state of Ohio.¬† We also have guys from New York.¬† I've got a guy from New York right now, and he has no idea what Ohio State‑Dayton would mean.

Q.¬† I just wonder, though, have you looked at Ohio State's pre‑Big Ten schedule?¬† It was a pastry cart.¬† I think it would be much more fan interest and good for basketball if they would do this on some sort of rotation.
COACH MILLER:  I can't really speak for Ohio State's scheduling philosophy.  You'd have to talk to the big guy about that one.

Q.  Arch, if you would, just kind of talk about the finish your team had, how you felt they played going into the postseason, especially on the defensive side of things.
COACH MILLER:  We've improved a lot.  That's been a credit to kind of our team and how we've handled things.  We've improved a lot.  Like all teams, you're going to hit some slides when things aren't going well, but we've been able to respond.
I think in the month of February, we became a team where we enjoyed coming to work every day in practice.  It started there.  We got better game to game.  Winning helps that.
But as we approached our finish, really felt like we were playing the best all season that we've played.¬† Our defense is really gotten a lot better in the back ten games.¬† It gave us a chance to win big games in particular on the road.¬† And our finish into even the Atlantic 10 tournament, our game with Saint Joe's, it was a pretty high level game.¬† We had a 13‑point lead with some seconds to go on a team we hadn't played in weeks.
We've continued to improve.  The credit goes to the older kids.  They've been really good.  This gives us a camaraderie late in the season.  Certain guys can fall by the wayside because they're not playing a lot.
We've had guys in the games, three freshmen at times on the road, where they've helped us win games as late as two weeks ago.  I think that camaraderie has really helped us improve.  We're playing better, and we've played as well as we've played all season long.

Q.  Archie, there's been a lot of conversation about the number of teams your league has gotten into this tournament.  Going forward now, is there a responsibility to win and go forward or is it just the mere fact that you've earned the bids here speak for itself?
COACH MILLER:  There will be a lot of talk about bids, et cetera.  The Atlantic 10 this season was as good of a league as I've been in.  Every team that got in the NCAA Tournament got in on its own resume irregardless of the conference affiliation.  It's about the individual teams.
In particular, the teams that we have that get in, they don't have the luxury at times of playing the 12 to 15 conference games that are like the Big Ten, the ACC, and what not, where they're marquee match‑ups that you're going to live and die by.
Our conference has to do it in the nonconference, which is difficult.  You have to schedule smartly.  You have to try to put yourself in position to earn a bid in November and December, which is unique.  Everyone that's in is in for the rightful reason of they approached it the right way and they earned it.
There is a great sense of pride for our league, though.¬† I think the coaches in our league are great.¬† I think the players are very under‑appreciated, in particular.¬† We have older kids in our league, seniors.¬† Whether it's St. Louis that starts five seniors, whether it's Saint Joe's that has three terrific seniors, whether it's Rob Brandenberg and Juvonte Reddic in the Final Four, are seniors.
You typically are going to deal with older, battle‑tested kids that can really play that come from areas that the coaches they're around every day are good.
I look for all of our teams in our league to be successful.  I wouldn't be surprised if we didn't have two or three advance into the second and third rounds, et cetera.  But there is a great sense of pride because it is a great league.
We've dealt with as much turnover in a three‑year period as any conference, and we're as good right now as we've ever been.¬† That's probably credit to Bernadette and her staff and what they've been able to try to do through all the movement.

Q.  Obviously, Coach Matta, his teams emphasize defense and sharing the ball.  Coaching under him, I mean, you look at your team as you develop your program, what are some of the things that you are trying to emphasize as a trademark for your ball club?
COACH MILLER:¬† Well, I think Thad's teams uniquely do‑‑ if you just study them, even from his very first couple years, they never turn the ball over.¬† They have great spacing, and they share it, and they're very unselfish.¬† I think that's one of the things that I've tried to do since we've gotten here.¬† Maybe different philosophies of how to play the game, but the very same thing of taking care of the ball and really being unselfish, share the ball.¬† That's one of the things that Thad really does a great job.
I think our team embodies that this season.  They share the ball.  They move the ball.  They move themselves.  They care about making the right play.  Defensively, Thad's teams have always been terrific.  They never foul.  They don't beat themselves.  They're not undisciplined.
We try to do that.  Being young at times, aren't as strong as we need to be and the size around the basket isn't the same.  As I watch this team play, this is a very unique style to watch Thad's teams defensively.  He's got some unbelievable ball hawks.  Those guys just get after you.  They can really disrupt.  They can put you on your heels at times.
In particular, as I watched the Nebraska game in the Big Ten Tournament, they just put them on their heels with their ability to defend.¬† When you have a guy like Craft out there, he's not the same player, but he's similar to a guy like Briante Weber at Virginia Commonwealth, where he can dominate a game by himself, on the ball, off the ball.¬† He can wreck, so to speak, your half‑court game by himself.¬† When you have a guy like that, you can really do some things uniquely on defense.
But if you ask me, we try to play the right way.  I think we try to play unselfishly, and I think one of the things that really Thad does a great job of, he really preaches that all year round, not just on game day.  He preaches that year round.
We've taken a big chunk of that from him.

Q.  Just along the same lines, what stands out to you about their perimeter defense and how much of a concern is that for you given you've been so good at that lately?
COACH MILLER:¬† Sometimes you can be a good team defense, but they've got great individual defenders.¬† If Shannon Scott was named Big Ten defensive player of the year, I wouldn't have been surprised.¬† Him and Craft in together are probably two of the best perimeter on‑ball defenders that you're going to get.
Lenzelle is very experienced.  He's been in championship games, and he defends.  You look at Amir Williams, when you have a rim protector like that around the basket, it's very difficult, and they play around them, and their schemes are good.
I think our number one problem, if you ask me what our biggest concern is, it's turning the ball over.  You can't turn the ball over against Ohio State because in transition, they really can cave you in with big runs, and they can change the whole flow of a game defense to offense.
So organization, being strong, and being ourselves, you know, don't try to do things that you don't normally do.

Q.¬† Sort of along those same lines, what does Ohio State do on the baseline‑inbounds play that makes it so difficult?¬† You don't see a lot of teams that place an emphasis on putting pressure on the ball at that point in the course.
COACH MILLER:¬† They're probably as good as you get in terms of disrupting you in special situations, whether it be under, whether it be dead ball after a free throw.¬† They have the ability to really, because of their uniqueness and their quickness, switch, deny, blow things up.¬† You're not allowed to run your normal stuff, which then starts to play mind games with you.¬† You over‑prepare.¬† You confuse your guys.¬† So you've got that going on a lot.
I think off dead balls, some of the shortstop press, some of the things they do with their quickness when they go small is unique.  It's personnel related.  Not everyone can do what they've been able to do.  They've been good at it for a long time.
Even when I played with Thad, played different types of sideout, under route.¬† It's just a situation where you put the other team in a situation of do you over‑prepare, under‑prepare, or do you understand how important it is to not get beat in this area?
That is something, obviously, we have to spend a great deal on as you get ready to play them.  Like I said, changing the game from defense to offense, whether it's one steal, one run, one long pass underneath out of bounds, they pick off.  It changes your mindset a little bit.  It's very unique.  They do a great job at it, and you have to be ready to go.
Watching all the teams in the Big Ten, everyone has a different philosophy against it.  I think the big thing is just being sound and getting it in.

Q.  It hasn't been asked.  What about your brother?  What are you doing about both you guys in the tournament?
COACH MILLER:  Obviously, I follow those guys a ton.  Very happy for those guys.  I was sick to my stomach when Brandon broke his foot.  I thought they had a chance to win the National Championship.  I thought they had a great way about them.
Watching they will respond to the injury over the last couple of weeks, three weeks, four weeks, has been really good.  I still think they have a chance to make a deep run.  I hope they get to a Final Four.  They've earned it.  But happy for them.  I was there on day one when six players sat in the locker room, and the seventh player that was on the team, he wasn't coming back.  He was going pro, Nic Wise.
So it was a daunting task.  It was unfamiliar territory.  To see where they're at today is a credit to the way he does things.  Wishing them well.
THE MODERATOR:  Not seeing any other questions, Coach Miller, thanks for your time.  Good luck.

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