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March 21, 2014

Jim Crews

Dwayne Evans

Mike McCall, Jr.


Q.テつ Dwayne, how tough is it to calm back down after yesterday's emotional win and then get ready for Louisville tomorrow?
DWAYNE EVANS:テつ Not hard at all.テつ We know we have a huge test in front of us tomorrow afternoon, and they're a really talented team, so guys did a really good job of getting focused this morning, and we'll meet again tonight and we'll be ready.

Q.テつ And the last two years you guys have won the first game in the tournament, lost the second.テつ What would it mean to get that second win, to get to the Sweet 16?
DWAYNE EVANS:テつ It would be big.テつ Last couple years, as you said, this has kind of been our stopping point, but to advance to the second weekend and keep playing would be huge.

Q.テつ This is for both of you guys.テつ Take us through the last couple minutes of that game, the emotions you guys were going through, getting it to overtime, and then afterwards.
DWAYNE EVANS:テつ I mean, the locker room was wild after the game, after a comeback like that.テつ You can't help but just go crazy.
But like I said, that was for last night, and as of this morning when we all woke up, it was on to business for Louisville.
MIKE McCALL JR.:テつ Like Dwayne said, it was a lot of craziness going on in the locker room.テつ We were very excited about the comeback we had against NC State.テつ But like Dwayne said, it's a new day, and we've got to prepare for Louisville.

Q.テつ Dwayne, you don't get to answer this because you didn't shoot any free throws yesterday, but Mike, what was going on?テつ We've seen this a few times this year where all of a sudden no one can make a free throw.テつ As that went on what was the feeling yesterday?
MIKE McCALL JR.:テつ Just keep shooting them.テつ We've been struggling with free throws all season long.テつ That's been something that's hurt us down the stretch.テつ But we've been working on it in practice, and hopefully we get better.

Q.テつ Is it just one of those cyclical things do you hope?
MIKE McCALL JR.:テつ I don't know.テつ I mean, it felt good when I was shooting them, and the team said the same thing, as well.テつ Like I said, we've been working on them, and hopefully we get better.

Q.テつ What would it mean for you to get to the Sweet 16, a step further than you've gotten in the past?
MIKE McCALL JR.:テつ Like Dwayne said, it would be huge for the program.テつ That's something we've been aiming for all season long.テつ It's been a goal for us, and if we get there, it would be big.

Q.テつ What are your early impressions of Louisville?テつ What impresses you about their program and what they've done this year?
DWAYNE EVANS:テつ They're an athletic team.テつ They have play makers.テつ They're big at the rim guys, try to block shots a lot.テつ That's pretty much what I've seen.
MIKE McCALL JR.:テつ Very athletic team, a team that likes to get into you defensively, make you turn the ball over.テつ They have very good guard play and big play, as well.

Q.テつ Louisville is the defending national champion, ranked third in the polls, won a lot of tournament games.テつ It's almost like you guys can put the underdog hats on for the first time in a while because in the A‑10 and late in the season everybody expects you to win.テつ There's probably not a lot of people that would expect SLU to prevail in this match‑up.テつ How do you feel about being such an underdog?
DWAYNE EVANS:テつ We've been the underdog pretty much my entire time at Saint Louis, so it's nothing new.テつ But to be the best, you've got to beat the best, and obviously Louisville won it last year, and I think we have the team to do it.
MIKE McCALL JR.:テつ Like Dwayne said, we're kind of used to being the underdog.テつ Louisville won it last year, and everybody is going to pick them to beat us.テつ We just have to just come out and play our game, and we'll be fine.

Q.テつ You guys are ranked one of the better defensive teams in the country, as are they.テつ I wonder what your‑‑ how you would describe your style of defense and what about Coach Crews' system makes you good defensively?
MIKE McCALL JR.:テつ Just getting into the offensive players, trying to make it as tough as possible for them, taking them out of their offense, and really just making it hard for them.
DWAYNE EVANS:テつ Yeah, we try to pressure teams, take them out of their offense so they end up going into ball screen or isolation action.テつ Really we just like to take teams out of their comfort zone and get them into making plays they don't usually make.

Q.テつ Only because Louisville is so good and deep, is the energy level going to be a problem at all because you had such a draining game last night?
DWAYNE EVANS:テつ Absolutely not.テつ I think this is the NCAA Tournament, and this is what we've been thinking about all year.テつ Every game has been leading up to this one.テつ I think guys are going to come out excited, ready to play, and fatigue won't play a factor.
MIKE McCALL JR.:テつ Yeah, the team knows this is a very big game for us, and we've just got to come out and play our game and be ready.

Q.テつ What problems does Louisville pose?テつ I'm sure it's a long list, but what do they do really well?
JIM CREWS:テつ Well, two things tie together:テつ Number one is you've got to be ball strong.テつ You've got to be able to handle the basketball.テつ The put a lot of pressure.テつ They come from a lot of different places with you.テつ If you're not ball strong then the ball is going the other way for two points, so that kills your defense.テつ If you're not good offensively, it hurts your defense from that standpoint, and then if you're able to do that, you've obviously got to do a lot of things in the half‑court defense, but if you don't get the rebound, you've wasted a lot of maybe good play and good effort.テつ So you've got to get the first rebound.

Q.テつ How quickly did the emotions of yesterday's win go away and then you start to focus on playing Louisville?
JIM CREWS:テつ Well, we were preparing for both teams.テつ We had a lot of respect for Manhattan, and anyone that saw the game last night, that was‑‑ I told our team right off the bat, we don't know who's going to win this game.テつ So as a staff we were preparing for both throughout the week.テつ So the emotions, our guys are not‑‑ I mean, they're excited, don't get me wrong.テつ But they don't get way up high and get crazy and when we lose they don't get way down and get depressed.テつ They kind of have a pretty even keel.

Q.テつ Speaking of even keel, you are that, and you've also in your career as player and coach, you've been in a lot of big games, a lot of big wins, a national championship.テつ Did you take any time personally to just try to put that in perspective, just in your experience of winning a big game in the fashion you did last night?テつ How special was that?
JIM CREWS:テつ I really didn't think about that.テつ I know it is special, but I haven't thought about it because you're just‑‑ these games have a quick turnaround, really quick turnaround, so you're involved with that, and you've just got to study it.テつ It's like studying for a chemistry test or a math test or something like that.テつ There's a lot of information you're trying to digest and condense it into a very small package for the players so you can get the job done.
So I didn't reflect on that, but that was certainly a very unusual game, the way the kids came back.テつ I mean, we pressed.テつ We never press.テつ So they did that on the fly, and they did that great.テつ We've done it three or four times, but we've just never practiced it, which a couple of the guys who represent the players' union think we shouldn't practice at all because they would do better with their offense, defense, rebounding if we never practiced, so I think that is going on right now.テつ But we're excited about the next one.

Q.テつ It's not uncommon for teams to hit kind of a little funk at some point in the season.テつ Yours came late in the year.テつ What was the nature of that?
JIM CREWS:テつ Well, we were playing good teams.テつ Our league is off‑the‑chart good, very, very good, and we weren't playing as well.テつ But sometimes we didn't play well and we won, and sometimes we played well and you don't win.テつ That's kind of how it is sometimes.
And you're right, I think the season is so long, I mean, obviously Wichita State really hasn't had a slump, but that's very abnormal.テつ And really we have not really had slumps over the last couple years, but we did at the end of the season.
But I think our ball handling wasn't as good as it needed to be, and that led to points‑‑ how we've gotten beat is what Louisville is good at in terms of‑‑ but we've traditionally been pretty ball strong and get back on defense pretty well.テつ But those two tie in directly.

Q.テつ Teamwork, SLU has won a tournament game now three years in a row.テつ Getting that second one has been a mountain to climb.テつ Could you talk about that and what it would mean to actually get that second win?
JIM CREWS:テつ Boy, that sounds just like him.テつ Always a black cloud.テつ I don't worry about it.テつ I mean, all you can do is just‑‑ doesn't mean you play the best, doesn't mean the coaches make all the right decisions, but all the coaches, we try to make as good a decisions with all the information we have. テつThe players are trying to do the best they can.テつ They've put themselves in a chance to win a second game.テつ They've put themselves in position to win the first game by getting to the Tournament.テつ It is extremely, extremely hard to get into the NCAA Tournament.
We've just got a game that's tomorrow.テつ I think it starts at 2:45, sometime tomorrow, and we're just going to try to do the best we can.
That's how we look at it.テつ I mean, college basketball should be fun.テつ It shouldn't be a burden of life in my opinion, and we take it serious but we're not going to take ourselves too serious.テつ There's only one team that's really not disappointed when it all ends.テつ So you want to add that up, this gentleman here probably has how many national championships‑‑ well, since 1939, so I can do the math on that pretty quick, so 75, 76 years probably, so there's 76 guys that aren't disappointed, in the history of the game.テつ So add up all the guys that are disappointed at the end of the season, there you go.テつ Fortunately I've been on both sides, not many, but more times on the negative side than the positive, so that's how I look at it.

Q.テつ I was wondering how many times you've had the chance to compete against Rick Pitino and your impressions of him and what makes him and their style of play so good.
JIM CREWS:テつ Good players.テつ Any coach will tell you that.テつ They've got really, really good players.テつ Really good players.テつ I don't think we've ever played against each other.テつ In fact I know we've never played against each other.テつ Not even when I was an assistant or he was an assistant.テつ I don't think we've ever played against each other.テつ I don't think we have.テつ But he's got a really good program, great teams, really good teams, year in, year out.

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