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March 21, 2014

Jason Tsirtsis


(Northwestern) (34-3)

THE MODERATOR:  Questions for Jason.

Q.  Jason, do you have to be reminded that you're a freshman?  And talk about escaping there with just a couple of seconds left.
JASON TSIRTSIS:  You know, I think coming in here, being a freshman and whatnot, it doesn't really let that mess with my head at all.  Just real confident and treated it like another tournament.  So that aspect didn't really feel like that was a factor at all.  And with that escape, the last couple of seconds, we do those type of things in the room to where we've got 10, 15seconds to get an escape.
And I was comfortable with nine seconds left.  I've gone out from a lot of people with nine seconds left.  So felt good.  Felt confident.

Q.  Jason, over the summer you went to the Junior Worlds and had a whole season of competition outside of the college wrestling.  How did that experience help prepare you for this season and how will it help you tomorrow night?
JASON TSIRTSIS:  I think being on that Junior World team, where a lot of guys are taking that summer and they're training and everything, but they're not training to become a world champ, and I think having that aspiration to be a world champ at that junior level, I think it helped me improve my wrestling more than most throughout the summer.  And I think that was a big help for this college season, definitely.

Q.  At this point only one No. 1 seed has advanced to the Finals.  You just beat one.  What is it about this year's competition that maybe seeds don't mean that much?
JASON TSIRTSIS:  To generalize the whole field of wrestling, it's hard to do, but, I mean, I think there's a lot of good quality guys at every weight.  I think there always has been.
So maybe this NCAA Tournament, couple things.  One thing can change a whole match, a whole tournament.  So maybe some of those matches were No. 1 seeds didn't turn out their way like it normally does in years past.

Q.  Jason, you had a lot of options coming out of high school as far as where you would go to college, and picked Northwestern.  Just want to hear a little bit about why that choice and why it's working out so well for you.  You're in the NCAA Finals as a freshman.
JASON TSIRTSIS:  It was not an easy choice.  It was one of the toughest choices I had to make.  And I think a lot of factors played into it with the diversity and experience with the coaching staff.  I liked them a lot.  I liked who was on the staff.
I really like the area.  I'm close to home, close to my family.  That was a nice factor as well.  And when I went on that visit, I clicked with my teammates, and I think that's one of the most important things.

Q.  What were the experiences your brother had as a collegiate to help you do this now?
JASON TSIRTSIS:  I never had fun at this tournament unless I was just coming and I had no personal ties to anyone.  So I always had a tough, tough NCAA Tournament with Alex, and I wish it wasn't.  I wish he was a four‑time NCAA champ.
But it was always tough.  And I think his downfall has helped me.  And I think he really helped me prepare for this tournament, as well as my coaches, to where he was able to guide me in the right direction where maybe he wasn't guided.

Q.  Any history with Kindig and thoughts about the challenge ahead?  Obviously he wrestled way over his seed.  You weren't favored to make the Finals either.
JASON TSIRTSIS:  I think 149's filled with a lot of tough wrestlers, and I think it's a little underestimated by a lot of people.  But Kindig, I know him a little bit.  I know he's a real talented wrestler, real athletic, real smooth.
So just wrestle like I wrestle, and that's how I'm going to win.  So not going to worry about what he's doing too much.
THE MODERATOR:  Thank you.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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