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March 17, 2016

Dana Altman

Dwayne Benjamin

Elgin Cook

Spokane, Washington

THE MODERATOR: We'll get started with questions for the student-athletes.

Q. You've said that this team is playing some of the most together ball it's played all season right now. How are you guys feeling headed into the tournament as a No. 1 seed?
DWAYNE BENJAMIN: We feel good. We felt like the tournament was big for us, we played some of the best basketball we played all year. We got a little confidence going into it. Everybody's playing well, and we feel that we got a good strategy going in.

Q. I know you're aware that no No. 1 seed has ever lost in this tournament. Does that give you more confidence or does that make you worry a little bit?
ELGIN COOK: I think seeding doesn't matter. As long as we come in the game focused, and we execute our game plan that Coach Altman tells us to do, I think we'll be fine.

DWAYNE BENJAMIN: I agree with him. We're not worried about seeding. We were excited Sunday when we got the No. 1 seed, but as far as now we're just excited to play Holy Cross.

Q. What has coach's message been to you guys, besides the fact that seeding doesn't really matter?
ELGIN COOK: Staying ourselves. Continue to play the way we have been playing these last couple games and just rebound the ball and focusing on the defensive end and shots will go.

Q. Holy Cross, coming in after playing their tournament knocking off the No. 1, No. 2, I believe, and then they got the win the other night. What have you guys seen from them and are you guys concerned at all playing a team who is so hot?
DWAYNE BENJAMIN: We know they play 1-3-1 zone and we're going to have to work on that. And we feel like we're hot, just as hot as them, so we're going to go in and try to execute our game plan and try to win the game.

Q. For both of you, you haven't played since Saturday night, so how tough is it to wait this long when you're riding an eight game win streak or do you kind of prefer the rest in between?
ELGIN COOK: I think it's the same feeling that we had from the PAC-12 tournament. We haven't played since Saturday and that means we got a lot of rest, and we got a chance to watch their game and watch how they play. And this practice is going to get us ready for the game, and we'll be ready.

DWAYNE BENJAMIN: I agree with him. The days off is good for us, it's big for us. We just played in a tournament with three days in a row where we had to play, and we played three good teams and it took a lot out of us. But I think the rest is big for us.

Q. What were your first impressions of Tyler when he started, when he got on campus and started playing ball with you guys? And then what's improved most in his game as the season's gone on?
ELGIN COOK: When Tyler first got on campus he was real quiet, he wouldn't talk as much. I think that's a big part of our success, now that he's talking a lot, and he's vocal on the court. And that's what we need from him. And he's been playing amazing as well.

Q. For both players, just because of Holy Cross's record and the seeding and statistics and everything, obviously you guys are heavily favored to win. How, honestly, do you go about not being over confident?
ELGIN COOK: We don't try to buy into those things. We're focused on Holy Cross and seeding does not matter in March. I'm pretty sure you guys seen the Baylor game. It just doesn't matter. We're going to come in focused, and we're ready to play Holy Cross. That's the only thing we're worried about right now.

DWAYNE BENJAMIN: We just worry about ourselves. We just go in there and try and play Oregon basketball, and we have been -- working for us, so we're just going to go with that.

Q. Have you seen a player like Chris Boucher before?
DWAYNE BENJAMIN: Honestly, no. His versatility is a major factor in our success and the fact that he can do so many things and he never ceases to amaze me. But I've never played with or actually ever seen somebody play the way he plays.

ELGIN COOK: Same. Chris does a lot of things on the court for us. He's an athlete. He can run all day. I love playing with him. So I haven't seen any other player like him.

Q. Short preparation, not knowing who you were going to play. How much exposure did you have to Holy Cross before they played the other day, what did the coaches try to put in front of you and then what's the crash course been like the last since they played to try to get familiar with them?
ELGIN COOK: I really haven't heard that much about Holy Cross, just being that we were focused on PAC-12 basketball. So it's easy to get caught up.

Q. Was it like Sunday, Monday?
ELGIN COOK: We know they play a 1-3-1, we know they shoot a lot of 3-pointers and they got a lot of great athletes as well.

Q. Following up on Chris Boucher yesterday he was granted his a waiver for next year. What's the feeling like with your team even though you two are seniors, but what's the rest of the team feeling about that?
ELGIN COOK: Amazing. It was a bunch of excitement. They got a bunch of great players coming back and I'm glad Chris got his waiver.

Q. Have you guys seen much 1-3-1, if so from who and what are your general ways to attack that?
DWAYNE BENJAMIN: I know Baylor, we played Baylor second game of the season, and they had a great 1-3-1. And the way we are going to attack is you got to get the ball to the middle and to the baseline and try to get easy baskets and get the shooters open shots.

THE MODERATOR: All right. We'll dismiss these two and bring coach up in just a second.


THE MODERATOR: We'll start with an opening statement from coach and then take questions.

COACH ALTMAN: The team is coming off a pretty good series in our conference tournament and so now we're anxious to get the NCAA Tournament started. Our guys have played awfully well down the stretch and we're sure hoping to continue that.

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. What's been the process of familiarizing them with Holy Cross since before, since the bracket was initially announced and since they played?
COACH ALTMAN: Well, we spent Wednesday kind of split between the two teams in our preparation, and then we watched the game Wednesday and now we'll get ready for Holy Cross.

But their 1-3-1 zone has given some people some problems, so we'll have to execute against that. And they shoot a lot of threes, so we're going to have to extend our defense and push out a little bit.

Q. Wondering if you could just expand a little bit about what Dillon Brooks has meant to you this season, obviously leading you with points, he's also rebounding, and also tied for the lead in assists. But just a little bit about what he's meant to you so far this year.
COACH ALTMAN: Dillon's made tremendous progress from a year ago. He got a lot of experience last year. He played a big role for us as a freshman, but this year he's made a big step. We have asked him to do a lot more. Dillon spends a lot of time in the gym. He's improved his body, he's made himself a go-to guy. And the good thing about Dylan is we have a number of players that we feel can score and so we're pretty balanced. And as you mentioned, Dillon moves the ball around a little bit, has done a good job of assisting his teammates in scoring some baskets. So I like the way he makes basketball plays. We talk to all our guys about making basketball plays, because we do have the ability to score in a number of different ways and it's important that we share the ball. And he's done a good job there.

Q. There's already been one surprise in the tournament so far with Baylor being knocked out today. How cautious are you with a team like Holy Cross that's kind of sort of coming in on a hot streak?
COACH ALTMAN: Well, our guys definitely won't underestimate anybody. I think our guys have done a good job of respecting our opponents throughout the year. I'm a little more concerned about them being a little tight. I want them to go out and continue to play hard, but we definitely won't take -- underestimate anybody.

Our guys will be ready. We just got to relax and play. I think one thing that will help us, five guys played in last year's tournament and won a game. So I think those guys will be relaxed.

Tyler Dorsey and Chris Boucher are playing a big role for us, they're new, but the other five in our seven man rotation have played quite a bit. Kendall and Roman off the bench have not had a lot of experience, but we have had guys that have played in the tournament before.

Q. You guys had a lot of success against top-25 teams. Now combine that with what you say playing in a tough PAC-12 conference, how has the schedule prepared you guys for what you hope is a long tournament run?
COACH ALTMAN: Well, I think that by the computer numbers, our schedule was I think third in the country. So we have played a good schedule. I think our league's been very competitive. I think it's been very athletic. We have got a lot of young, good players in our league. So, I think we're ready.

We have gone on the road and played in some tough atmospheres, and I think Arizona is a pretty tough place to play and Utah and we have been successful there.

We were successful in the conference tournament in a venue that Arizona and Utah had quite a few more fans there than us because of location. So, I think we're prepared. But we're still going to have to go out and play and hope we continue to play the way we did in the conference tournament. Because I thought we were playing pretty good.

Q. Before the season started what did you expect that you were going to get out of Tyler and maybe in what ways has he exceeded what you thought you were going to get from him?
COACH ALTMAN: You know, I had an opportunity to see him play quite a bit between his junior and senior year of high school and then I saw him play his senior year a couple times. I just loved his confidence and his ability to score. He's done a good job of sharing the basketball and making plays for others. But he knows when he's got an opportunity, he can go get a basket. That's come from years and years of scoring. So we have asked him to improve his defense, to handle the ball better, and I think he's made great strides there. I think he's got a ways to go, because I think he can be a guy that brings it off a pick on the ball a little better and makes better decisions, but he's a good basketball player, he's a good scorer, and he's played really well the last five games. Played well in L.A. and then he played well in Vegas and he's really had a good stretch here.

THE MODERATOR: All right. Thank you.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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