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March 10, 2006

Billy Donovan

Tauren Green

Ryan Humphrey


THE MODERATOR: We're ready to begin with Florida. And we'll ask Coach Donovan if he will begin and give us some general comments on the game, and then we'll go to questions for Tauren and Lee.

COACH BILLY DONOVAN: Well, I think you know Stan has done a terrific job with his team this year, and I think what happened sometimes is in this conference when you lose basketball games as Arkansas did early in the year, the perception is that they're not playing well.
And the margin for winning in this league is so small and so fragile that I thought their kids showed great resiliency coming down the stretch of this season, and they managed to find a way to win some games, and in my opinion, you know, we're playing as maybe well as anybody in our league.
I think our kids really felt like in Fayetteville we let an opportunity slip by. We had the ball up by 1, and there was a fluke play with Tauren and Modica made a great play and give them credit. They made the plays at the end of the game and in overtime to win and coming into this game, I think our guys were excited and looking forward to the opportunity to challenge and playing against Arkansas because this is the type of game that I think, you know, it's been like this way for the last 7 games really for us, having to play on the road and against some of the better teams in our league, and, no question, I think our draw having to go in Rupp Arena and beat Kentucky to get a buy, certainly it was a buy that was maybe a little bit more difficult. I don't know if finishing third would have been better. We're excited about the win and having an opportunity to play again tomorrow.

THE MODERATOR: We'll take questions for Tauren or Lee, if you'll raise your hand. Start on the aisle.

Q. Yeah, Lee, could you just touch on the emotion of, you know, your career high in front of your home state and maybe what was going through your mind with the free throws at the end?
LEE HUMPHREY: Well, I mean it's always fun to come back home or fairly close to home and play well. I had a lot of people from Maryville here at the game, and I think teammates did a great job of finding me when I was open and fortunately knocked down the shots.
The coach has been on me to shoot it with confidence, and it paid off tonight and my free throws felt good. I've been shooting them better in practice, so I was happy to see those go down.

THE MODERATOR: Raise your hand if you have a question. Alright on the aisle.

Q. Tauren and Lee, both, what is it about neutral courts with you guys? This is like Madison Square Garden all over again.

THE MODERATOR: Tauren, take that first.

TAUREN GREEN: I don't know. It's a little bit of everybody in the crowd. We had some of our people. We had people from other teams come, too, so I mean, I guess, we're undefeated at neutral courts. Hopefully, we'll have more games.


LEE HUMPHREY: Tauren seems to shoot the ball really well. I don't think he caught the rim once tonight. I think we've been fortunate to play well on neutral sites so far this year, and hopefully that will continue.

THE MODERATOR: Hands up, other questions? Alright. Comment back down center aisle. Thank you.

Q. Lee, you seem to like these late night SEC Tournament games. You talk about that a little bit.
LEE HUMPHREY: I don't know how much I like the late games or it's just that I've been fortunate to hit some big shots or had the opportunity to take those shots down the stretch. But anytime you can play well, it's always fun.

THE MODERATOR: Hands up. Is there a question in the center? Did you have a question? Alright.

Q. Yeah, Tauren or Lee. Could you just comment on the fact front court has been doing a lot of damage lately. What made you guys in the backcourt able to come out in this game and have so much success?
TAUREN GREEN: Our front court guys have been playing great as ever. A lot of teams are going to start to key on them. When they get doubled, the guards going to have to knock down some shots. We a good job ever getting inside and outside today.

THE MODERATOR: Hands up. Other questions? Alright. We'll excuse the players. Fellas, you can return to the locker room. Thank you. We'll continue on with questions for Coach Donovan. Raise your hand if you have a question for Coach. Let's start right on the aisle.

Q. Billy, I know it doesn't seem like you have much time to savor this. You have LSU tomorrow. You maybe caught a glimpse before. What do you anticipate tomorrow, particularly that match-up?
COACH BILLY DONOVAN: I think the one thing about, you know, any team in this league, it's probably very similar to us playing against Arkansas. We had an emotional loss. It was a difficult loss on the road, and I'm sure LSU is viewing us the same way.
You know, they had to play us in Gainesville as we did Arkansas, and now it's an opportunity for them to play us at a neutral site. Same thing for us.
You know, I got a great deal of respect for their team and their coaching staff. I've said this, I said, Glen Davis is to college basketball and to this league what Shaquille O'Neal is to the NBA. There's nobody quite like him. He's a very, very unique and talented and gifted player. Besides having great gift and talents, he has a great mind.
I don't think people maybe understand how smart of a basketball player he is. He just has -- he understands how to use his body and to play. He leads. He's very, very gifted, and then you add the fact that guy like Darrel Mitchell, probably three-quarters of the way through the year, people were mentioning him as a possible Player of the Year candidate, so they have two players on their team that were being mentioned for Player of the Year candidate.
You know, I love Tasmin Mitchell as a player. Just the way he plays. And then from what I'm gathering, Thomas is supposed to play tomorrow. So they'll probably have their full compliment of players, and they're a very, very good basketball team, and, you know, we'll have to have an unbelievable performance. They've been clearly from start to finish the best team in our league.

THE MODERATOR: Hands up. Other questions? Alright. Back to the middle.

Q. Billy, would you talk about your guards' ability today to catch the ball and shoot. For particularly Tauren was taking the ball just off the pass and going straight up with it.
COACH BILLY DONOVAN: Well, I think two things. One, give Arkansas credit. We had an opportunity to win by more than three points, but they continued to drive the ball to the basket. Our guys were aggressive defensively which was good, but we kept fouling. We missed some free throws. Modica and Thomas's 3s were key.
But I think when you go back and look at the game in Fayetteville, the fact that we sent the game into overtime when they shot 42 free throws to our 20 and we turned the ball over 19 times and they blocked six shots, in essence we were outscored at the free throw line, 42 to 20. Lee turned the every ball over and lost in overtime. I think in that game Lee Humphrey probably wasn't a hundred percent. It was a game for him where he was 2 for 11 from the three-point line. He had great looks and they didn't go down.
The thing I was so glad to see, I really think -- ever since the Alabama game for him and maybe the tirade I had on him during a timeout, I'm hoping that it's carried over and continues to carryover because he just needs to let it go.
I mean it's really that simple for our team, and tonight happened to be one of his nights. Maybe tomorrow he goes 2 for 12 again. I don't know. Our team needs him jumping up in the air and shooting that ball at that level of confidence. When he does, we become a very, very difficult team when he and Tauren shoot the ball like that.
It seems like Arkansas, the way they played tonight, they're a team that can really match up well with our front court. They have depth. They have size and physicality. So do we. It was probably a wash, but maybe in Fayetteville, Modica and Brewer and Ferguson, it was really their time. They played great, those three guys, and you know, this was a game with those two kids played pretty well tonight.

THE MODERATOR: Hands up. Other questions for coach? Go ahead.

Q. Coach, how concerned are you with the relatively high number of turnovers that your guys had tonight?
COACH BILLY DONOVAN: Very. Can't turn the ball over like we did. We had nine turnovers in the first half. I think it was really from a lot of nerves and jitters. Our guys were excited about playing. It's March and they were ahead of themselves.
The thing you look at is Arkansas -- I thought we did a great job defensively tonight defending and rebounding, and Arkansas scored 25 points on fast break points, and I guarantee you the majority of those fast break points were off of our carelessness throwing the ball away. It's definitely a concern. When you shoot 49 percent from the field and 67 percent from the three-point line and you see 17 turnovers, you like to have a few more possessions.

THE MODERATOR: Hands up. Another questions? Alright.

Q. Billy, were you concerned at all when you saw Corey down in the first half. You brought him back in the game. Does he look to you like he's --
COACH BILLY DONOVAN: I don't know. I wasn't concerned. I think in the middle of the game there you're playing who is available. I don't mean that to be insensitive towards Corey. I love Corey. He's played injured for this basketball team, but in that situation, you can't focus and dwell on somebody maybe not being available. We'll go with Walter Hodge. We played a big lineup night. We have to put somebody else in there. I really don't know how he'll be tomorrow.

THE MODERATOR: Got time for one or two more, anyone? Hands up.

Q. Billy, you did a good job time of alternating the zone with the man-to-man, and the zone in particular seemed to take them out of what they were trying to do for stretches of time.
COACH BILLY DONOVAN: Well, they're a hard team to guard on offense. They run motion very well. They're big for a great job screening. Modica and Brewer are very, very difficult along the baseline. They do such a good job, and Stan and the staff have done a great job of teaching those kids to play the game. I like watching them play as they play the game right way. They move off the ball, use screens.
I think the biggest difference from Arkansas from a year ago to this year is their ability to move and pass the basketball. I think the one thing about their zone is we felt like maybe if we could not have to guard Modica today and Brewer and Ferguson in so much motion it may give us a better chance to defend them because I think they were you down over a period of time with their offense with their screening and their physicality. Just one of those games where they had some looks that just didn't go down, and we did a pretty good job of being able to limit them to one shot.
But, you know, Thomas I thought had a great game. Certainly in the second half he stepped up and hurt our zone with some these and plays around the basket.

THE MODERATOR: Last question in the back.

Q. Billy, there was a lot made about Tauren maybe wearing down. How refreshed did he seem to you tonight?
COACH BILLY DONOVAN: He's been dealing with some tendinitis in his ankle, and it may be a blessing in disguise. He was pain-free the last couple of days but you know what? His practice time has been very, very limited, and that's maybe helped rejuvenate him and refresh him a little bit. But really, I gave him some extra time off after the Georgia game before we went into Rupp and I gave him basically almost another two days off after the Kentucky game because we're playing on a Friday.
So he's really had over the last week about four days of very, very limited practice. I think in terms of him wearing down, he should be fine. It may be that developing tendinitis in his ankle is a blessing in terms of him getting a little bit more rest for us.


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