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March 9, 2007

Corey Brewer

Tauren Green


THE MODERATOR: Okay, we're ready to continue with Florida. Coach, if you'll give us some opening comments, we'll take questions just for the players so they can go and we'll finish up with coach.
BILLY DONOVAN: I was really proud with the way our guys came out and handled their first game. We got off to a great start. I thought on both ends of the floor we were able to create some turnovers with our press. We moved the ball, we got good shots. We shut Georgia down, I thought during the first half. When I say we shut them down, they missed some shots. But I don't know, maybe a combination of our defense and them missing. Really the thing that hurt us in the first half was offensive rebounding, because we gave them so many.
But I thought we really had a great opportunity to really open the game up the last three, four minutes of the first half. Taurean, Lee, Walter, we had some guys that got some wide open looks that we just didn't knock down, that could have taken the lead to 22, 24, maybe above 30. And I'm sure they feel the same way about their offense in the first half.
You know, I thought the second half, give the Georgia kids credit, they're going to come out and compete and play hard. They kept battling, and it was a very evenly matched game in the second half with both teams going back.
I was proud of the way our kids came out. The guys came out and played. And we're excited about the opportunity to move forward to tomorrow.

Q. For both players, you guys have played one game in nine days, so you obviously had some time off. Was that about as fresh as you felt in a long time?
COREY BREWER: Yeah, I felt like we were really fresh right now. We had a couple of good days, and I felt refreshed and trying to make a run now.
TAUREAN GREEN: Yeah, we practiced for the last nine days, and Coach had us get our rest in, and we had three or four days of practice. And Dave Werner did a good job of just rehabbing us and making sure we were refreshed.

Q. Do you personally or as a team have a theme going into this second season, starting tournament time? Do you have a personal theme?
COREY BREWER: We just want to be the best we can be. That's our personal thing, the best we can be. And we feel like if we can be the best we can be, we can make another run.
TAUREAN GREEN: We want to peak at this time of the year. We're going to be playing our best basketball at this time, and taking one game at a time, because if you lose, you go home.

Q. Corey Butler said that your team has been put on a pedestal by a lot of people. First, do you feel like you're on a pedestal? And second, how much of that pressure do you feel now in March?
COREY BREWER: I wouldn't say that. All I know is game in and game out, every team plays their best game against us. They play the hardest. We just have to be ready for that. I think it's respect. I wouldn't call it being on a pedestal. We just have to be ready to fight, and fight to the end every night.
TAUREAN GREEN: Any given day we could come in and get beat if we don't bring our A game, and we just want to come in with the right focus and mindset. Just get our game plan, and get a win.

Q. Getting back to that fast start, was it just being rested, that you think caused that or were there other factors?
COREY BREWER: You could say we were rested. But also we came out aggressive and we were pressing early. They made some turnovers, and that helped our offense. Because when they turned the ball over, we were able to convert and we got some easy baskets.
TAUREAN GREEN: That started off from our defense. We pressed them a little bit, forced some turnovers, and got some easy buckets.

Q. Same thing for you, Coach, on the pedestal, is your team on a pedestal? And is there extra pressure with that for March?
BILLY DONOVAN: I don't think we're really concerned about how anybody views our team except how we view ourselves. That's really the most important thing.
I think our team realizes that every given night, you know, we're going to get everybody's best shot, and teams are going to play well. How teams feel about us, we really don't have any control over. We don't. I think our kids try to go out and play the game the right way. They try to play hard, they try to play together, and I think they enjoy playing. What the view is and how our team feels, I don't think these guys walk out there feeling they're above any team at all. They don't. They walk into games with a great amount of respect for everybody we play against. And we have great respect tonight coming in against Georgia.

Q. Billy, did you start with the press because your guys were a little fresher, because you've had some time off? Did that play into the thinking of pressing early?
BILLY DONOVAN: No, I think the biggest thing was for us to continue to try to stay aggressive. That's what we wanted to do, was to stay aggressive, push up the floor a little bit.
I was concerned a little bit later on in the press after we got some turnovers, I thought that the one thing that concerned me was Georgia's ability to shoot threes with Stukes, and Humphrey and Gaines. And there were a couple of times in that first half where they beat the press, and they made some passes and got some open threes. Maybe early on in the game the press we were able to get some steals, but then they started to do a better job handling it. And we wanted to make sure we got back and were solid in the half court.
But the reason we started in the press was nothing more than just trying to stay aggressive. Really, that was it. Had nothing to do with us being fresher or anything like that. Plus the other thing, too, I think everybody talks about us being fresh, and how many games we've had and all that stuff. I think at this time of the season, a lot of it is mental. You know, it's mental. They can be physically fresh, it's mentally how you feel.

Q. Billy, how much of that slump there at the end of the regular season motivated you guys coming into the postseason?
BILLY DONOVAN: I don't know. We don't look at it as a slump. We lost to Vanderbilt, who finished in second place, who is an NCAA Tournament team, on the road. We lost to Tennessee on the road. We lost to a team at LSU, that obviously losing Glen Davis, people thought that we should go in there and handle the game. But give LSU's kids credit. Leading into the Kentucky game, the last game of the year we had played five out of seven games on the road. I don't know.
I think winning and losing gets overdramatized. On one end you're talking about a slump we went through, on the other end we're talking about our team being on a pedestal. Could there be some type of medium ground? Could we move it closer to the middle just a little bit? It's hard to get into saying a slump, we're down, our team's on a pedestal. We've lost to some good teams. And I don't know why teams won't give Vanderbilt and Tennessee the proper respect that they deserve. I think it's disrespectful to those teams to think that we're just going to walk in there and, you know, walk all over them and win the game. We should never lose a game.
Here's the thing that's interesting, if I would have asked any of you guys before the season started, do you think our team will go undefeated, you would have said no, impossible, not going to happen. But at the same point every game we play, we're supposed to win. So I think it's important that our guys understand who they are, and losing two games there was a reason why we lost. We're getting better at it. It's not when we win we're just better than everybody else. And we just hey, we're going to step on the floor and win.
I think our kids, I think any kids, get hit with so many different things, keeping it them grounded in the proper perspective. At least you try to do it the best you can.

Q. Coach, you had said that at this point maybe it's more mental, that start at the beginning of the game. Just getting off to the hot start, what's that say about where the guys are mentally right now?
BILLY DONOVAN: I think there's been some games, whatever you want to call it, if you want to call it a slump or whatever it is you want to refer to it as. There are certain times, and there's been certain times this year that we have not been able to match the emotional level of the opponent. We haven't been able to, and it's not for lack of trying. And I think mentally every game knowing you have to get to your highest possible peak to keep yourself in position, I think our kids have done an unbelievable job of trying to get to that level every game.
I think that if you look at some times after we've played some teams, I would be anxious to find out was there a little bit of a mental letdown for the team that we just played a little bit. Because it's so hard after a big win or tough -- it's so hard to stay at this mental level every game. So I think a lot of times you get mentally fatigued.
Physically, I think our guys are okay. But it's that mental challenge. I think mentally we're okay, too. I think we're okay right now. But it's hard to get to that magical level every single game. And I thought today they came in and tried to get to that level. We played at that level for most of the game.

Q. Billy, two and a half minutes to go you called timeout and brought your team over. I think I read your lips, it was, "play the right way." Concerned about some loopy passes, there's another turnover, but turnovers have been an issue for you guys, is that still a concern?
BILLY DONOVAN: Yeah, it is a concern, without question. I think that we made some plays that guys are trying to make things that have a low percentage chance of happening. You know, our guys get out on that break and want to attack and be aggressive, but they're trying to make passes and decisions where it's a low percentage. And it's led to some -- you know, Joe had one, a couple on the break, and Al had a couple on the break, and Lee Humphrey threw one. What happens is, it adds up over time. If there's an area I'd like to see us improve in is the turnover area. Sometimes we get going too fast. And we've got to do a better job of taking care of the basketball. I think that's an area of improvement that every guy on our team could improve from. It's a fine line. From the coach who wants to stay aggressive, you don't want to take confidence, but at the same point, you want freedom. But with freedom comes responsibility. When you have the ball in your hands, everybody on the team is relying on you to make a good decision. Everybody's relying on you to make a good decision. We've got to do a better job of balancing, being aggressive, and not being a team that becomes too passive.

Q. Coach, the potential of three games in three days, and the big lead you got toward the end, was there a thought of going a little deeper on the bench than normal?
BILLY DONOVAN: You know, I would have liked to. It's hard, it's a 15-, 16-point game with three minutes to go. We had a stretch where we missed four or five straight free throws. We could have kept the lead at 21, 23, but I think it's a dangerous time when there's two and a half, three minutes to go, and a team's down by 15 points or down by 16. Because you sit there and you throw in some new guys that aren't fresh, and they're going against pressure. All it takes is two turnovers and two threes within 15 seconds, and now you've got a 16-point lead, and now it's 10 or it's 9. And now you get caught having to put your guys back in. We could have finished the game a little bit better from the free-throw line with our turnovers, which would have enabled us to get them out.
But is one and a half, two and a half minutes going to make that big of a deal going into tomorrow? Probably not. If I could have rested them eight or nine minutes, a little bit longer. If we would have taken the lead from 22, 21 to 32, 33, maybe we could have gotten them out and have gotten a little deeper.
But I thought we went a little deep today. Werner got more minutes than he's got in a while. We had Speights in there, Walter Hodge in there. I thought we balanced it up pretty well. Joakim didn't play a lot of minutes today. Our minutes are going to be relatively evened out. To be honest with you, these guys hadn't played as many minutes tonight as they had playing up to this game. So you certainly want to rest them. But we had a chance to finish it out, and get a better lead and put those guys in there. If they do turn it over a couple of times, it's not the end of the world. They turn it over, up 15, and you have a nine-point game with two and a half to two minutes to go. Now you're putting all five guys back in the game.

Q. Billy, could you just talk about going to the press early in the game, and how that impacted things, particularly what was your mindset there?
BILLY DONOVAN: I think we pressed on and off. I don't think we're a team that presses all 40 minutes of a game. But if we can put the press on and off, and our guys did a terrific job of being disruptive and got some steals, got us out to a 17-0 run.
Defensively we did a nice job. They shot 18% in the first half. We could have cleaned up some loose rebounds and knocked down our threes, we could have extended our lead in the first half. But Georgia's kids, you know, Dennis does a great job with his guys, getting them to play hard and competing. You knew those guys were going to compete regardless of what the score was.

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