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March 22, 2013

Dana Altman

Johnathan Loyd

Tony Woods


THE MODERATOR:¬† We are joined now by Oregon student‑athletes Tony Woods, a senior center, and Johnathan Loyd, a junior guard.

Q.  Johnathan, I don't know how much you got to see of Saint Louis's game yesterday or on film, they held the last five opponents to about 56 points or less.  From what you've seen or heard, the thoughts on going up against their defense?
JOHNATHAN LOYD:  I just hear they're a real disciplined team.  We haven't really watched film on them yet, haven't watched them play.  From what you said, I guess we're going to have to try to control the tempo, get the game going up and down to play to our strengths.

Q.  Tony, a big part of yesterday's win was the offensive rebounds.  Saint Louis isn't a team that rebounds all that well this season.  Another opportunity, I guess, to take advantage of that?
TONY WOODS:  Yeah, definitely.  The way Arsalan has been playing on the boards, we're definitely looking to exploit that advantage we have.

Q.  People talk a lot about experience in the tournament.  Obviously you guys don't have any experience in the tournament.  What do you attribute the poised effort you put together from bell to bell that you put together?
JOHNATHAN LOYD:  Just knowing that it's survive and advance.  If we lose, the season is over.  So we want to keep playing.  Coach wants to keep coaching.  So we're just going out there, swinging away, playing as hard as we can and trying to get it done.
TONY WOODS:  I believe it just comes from confidence and momentum that we have going right now.  As you said, nobody has tournament experience, so it's all just coming from the momentum swing that we've had since the PAC 12 tournament.

Q.  Do you guys feel that playing in the conference tournament and getting your three games in there you have kind of been playing this elimination basketball for the last couple of weeks, do you feel like that really prepared you for last night's game and the next one?
TONY WOODS:  Yeah, I believe so.  Like Loyd, that survival brings out the best in us, and we don't want our season to end, like anybody else.  So definitely.
JOHNATHAN LOYD:  Just Tony hit it on the head, survive and advance.  Going out there and being aggressive, knowing that if we lose, we're done.  So we're just swinging away.

Q.  A lot of talk was made coming into this weekend about your seeding.  What would it mean to you guys, especially given that, to make it to the Sweet 16?
JOHNATHAN LOYD:¬† It's just ‑‑ we have confidence in ourselves that we can do it.¬† So I think we'll just get a little more respect around the country knowing that Oregon basketball can really play with anybody.
TONY WOODS:  Yeah, that would be huge for us, to get more respect.  A lot of people didn't predict us to win the game last night.  That was big for us, getting respect.  We never cared about the 12 seed, we're just happy to be here, happy to stay alive and keep playing.

Q.  There was a lot of Oregon fans here yesterday, a lot of Cal fans here.  Both universities will probably have a big turnout and cheer for each other on Saturday.  How big an advantage could that be for you guys?
TONY WOODS:  That could be a big advantage for us.  With or without fans, this isn't hard to get up for at all.  It's the tourney, it's a whole other field.  So it will be big for us to get fans, but with or without fans we're just excited to play and ready to go.
JOHNATHAN LOYD:  It's always good to have the support, you know, have our fans here.  It's easy for them to get here, so it's good to have them.
But like Tony said, we're going to be ready regardless if we have fans or not.  If you can't get up for this tournament atmosphere, then I don't know what's wrong with you.
THE MODERATOR:  We are joined now by Oregon head coach Dana Altman.

Q.¬† You and Jim Crews faced off quite a few times in Missouri Valley, your thoughts on those match‑ups and him.
COACH ALTMAN:  Well, when I first went to Creighton, Evansville was pretty good.  And they handed it to us pretty good.  As the years went on, we got better and better and turned the tables a little bit.
Jim is a good coach, does a great job.  In watching the film last night and this morning, it's not his typical team.  I think Coach Majerus had a great influence on him and the team, and so they're doing a lot of things that Coach Majerus did.
But Jim has done a great job of keeping them together and bringing them along and the tremendous progress they've shown throughout the year is a real tribute to him and his staff.
We know we're going to have our hands full tomorrow.  They're a very good basketball team.  They do not give up easy baskets.  They know what they want from every possession.  It's about as veteran a team as we played.  The most veteran team we've played all year, I think, with the guys with NCAA tournament experience.  They've played together.  They're a good basketball team.
And we're going to have to play as well as we played all year to put ourself in a position to win, there's no doubt about that.

Q.  When you were hired you got there right about the time that the football program was just becoming a national power pretty much every year and very attractive style of play to young kids and great facilities and becoming the dominant team in the conference.  I wonder what you've done so far getting better every year and recruiting is good and now you've got this tournament win, can that same sort of thing happen in a league that's been known in basketball by pretty much Arizona and UCLA, can Oregon get there to the top and play an attractive style, great facilities and become known as a national contender?
COACH ALTMAN:  We sure hope so.  That's our goal.  That's what our staff came to Eugene and the state to do.  They are lofty goals because there are a lot of good programs in the PAC 12.  But we want to have a program that's competitive year in and year out and one that can stay in the hunt every year.  It's a big challenge for us, but the football team has done a great job and their success has helped us.
So hopefully that's the type of program we can aspire to.  Our track has been awfully good and baseball is coming on, softball is pretty good, volleyball had a great year.  There are a lot of good things going on at Oregon.
Our athletic department made tremendous progress, great leadership.  So we hope to be part of that.  And I think football leads the way at any BCS school.  And our football program has done a great job.

Q.¬† Seems like Cal and Oregon are kind of banding together for tomorrow night and trying to get their fan bases to cheer for each other and create a home‑type atmosphere.¬† Is that something you're looking forward to taking advantage of?¬† What do you think is kind of the unique relationship that you can have with Cal, if this was Oregon State maybe your fan bases wouldn't be necessarily as eager to join together.
COACH ALTMAN:¬† I'm not sure how to answer that.¬† We hope the PAC 12 kind of stays together.¬† I sure want Mike and Cal to be successful.¬† Our league has been beat up a little bit.¬† I've only been in the PAC 12 for three years, but we've been beat up a little bit.¬† And I think a year ago everybody thought our league was down.¬† It wasn't as down ‑‑ the perception ‑‑ we weren't that down as a league.¬† Our league is not down right now.¬† It's pretty competitive.
So we want Cal to be successful.  I was happy for them.  I was happy for Arizona.  I'm hoping Colorado and UCLA can be successful today.
And I think we're all in this together.  Our league has to grow together.  You look at any of the successful leagues in basketball, it's because they have strength from top to bottom, whether it's the ACC, the Big Ten this year, the Big East.  When all your programs compete, you make each other better.
So we want the five schools in the NCAA tournament to be successful.  Stanford and Arizona State are still playing in the NIT, we're sure pulling for those guys.  I think we're in this thing together and our league needs to move forward, and the success in the NCAA tournament is a vital part of that.

Q.  This seems like a contrast in styles, you guys like to run a lot more than they do.  How would you describe the differences, both teams are very good on defense?  How would you describe the different styles of these teams?
COACH ALTMAN:  Because of their experience, they don't turn it over quite as much.  They have a little better idea what they want out of a possession.  So we've got to try to get a few more possessions going.  We've got to try to open the floor a little bit.  I think at some positions our athletes can make a difference, if we can get them out in the open court.
Their execution offensively, you can tell it's because those guys have played together for years.  And I've got two freshmen guards out there and a couple of transfers on the front line.  So our experience and our togetherness isn't quite the same.
But that being said, you know, we've got to do a great job on the boards.  I think that's a critical part for us.  We can't give up easy baskets, because they're going to score enough on their own.
And offensively we can't turn it over.  They've got, as I mentioned, five guys who have over 35 steals on the roster.  That's an impressive stat.  And we've got to do a good job of handling the ball.

Q.  Dwayne Evans kind of put them on his back for about five or six games just some pretty incredible numbers.  What strikes you about him?
COACH ALTMAN:  Well, they handed me a sheet this morning with four game stats, the three games in the conference tournament and the game against New Mexico State, 73 percent from the field hit me right away.  That's 22 points a game.
So he is playing exceptionally well at the right time.¬† He presents a lot of problems because he's so ‑‑ he can go inside, he can go outside.¬† He shoots it okay from midrange.¬† He doesn't take any bad shots.¬† He can get an offensive rebound and a put‑back.¬† He scores in a lot of ways.
He's a match‑up nightmare.¬† If you go small on him, he just takes you inside and posts up.¬† If you go big on him, he can take you outside.¬† He shoots it well enough to draw you out there and he can put it on the deck.
He creates a lot of match‑up problems for us.¬† I think we've got to change things up on him, put different guys on him, try to keep him off his base a little bit.¬† Like I said, a lot of people have tried that and it hasn't worked very well.
But we can't let him shoot at the same pace he's at now, 22 points a game and 73 percent from the field.¬† Those are just off‑the‑chart numbers.

Q.  You've had experience already this tournament with shutting down a prolific scorer.  Can you take something from Oklahoma State and apply to him?
COACH ALTMAN:  Not really.  It's just different positions.  Marcus Smart scored in different ways.  Brown scored in different ways.  Their two leading scorers.
Evans is a totally different player.  We're going to have to figure out a way to slow him out differently than we did those guys.  Those guys had their ball in their hands all the time.  Mitchell and those guys were setting up Evans.  So it's a different scenario, you know.  It's different guys going to have to guard him.

Q.  You've talked a little bit about it this season, take us back through the situation with Arsalan, just recruiting him and that happened so fast.  And your meeting with him.  Again, it all happened so fast.  To carry that further, what he's meant this year?
COACH ALTMAN:  He's meant a great deal to our program.  There's no doubt about that.  His performance yesterday was really impressive.  When he hasn't played well we've struggled.  Everybody talks about us losing DA and struggling in those nine games, but we've also struggled in games that Arsalan hasn't played well.
As far as going back and getting him, we were lucky.  And then he had a groin injury that held him out for a long time, so it really got off to a slow start.  He missed the first few games waiting on word from the NCAA on the waiver.  So it was a very slow start for him.  But it is obvious now and looking back how much he's meant to us.
And besides all that, he's a wonderful young man to coach, really unselfish, all about the team, very respectful of others, very bright, picks things up really well.  It's really been easy to work with him this year.  We're going to miss him.
But he's been a lot of fun to work with.

Q.  Also on the same subject, him as an ambassador, not just from Iranians, but also for Americans to get a sense of who he is and his country?
COACH ALTMAN:  Well, I think up in the Northwest he's been a great ambassador.  He's been great on campus.  All the people around campus that I talk to, he's very well received with our student body and our fans.  Just the type of young man that he is, quiet, humble, gracious, he's hard not to like.  And the unselfish part of it on the basketball floor everybody can see.  And those are qualities that every team needs.
So he's been great for our campus.  He's been great for our basketball team and the University.  So as far as being an ambassador, I think he's done a wonderful job.

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