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“Not much to say. I think they were the more aggressive team, more physically and mentally into the game. A huge part of that has got to fall onto my head. We had some chances and made a nice little run to get it tied, and then gave up a wide open 3 and then give up a dunk and take a bad shot on the other end between the two. It will be interesting to see how we bounce back from this one. It’s one of those times that you hate because you’re in a tournament but you don’t get to play the next day, you have to wait a day in between. But it means we’ll be able to practice and see what happens at that point.”
On UNC's performance:
"We’re so young. We just lost our composure from the first moment of the game. They were the more aggressive team right from the start, and we did all the back-pedaling. We didn’t react. Just trying to get guys to do their job is what it boiled down to...
"So many simple things. You have to box out on major possessions. You can’t give them a run and dunk it on your back. You have to get off on the rear screens. They’re a good defensive team. I’ve never played against a Tubby Smith team that wasn’t good defensively."
On his team not being aggressive:
"We just stunk. They were more aggressive than we were. It just wasn’t a good night. You can’t have that kind of play and be a very good team. They were the more aggressive team. I keep going back to that, but I think that was the key point of the game. We’re standing and dribbling, going side to side, and they’re attacking the basket. And they’re good defensively. Every time we set a screen they got over it, and every time they set a screen we hit it and acted like it was Velcro."
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On the loss:
"The first loss is always the toughest one. It’s hard knowing we could have executed some little things that would have pushed us over the top. That kind of letdown is something we can’t have. But we have to learn from it. They’re an experienced team, and we have to learn to do what they did."
On Roy Williams saying that Minnesota was more aggressive than UNC:
"We knew we had to match their aggressiveness. We tried, but at the end we came up short. This is just something we have to learn from. We came out strong and played well at the beginning, but then we let up a little bit."
Listen to Audio (2:31)
What can this loss teach this team?
“The biggest lesson that we should have learned is that we can’t get excited because we won a couple of games… Nothing against Lipscomb and Hofstra, but we came into a game against a team that’s not going to back down to us just because of our name. We have to hit them back. We can’t just sit here taking shots. It’s like a boxing match – you can’t just sit back and be bobbing and weaving the whole time. We have to be the aggressor at some point. But just as a team effort, I don’t think that we gave it all tonight and you saw what happened.”
Listen to Audio (1:57)
On what Minnesota did successfully on defense:
“Just simply our execution. I think it was mostly us. We weren’t patient. We haven’t seen a defense like that where they just mostly stay in the paint. We’re used to teams pressuring us and we can attack them, so they definitely made us work for everything and we just need to execute better.”
Have you had a day like this where nothing goes in?
“I’ve had games like this before, but once again, it’s one of those where you have to go back and look at the tape tonight and get back in the gym and work on it.”
MINNESOTA HEAD COACH TUBBY SMITH
On his team's overall performance:
"We feel very good about bout the win. I think our guys really played extremely hard. We got great effort from everyone, especially the bench. I thought that Blake (Hoffarber) and Al (Nolen), being our senior leaders, did a fantastic job in running the team and executing. We beat a very good team. We played a team that struggled shooting the ball tonight and when you struggle like that, you’re going to have a tough night. Neither team shot the ball well, I thought, but both teams defended well tonight."
On whether he’s impressed with his team or not:
"I’m not a very impressionable type coach, but I like our courage and I like our toughness. We’re bending, but we’re not breaking. We’re starting to get better in taking care of the basketball. We had 19 turnovers again tonight, but we’re making up for it with some good half-court defense and that can keep you in a lot of ball games. I think our guys are starting to understand. We were fortunate to get started early this year. I said that was very beneficial to us. They got to know each other, guys enjoy each other, they like playing together. That’s so important, the chemistry and the makeup of the team, and that’s what I see happening now with this group."