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Opening remarks -
Our game plan was to take care of the ball and try to block North Carolina from speeding us up. At the beginning of the game, for whatever reason, we seemed to have a lot of unforced turnovers that gave them too many easy opportunities. They’re such a great team; they don’t need a whole lot of help from us.
Obviously we never really seemed to get in synch offensively the whole first half. We made a run there late in the second half, but it was after we dug that hole for ourselves in the first half. It seemed as though we had a difficult time getting out of it. We had cut it to four, with the ball, and I think we missed two easy opportunities and turned the ball over. What should have been a, going into the half, a lot closer game, ends up being a 10-point lead. The turnover we had there at the end of the half and the technical didn’t help any. So now we go down 12 points instead of six points or so, which would have been a manageable deficit at the half. But you have to give North Carolina credit. They’re a great basketball team; they executed their game plan. We faltered with the turnovers, and they never gave us a chance to get in our rhythm.
On the technical before the half -
I reacted - maybe overreacted - and he gave me a technical. Obviously he saw it differently and they have the final say. That didn’t have anything to do with the outcome of the game; I just thought that, if you remember in the beginning of the game, we had some awful good looks the first four-five shots. We couldn’t have gotten better shots. They didn’t go down for us, and for whatever reason, about three or four occasions we turned the ball over and gave them a couple of extra possessions. We came out the second half and I thought we had three great looks - I think two of them were right at the basket - and one was a wide-open jumper and we missed all three of them. They went down and scored on their three possessions. So what was a 12-point game goes to an 18-point game. We got the good opportunities; it was just one of those nights where things just didn’t fall. You have to give North Carolina credit for finishing their plays. They’re a talented team and we came up a little short.
On FSU’s NCAA Tournament chances -
Well, when you look at our strength of schedule, there aren’t very many teams in the country that have played any more top 40 teams than we have. So, last year, we were 9-7 in the league, won 19 games overall, and I’m assuming that the reason (not getting in) was strength of schedule. Now I don’t know if there are very many teams who have played the type of schedule that we’ve played. So obviously we’ve corrected that. We haven’t lost to anyone out of the top 40 or 50 in RPI. We have been successful against at least four or five teams ranked in the top 25 in the country. I think we play in what is the best league in the country. We were four out of five, or five out of six until Tony (Douglas) got hurt. Obviously we played our best basketball and we lost a very integral part of our system. It was very difficult for us to overcome that. But even with that, of those four or five games that we lost, a couple of them were on last possessions and two or three points here or there. So I think we still played well, but we couldn’t just overcome the drive. So losing a point guard when you’re playing real well or an injured player, when they say that means something, then maybe they’ll be taking that under consideration. I would like to have seen us without that adversity, but that’s not trying to make an excuse. You asked me to state my case. I hope you don’t feel like I’m trying to make excuses for what we are, but I think that we ran into some adversity. I think that the statistics prove, from a numbers standpoint, that we’re a pretty good basketball team. We have met most of the criteria, as I see it, as I understand it, and that justifies us having an opportunity to play.