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TENNESSEE POSTGAME QUOTES



March 10, 2006

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Tennessee Quotes
THE MODERATOR: Okay. We're ready to begin with Tennessee. We'll ask Coach if he'll begin with some general remarks on the game and then we'll go to questions for the two student athletes. Coach.

COACH Bruce Pearl: South Carolina played great. I thought that they made some great adjustments, nothing we weren't expecting. We had seen them in the first two games and there were a lot of things that South Carolina did that bothered us, changes defenses, it's zone, their switching man to man, and it really stopped our transition which we which we rely a great deal on offensively.

Defensively, once South Carolina got on a lead, they run that spread offense and where our full court pressure didn't turn them over nearly enough, and they scored enough against the press. We weren't able to get the ball out of Kelley's hands. I thought Kelley was a real key for their game. He's one of the most underrated players in the conference.

THE MODERATOR: We'll take your questions for the two student athletes. If you have a question for either of them, raise your hand, and we'll get the microphone to you. Hands up.

Questions for either player. Okay. Let's start in the back. Go ahead.

Q. This is for Dane or C.J. or both. Coach Pearl had talked earlier this week about the style basketball y'all played taking a toll on your team as well as other teams and that he was concerned about the legs. Did y'all feel that at all today?

THE MODERATOR: Dane, will you take that one first?

Dane Bradshaw: That point in the season no team is one hundred percent, and just like anybody else, we got some bumps and bruises with our style of play. But when it comes down to it, you just love to make plays and be a more mentally strong team out there, and we weren't able to do that, and South Carolina executed their game plan to perfection against us.

 

 

THE MODERATOR: Same for C.J.

C.J. Watson: I think, yeah, just like Dane said, we had some bumps and bruises, but we refreshed enough to make plays out there. We just didn't do it tonight.

THE MODERATOR: Hands up. Other questions for either? Alright. Right here to the front.

Q. Does the feeling that you have right now this is for the players, does the feeling that you have right now set you up with extra motivation going into next week?

THE MODERATOR: Dane?

Dane Bradshaw: I think so. I haven't been around the locker room that silent and depressed in a long time, and you really don't take much good out of this, but maybe that is good that we had this feeling right now because we can't have that again if we want to be deep into the tournament, and hopefully we'll turn things around, and I think we'll find a way to get it done.

THE MODERATOR: C.J.

C.J. Watson: I think there's a lot of motivation, especially for the seniors. May be our last game out. We're trying to go out there and have one more good run in it.

THE MODERATOR: Hands up, other questions for either?

Q. The turnovers, both C.J. and Dane, 21 turnovers in this game.

THE MODERATOR: C.J., take that one first.

C.J. Watson: They made us play at a faster pace. We turned the ball over a lot, too many high passes, their zone kind of messed us up a little bit.

Dane Bradshaw: We got out of character a little bit in the first half, and then once you get behind, everyone is just trying to make plays and do their own thing to bring us back, and I think that hurt us a little bit. We weren't able to execute the way we wanted to and that lead to some turnovers.

THE MODERATOR: Time for one or two more, players, anybody? Okay. Let's go to the front here.

Q. C.J. or Dane, it looked like Chris was really having a lot of trouble of getting open looks today. What did you notice from them defensively?

Dane Bradshaw: I think in the first half he really did get some good looks, and Chris doesn't mind shooting over a contested hand. So he just didn't have a great day today, but he does so many things out there for us, and we expect him to bounce back, and every defense has a game plan against Chris, and they were just able to execute that tonight, but Chris will be fine.

THE MODERATOR: For C.J., also? Did you want C.J. to answer that question, as well? Are you okay? Next question. Got time for one more. The middle front.

Q. For both of you guys, South Carolina played you tough both games. I was wondering if you were a little concerned about it might be their day or luck to go their way.

THE MODERATOR: Dane.

Dane Bradshaw: We were able to throw some great runs at them earlier in the season, and both games they were right there with us for long period of time, and they were able to just do that for 40 minutes today, and we were never able to get over that hump, and just because you beat a team twice in the regular season that doesn't mean they're going to be the same team come March, and I think they showed that.

THE MODERATOR: C.J.

C.J. Watson: I think for them playing us two times in the season they come out, made a lot of switches in our defense and just kind of interrupted us and our offense.

THE MODERATOR: Okay. We'll excuse the players.

Fellas, you can return to the locker room. Thank you very much.

We'll continue on with questions for Coach Pearl. Do you have a question for him, if you'll raise your hand and we'll get a microphone to you. Hands up.

Q. Bruce, given Tennessee's history of playing so badly in tournament play, does this loss bother you from the standpoint now just to just not losing it, but how it might affect the team, kind of "here we go again" type thing?

COACH Bruce Pearl: More than that, I would think that just the fact that we're here in Nashville and so many fans have traveled to Nashville to support the Vols, and so we're disappointed because we know what kind of great support we've had.

I can't worry about what their tournament record was in the past. For me, that doesn't have a lot to do with this team.

Our challenge has been all year long as we talk about trying to get better, our inability to be able to practice because of our department and then in addition to that the fact that it's late in the year and you got to back it down a little bit. I thought we showed signs with our turnovers that we weren't as sharp, that just really hard to practice with seven guys.

THE MODERATOR: Hands up. Other questions? Do you have one? Go ahead.

Q. Bruce, have you guys gotten better the last couple weeks of the season? I know that's been what you've preached all year long. In your mind has this team continued to get better the last two, three weeks?

COACH Bruce Pearl: Chris, I think if you look at it, probably not. We had a great win at Florida, great win at Vanderbilt. Probably our last time we really played well was at Florida, and we come home and lose at home to Arkansas and Kentucky.

I don't think we played our best basketball in those games and especially in the second half. And once again the second half, the field goal percentage is very, very high.

We're sort of, you know, have a real gut check win against Vanderbilt. I'd say no, we're not playing our best basketball right now and haven't been and then how do you fix that? You usually try to fix it in practice, but I'm just not able to because of the body count.

THE MODERATOR: Okay. Let's go right down here. Joe was waiting. I'm come right back to you.

Q. Bruce, where do you think your team confidence level is both physically/mentally at this time?

COACH Bruce Pearl: I think for the first time the confidence has got to be shook a little bit. We were disrupted by South Carolina. A lot had to do with the opponent and what they did. It's not that anybody else is going to necessarily be able to duplicate that, their familiarity with our players and our personnel and our tendencies and I think that's what happens when my job is to put our kids in position to be successful.

I'm going to do that the first time, and then we're going to try to do it the second time, knowing that they know pretty much everything that there is to know, and I just thought that South Carolina just they really outplayed us today.

THE MODERATOR: Go ahead.

Q. Bruce, what did they do to disrupt you and particularly with Chris in taking him out of a rhythm after the first couple of minutes?

COACH Bruce Pearl: They play a switching man to man or a zone defense and really keep a guy on Lofton pretty much the whole time. And the fact that we weren't able to score inside, turn the ball over so many times getting it inside was a factor.

Major Wingate has five turnovers and Stanley has three and an Tre' has three. That's a lot of turnovers from your inside players when they didn't get a lot of touches. When they were get we got the ball in there I thought pretty good in the first half but didn't finish hat a high enough percentage. I would have liked to have gone in there much more.

THE MODERATOR: Hands up. Alright. Go ahead. Mike.

Q. You mentioned South Carolina's familiarity. What about just from a pure matchup standpoint, the number of ball landers on the floor. Does it make it difficult with the press behavior?

COACH Bruce Pearl: They have good athletes. They handled the ball well. We just we turned them over a few times, but they scored plenty against the 2. I thought they did a good job in transition. They beat us down the floor several times.

So I was glad we were able to get the tempo of the game up. I thought that was our best chance to win it, but they played better in the up tempo than we did.

THE MODERATOR: Other questions. Did you have another one?

Q. Bruce, is there a bright side to this instead of playing in a championship game, possibly you'll have more time to rest.

COACH Bruce Pearl: I really don't see it, John. I appreciate you giving me the pass on that. I don't see there's any bright side to knowing that we're we came here, let's try to play for a championship. You're not always going to be you're not always going to have a team every year capable of winning a championship. We felt like we could. So we're real disappointed.

THE MODERATOR: Okay. Let's go to the back. Got time for maybe two more. Take it right there.

Q. Coach, you talked about not being sharp because of maybe because of the practice time. Do you roll the dice at all this week and try to balance the scales a little bit more towards practicing harder?

COACH Bruce Pearl: Well, given what I saw and what I've seen coming down the stretch, I think we're going to have to. I think we're going to have to. Because I think it will be good for our confidence, and I'm pretty sure we'll have to do it.

A lot is going to depend on travel and where we go and what the matchup is, but I would say we're going to need a good run before we get get in the tournament.

THE MODERATOR: Last question right here.

Q. Coach, could you talk specifically about Balkman. He seemed to have a big game up front. He seemed to agitate you guys the whole way through.

COACH Bruce Pearl: When plays well, they win. When he scores and rebounds and he's a high energy guy, and I thought he outplayed us on the inside. He was the best he was a really big factor on the inside. We've been challenged, you know, with our interior but it got exposed pretty good and South Carolina had not been able to do that to this point. Our inside guys had the better in the first two match ups and tonight we didn't.

THE MODERATOR: Thank you.


South Carolina Quotes COACH DAVE ODOM: When you look at the game today in it's whole, you have to say we executed in all the important areas. Inbounding the ball versus pressure, transporting the ball to the other end, completing plays in a fractured court. That is 2 on 2, 4 on 3. Completing plays as they got the ball, we were able to get our defense back intact, five men playing as one.

I thought change of defense, I think kept them off tried a little bit. I've always felt that Chris Lofton is a much better second-half player than he is the first. I think what he does in the first half is he let's the others plays and if he's -- his best shooting effort is needed in the second half, he gives it. He tried just wasn't -- it wasn't there today for him. I would certainly give our players a lot of credit for that. The guy on my far right down there, Rocky, tries; you know, coming off the sick bed two days ago, gave him the assignment of matching up with Chris, and again I can't tell you how much respect we have for him as a player and as a shooter.

But Rocky gave his best effort today defensively. I thought he was sensational in everything he did, but there were times that he had to trade him off and guys like Tarence and Brandon and those guys did a great job as well.

Glen, when you look at it, I thought probably the key thing was that we played smart. We played smart basketball. We looked like we knew what we were supposed to do, and as a coach, the two things that make you proudest are you play hard and you play smart. I think we did both today, and I think our players desired to win.

THE MODERATOR: We'll take questions for Tre' and Rocky. If you have a question for either of them, raise your hand and we'll get a microphone to you.

Let's start right in the front middle.

Q. Rocky, can you just talk about guarding Lofton, and did you sense any frustration with him?

ROCKY TRICE: Well, mainly I just followed the game plan as given me in the locker room. Like coach said, I couldn't help off but -- like C.Y. Watson, he's a great driver, you know, so I couldn't help. Mainly I just stayed out -- mainly it was a team effort on defensive end.

Q. Did you sense any frustration?

ROCKY TRICE: I think I did. He was rushing a couple shots and {SOEUPG} for his shot a lot.

THE MODERATOR: Other questions, raise your hand for either of the players.

Did you have one?

Q. Tre', what about your performance and all the points and was this victory being considered the toughest one you've had during the {owing} scene.

TRE' KELLEY: Tonight I just wanted to stay within the offense and let the game come to me impossible. I didn't try to force anything. I did have a couple of turnovers where I was trying to kick out, but I really wasn't trying to force anything. I think that was key to the night I had. I took open shots, and when I got to the free throw line, I made free throws. I found the open man when he was open, and I think that was key to my great game tonight.

THE MODERATOR: Okay. I think we had another one on the same side.

Go ahead, Jon.

Q. I'd like to ask the players, you guys shot 70 percent in the second half. A lot of layups. As the coach said, you handled the 3 on 2 a lot. Can you tell us a little bit about how were you able to break them down and get those easy shots.

THE MODERATOR: Tre', that one first.

TRE' KELLEY: Got the ball to the middle of the floor. We created 3 on 2s and 2 on 1s. Everybody passed the ball well tonight. Everybody who received the passes finished. I think that was really key for us tonight. After we got it in on the first pass, we sliced through the middle and got the ball to the guys who were slicing and we just got it running. We had a fast-paced game tonight on offense. Those guys finished laysups that was good for us.

THE MODERATOR: Same for Rocky.

ROCKY TRICE: Basically we followed the game plan. We knew they were going to press and the coach said attack the scorer. That's what we did.

THE MODERATOR: Hands up? Have another one. Okay.

Q. Tre', how much did the first two games against Tennessee play into your guys' mental approach today?

TRE' KELLEY: It was a really defensive match highly for us tonight. We knew we had to score the ball to win. It was really defensive. We had to get on the shooters. We couldn't really help much off of Lofton. Like Rocky said, we had to rebound the ball, boxout and rebound.

We had to make him put the ball on the floor, Lofton, and that was real good for us. We made aggressive shots. C.J. Watson had a great game tonight. We kind of played good on everyone else and not let anyone else get off. Month.

THE MODERATOR: Got time for a couple more right in the middle here.

Q. Question for Tre'. Tre', do you see yourself as the key to this team? It seems when you put up numbers similar to what you had today, that USC's chances to win go up.

TRE' KELLEY: Not at all. It's all about the team. I just play with those guys. I try to play off them. Coach tells me to let them help me and that will be more of me helping them.

If I let them help me it would be good. It's all a team effort, offensively and defensively. No one player on this team. Got a lot of great guys on the team. Lot a great of defenders and rebounders, lot of great shooters. All a team effort.

THE MODERATOR: Last question.

Q. Tre', did you guys -- didn't you guys really want Tennessee after what happened the first two games and was there any point in the second half where you guys were up 15, 17, did somebody go, "Not again", don't -- you had 15 point lead up there, South Carolina?

TRE' KELLEY: I didn't -- I don't think nobody really came into the game thinking we need payback or something like that. We just wanted to come in and play our game, listen to the coaches. They prepared us well. Off one day, we didn't have that much time to prepare for these guys. We definitely listened to what they had to say.

They gave us a game plan and we really focused on our game plan. I think this was key for us. We went to the game plan. I worked for us.

THE MODERATOR: Okay. We'll excuse the players. You can return to the locker room. Thank you very much.

We'll continue on with Coach Odom if you have a question for the Coach, if you'll raise your hand we'll get a microphone to you. Let's start right in the middle.

Q. Coach, do you have any concerns about fatigue going into tomorrow's I am game?

COACH DAVE ODOM: Well, certainly we will. No question about it. There's only so much you can do about it. The first thing do you about it is talk to them from a positive standpoint that they're not going to be tired.

I mean you never -- I never want to send a team on the court fatigued or unprepared. There's only so much -- so many things you can do better at there point because you don't have a long time to prepare but we have enough time.

We have equal amount of time. Then the other thing is from a fatigue standpoint what we can do is get fluid in them, get food in them, get rest for them and then load it up and let's go between.

I think the way we talk to them will determine, you know, the amount of fatigue that they allow their body to admit to.

Yes, I'm concerned about it but not to the point that I think it's going to be our undoing anymore than it will be any other team.

THE MODERATOR: Okay. Next.

Q. Dave, is this kind of game that you kind of envisioned at the beginning of the year as how you would play?

COACH DAVE ODOM: Well, I certainly envisioned at the beginning of the year we would be able to beat anybody in our league and that would include all of the good teams.

Tennessee certainly has proven its mettle over the course of 16 conference games and beyond and, you know, so from that standpoint, the answer obviously is yes.

But, you know, sometimes it takes awhile to get to the point that you want to be at and I don't know.

I've always felt that a team is kind of like a slow baking cake. It just takes a little while to get it and to have it mature, if you will, or ripen if it's a fruit or get ready if it's a cake. I don't know. I'm getting into areas I don't know anything about cooking, but I do know about a team and sometimes you can force it to move along but sometimes you can't.

What you got to do is keep coaching, keeping loving and keep picking. You keep doing those three things, eventually it will work out.

THE MODERATOR: Okay. Right here.

Q. Yeah. Dave another fatigue related question. Specifically as it relates to Tre', I mean have you got a really good to watch his minutes a little bit maybe tomorrow?

COACH DAVE ODOM: I'll watch his minutes in the off-season. I'm not going watch them right now. I'm not too worried about that. My coaches remind me all the time get rest for Tre', guest rest for Tre', get rest for Tre'. They do a good job of that. Sometimes I listen on that, sometimes I don't.

That's going to be a decision I'll make deep down inside my belly. When it's time to rest him, I'll I'll know it. When it's not, he'll stay out there. I do think it was time to take him out in the first half. He took the ill-advised shot and made the one turnover on the other end going the other way.

I thought it was time to take him out a minute and just like it was for Renaldo when he made two mistakes. Take them out, remind them that we've got to play mistake-free basketball, and that's everybody.

I would say one thing. I mean, I heard somebody say something about points in the paint and there were a couple of things here are are really, really important. You didn't ask me. I'm going to tell you anyway.

One of them is Tennessee is the top team in our league over 16 games, assist to turnover ratio. When you look at what happened today, they made 21 turnovers on 12 assists. It flipped, big, big, big factor in South Carolina's favor, big factor. 21 and 12 the other way.

Because they do a great job of forcing turnovers and making assists. Didn't happen today. Second thing, I look down there where it says points in the paint, South Carolina 40, Tennessee 22.

Now, that is a misleading bit of verbiage in that yes, we got 40 points in the paint; yes, they only had 22, but it wasn't throw the ball into the paint and power basketball.

What that was is fractured basketball plays that we completed that came in the lane, and those are very, very important against a team like Tennessee.

If you can get the ball in and you can get on attack, there's plenty of room to complete plays. Unfortunately, some teams backed off. Maybe we did during the year. I don't know. But we didn't today, and that's a key, key factor, those two, as well as obviously free throws.

THE MODERATOR: Let's go back to the middle right here.

Q. You've spoken highly of Dane Bradshaw in the past. It looked like you guys contained him pretty well today?

COACH DAVE ODOM: Well, you know, I just have the world of respect for him. I saw him wince a couple times with that right wrist of his. I believe it was his right arm. He had that black-looking tape or almost cast-like protective device on it. I asked him after the game about it. He said, "Coach, I'm going to have surgery." Probably I shouldn't say that. None of my business to release that. I didn't mean to do that. If I said something wrong, Tennessee, I apologize.

You know, I think right now, you know, he's hampered by his wrist. He's playing just as hard, and he's playing almost as well, but let's face it, when you've got a bad wrist, that doesn't give you the opportunity to do some of the things that you normally would do. He hit the first 3 of the game. I was disappointed we didn't stop that.

That was one of the things we talked about in our pregame on the inbounds, they back him up. Last second resort or last chance resort, he shoots the 3 and we were right there for it. Didn't stop it.

He's a great player. I happened to think he's better playing in the 4 than he is at the 3. Patterson is such a great player. They got to get him in. They're doing what they got to do.

THE MODERATOR: Okay. Go ahead.

Q. Dave, could you just kind of reflect a bit on the opportunity in front of you guys? You're one victory away from playing for a championship.

COACH DAVE ODOM: Well, Barry Booker who did the TV interview after the became, Barry Booker said on camera, "Coach, I want to ask you a question. Do you think you got two more games in you?"

I said to him, "Barry, I'm a better interviewer than you."

He said, "Why?"

I said, "Because I would ask you if you were the coach, do you have one more game in you?" Anybody that knows anything about coaches never looks at two games when you have the ability and the right to look at one, and that's the way it is.

We've got one game, and tomorrow is our championship game. The championship game is not Sunday unless we get to it. Tomorrow is our championship game. It's all or nothing. We've got to put everything we've got into that, and then we'll see what we have left if we have the opportunity to get into it Sunday game.

THE MODERATOR: Question in the back.

Q. Dave, where do you see Renaldo with his consistency at this point and how important is it for him to get off to a good start in terms of his energy and what he does? It seems like his success reflects a lot on your successful team?

COACH DAVE ODOM: Obviously, he plays well when he's energized and when he feels needed, and his teammates feed off of that as well. I will tell you also I coach better when he's playing good. I do because I'm not distracted by having to correct things that shouldn't have to be corrected at this time of the year.

I'm the least important of that equation, but by -- it is important that I feel good with him out on the court, and he knows that. So it is -- you know, it is important that he do well, and it's important that he play like he can play and today was another one of those good games. We'd were able to feed off of that for sure.

THE MODERATOR: We have time for two more. There and we'll be back to the front.

Q. Dave, based on the first two games and then today, did you feel that Tennessee's legs, energy level, those things, even tense city matched what they did the first two games or could you sense that that's a tired basketball team out there?

COACH DAVE ODOM: Well, I mean let's face it, now they press every possession for 30 plus games and you know, no matter how much you try to rest them and no matter how much you tell them they're not tired, you know -- I think sometimes you give into fatigue when you're in the playing well and I think not playing well comes before fatigue, sometimes.

When the shots don't fall, you don't feel good, and that may have been just as much they didn't play well today as it was they were tired today. I mean I don't see them being overly tired. They played here in Nashville last sat. I'm sure they had Sunday off. They could have conceivably also had Monday off. I don't know what they did but I mean that wouldn't be out of, you know, -- out of character if a coach gives a guy two days off, just this time of year which is certainly enough for young guys 20 years old to get their legs back.

My guess is -- I mean, Tennessee will play better in the NCAA tournament than they played today as most teams do at this level. I mean everybody is worried about duke right now. Duke will play better in the NCAA tournament than they do in the ACC tournament, I promise you because what happens is you get away from people that know you best and, you know, in J.J. Reddick's case, they're going to have to relearn what he does or learn on-the-job what he does.

In Tennessee's case, Chris Lofton can be just as big a nightmare. So they'll play well next week, I'm confident of it. I wouldn't worry about fatigue if I was Bruce Pearl.

Lot of coaches will say it's a blessing we lost in the first round, we're going home. Don't believe that. Nobody wants -- nobody -- I don't care if he said it or not. Nobody wants to lose, nobody.

THE MODERATOR: Last question right here in the front.

Q. Coach, do you ever recall having a team shoot 70 percent in a half?

COACH DAVE ODOM: Oh, yeah. Team I played on hit 14 for 15 my senior year. You cover that game? Gilford vs. Atlantic christian in the second half in Wilson, 14 for 15. That beats 70 everyday. True story..

THE MODERATOR: The answer to the question is yes.

Q. How about since then?

THE MODERATOR: Okay. We're done. Thank you.

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