Post- Game Quotes: North Carolina
 
 
 

 

 
 

Dec. 5, 2013

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Michigan State head coach Tom Izzo

Opening statement…
It was probably one of the more disappointing performances in my career here, to be honest with you. I just thought from the opening jump ball they took it to us. I mentioned that we haven’t been practicing real well and I think they’re not playing very well. I can’t think of a time I’ve been more disappointed in maybe myself; it’s my job and we looked like a softer team. That solely falls on me, nobody else. We started out so poorly and then we battled back and tied it. We had some shots. (Gary) Harris missed some shots he’s going to make. Branden (Dawson) had a rough night, they overpowered even him. In general, give them credit. They were a 60 percent free-throw shooting team and they made all their free throws until it didn’t matter. We didn’t follow the game plan and that’s my job to hold them accountable. They still made two threes, and that’s what they’ve done all year. We were bellied up on the weak side, just did some uncharacteristic things on our part. We were cramping up; we were tired. (Adreian) Payne hasn’t practiced very much; he’s got a little plantar fasciitis and that’s been a problem, so he couldn’t go very long. (Matt) Costello’s got a little, actually thought it was the flu but might be a slight case of mono. (I) wasn’t even going to play him and he probably played as hard as anybody on our team, and I give him probably the most credit. Usually play how you practice and we played how we practiced.

On North Carolina wanting it more than them…
I agree with him, 100 percent. We uncharacteristically looked soft. We just did not play with the tenacity. The loose balls, they got them all early. The crowd tried to bring us back and we didn’t even let that happen. We have no one to blame but ourselves. I think there’s plenty of people responsible - players, coaches, trainers, everybody in our group is responsible and we’re going to have to fix it. It’s one game and they made some shots. They banked in a couple, they hit some free throws that rolled around, 60 percent team as I said, and they made a lot of throws during that stretch when it mattered.

On North Carolina’s success against Michigan State…
We just didn’t get the job done. I don’t know if it’s magic. There’s been times, like in the Final Four, that they’re just better than us and I wouldn’t count tonight as one of those. Give Roy (Williams) credit. They came off a loss and they looked hungry. We came off all the hype and we looked not as hungry, so that’s part of the growing process, part of the learning process. Just very, very disappointing. We’ve been down 50-20 at halftime against Memphis and I thought we played harder than we did in the first part of this game. That’s my deal, it’s all on me.

On what Michigan State will take away from this game…
You don’t practice well, you don’t play well. You don’t play hard, you’re not going to be successful. They didn’t make any shots, I mean they made shots inside but I mean 2-for-11 from three. It wasn’t like they overpowered us. We said we weren’t going to let them post, and we were playing behind. Give them credit, they used their bulk and their muscle. We didn’t play very hard, we didn’t play very well. I don’t know what that is attributed to other than we’ve not practiced very well and not had many guys in practice some of the times. You can’t practice one day in six and expect to shoot the ball well. Some of that’s not their fault and yet we had enough other guys that could have stepped up that didn’t step up.

On handling an upcoming break from games…
Right now, we need to be practicing. We’ve got finals coming up, we’re not going to get a lot of practicing in next week. I’m trying to go a couple days, take a day or two off, go a couple days, take a day or two off and then go the last two days. I can guarantee you this, I sure as hell ain’t worried about Texas. I’m worried about Michigan State. We didn’t do the things that championship-caliber teams needed to do in big games, and that is so disappointing.


North Carolina head coach Roy Williams

Opening statement…
We could make this short if you want to because I don’t know, I don’t know, I don’t know. If you have any questions that can’t be answered by that it would really be something. We’re as happy as we can possibly be. We’re 179 degrees away from where we were at the UAB game. Tuesday’s practice was really good. I still chewed them out during the course of the practice. Last night when we got here, for the first time ever, I made them continue looking at the UAB game for almost an hour. I told them at that point, the UAB game was over with. We had already given them a scouting report on Michigan State.

But we were really good. That’s exactly the way I felt. We were active, disciplined on the offensive end, active on the boards and we were aware of what was going on on offense. With the rebound battle, playing Tom’s team, it’s always a big-time battle. I believe rebounding is extremely, extremely important and he does too. I would have to think that over the past 10 years that Michigan State and Carolina are two of the worst top-five defenses in the country for a 10-year period and we want to emphasize that. They’re a really gifted team, but we were very fortunate tonight; that’s the bottom line. We made some shots that we haven’t been making in the first half; they gave us a little confidence. I told them the same thing I told them at halftime against Louisville, that we were tied both times. I said that we didn’t play great, but we can play a heck of a lot better in the second half. I look down and I see we had five guys in double figures; we had a lot of guys involved. (We) out-rebounded them 49-38. We shot 52 percent in the second half and they shot 31 percent. Tom’s club missed some shots that they normally make and we defended around the rim. That’s one thing we’ve been doing better this year, blocking shots, than we did last year. Brice (Johnson) and Kennedy (Meeks) gave us a lift off the bench offensively, and I think both of them were even better defensively. J.P. (Tokoto) and Nate Britt really stepped up. It wasn’t just Marcus Paige. I thought the first three or four makes of the second half were crucial. We had five or seven points in the second half, we got it tied, then Brice made two baskets in a row and J.P. got a couple there as well. We didn’t set the world on fire from the free-throw line, but we made enough and got a couple stops.

On what he learned about his team…
Who knows. You would have thought after the Louisville game I would have learned a lot then and I learned that when we go to UAB, we played poorly. But UAB really wanted it so much more than we did. Today, Michigan State did not want it that much more than we did. I think that ‘want to’ is always something that’s been extremely important to me. You can’t tell in college basketball what’s going to happen. Today at one time I had three freshmen, a sophomore and a junior on the court. We don’t have seniors travel with us so we have to understand kids are going to do some wacko things, so you hope they’re going to do enough good on game day.

On J.P. Tokoto’s game…
I thought J.P. was really active. I said on my radio show that defensively, he didn’t play very well against UAB. Everybody thought he played well because he scored, but he didn’t play very well defensively. Today, I thought he did a lot of things that were really good. He rebounded the ball, 12 points, 10 rebounds, 6-for-10 from the floor. The biggest thing with him is he’s so athletic, and when he’s into the game mentally and being cautious with his shot selection, cautious with the basketball and not turning it over he can really help you in so many ways. We got to get him to focus on that. But again, it was a tied score, Brice scored twice and J.P. scored three in a row, and I think those were big for us. I was a little concerned at the end -  he had gotten his shoulder hurt and he had gotten elbowed in the head. I was going to keep him out there for a couple of minutes to make sure he was all right. The lineup that we had was doing really well and J.P. was cheering us over there at the bench. I did not keep him out because of free-throw percentage. I will make substitutions, I always have, but just when I took him out, the group that was in was doing very, very well and he understood that. He was excited.

On the team’s mood and morale…
It’s probably been up and down. The kids, with bad things, they get rid of them in a half hour. We coaches, we give UAB 72 hours or however long it is until the next game. 18-, 19-, 20-year-olds get rid of bad things a lot quicker. They enjoyed the Louisville game. They did not enjoy the UAB game. I did not allow them. You can’t just depend on their emotions, you got to keep pushing for them to do it all the time.

On if he’s been a part of a team with as many “wild swings”…
I have no idea. I’m old; this is 26 years as a head coach. I’d have to go back and see. I have no idea. I know we’ve gotten killed a lot of times and we’ve beaten the crap out of a lot of people. I’d hate to think it’s been worse than this.

On the importance of jumping out to leads against Louisville and MSU early…
Every part of the game is important. The other day everybody said the first part of the second half against Louisville was important; I didn’t think that at all. Today, I thought that the first part of the second half was important. We tried to take their crowd a little bit out of it. At home, I just want to play for 40 minutes. I’ve never been one of those guys to choose one part of the game. We made some shots early in the game. Nate (Britt) made a big shot, James Michael (McAdoo) made two jump shots, Marcus (Paige) wasn’t making anything in the first half. It was good to go into half with Marcus Paige with two points, and that was important to us as well because everybody thinks we’re so one-dimensional. Second half, I was mad at the end when we scored and didn’t sprint back on defense with six seconds left to play.

On if UNC played with more energy than MSU…
I can’t speak to Tom’s team, he’ll have to answer that. There’s North Carolina, there’s Duke, Kentucky, Indiana,  that have been great for 100 years. Jud Heathcote and Magic Johnson made this place and Tom Izzo has just done an unbelievable job for 19 years. He’s taking it to another level and maintaining it. If you look at what he’s done for 19 years as head coach, it’s hard for anybody to match that. I can’t sit up here and try to evaluate his team. He’s one of the great coaches, you can ask him that.

On UNC’s success against MSU and Tom Izzo…
My players have played better on game days than his players have. That’s the bottom line. I’m not a better coach than Tom Izzo by any means. Just on that one game day, my teams have played really well. Sometimes, we’ve had more talent too. I mean, in 2009 I was dumb enough to beat them in the regular season by whatever it was and I told our team we’d beat them more in the finals. I got some people in Detroit mad at me because I said I didn’t care that much about the state of their economy, let’s let it suffer for another day. I’ve got some coaches that I have a great deal of respect for that we have great records against and I’ve got some coaches that kicked our tails.