March 18, 2009

 

BYU QUOTES

THE MODERATOR: We're joined by Brigham Young student athletes.  We'll go ahead and open it up for questions for the student athletes.

 Q.  Lee, what did you think when you saw Texas A&M come up on the bracket?
 LEE CUMMARD:  First, I was a little taken by surprise, but then got thinking about it.  Kind of a good matchup for us.  They're very similar to last year.  Should be similar game to last year.

 Q.  Lee, would you like to see a different mindset from the team coming out compared to last year's slow start or will experience dictate that?
 LEE CUMMARD:  I think that the guys that will start all remember last year, except for Jacks.  We'll let him know before the game how slow we got off.
 I don't think they'll get off to an 11 0 start this year.  If we do that, get in the flow of the game, just compete from the start, we'll be a little bit better off than last year.

 Q.  How much stuff have you been doing specifically to try to get off to quicker starts, better starts?
 JIMMER FREDETTE:  I think it's mostly just a mindset.  We got to go out there and, you know, be ready from the get go.
 Obviously, we haven't been playing real well in the first half for the past, you know, four, five games.  That's something that we'd like to be better at.  Get out there, get a good warmup, get sweating before we start the game, and get out there and have that mindset that we've got to go from the beginning because this is, you know, one and done.  Got our backs against the wall.  Got to go out and play.
 JONATHAN TAVERNARI:  Everybody is talking about how it's a different matchup, it's kind of a controversial thing that we're matched up with them again.  But I think from all the 65 teams here, we're probably the luckiest ones because we know who we're going to face.  We actually have a chance to know who we're playing against.
 I know Louisville played Morehead.  But we have a chance to play a team that we know we're going to get.  We played with them last year.  I know they lost DeAndre and Kirk and Joseph Jones.  They're still a really good team.  It's kind of a unique thing for us.  We kind of know how to prepare.
 We know how many mistakes we did last year.  Just make sure, like Lee said, Jackson was the only one who wasn't around, but at the same time Jacks is a unique player, unique person.  We don't have any trouble having a different mindset when the game starts.

 Q.  Lee, you're the only senior that plays significantly.  You've been here a couple years now.  How much of this to end the streak of all the straight losses is on you tomorrow, do you think?
 LEE CUMMARD:  I think it's just a team thing.  I don't think there's any pressure to end the streak on myself.  I mean, we've only been here two years prior to this.  So really we only have a little bit part of the streak.  We're just concerned with going out there and playing hard, getting off to a good start, letting everything else take care of itself.

 Q.  Jonathan and Jimmer, can you talk about Lee, his senior year, maybe what's on the plate for him if you can deliver in this game.
 JONATHAN TAVERNARI:  Well, I think everybody would agree with me that Lee's by far one of the top 10 players, top five players to ever play at the school.  He will be one of the best players even on the West Coast, you know, throughout his career.
 It will be unique thing.  This is a whole lot bigger than him, a whole lot bigger than anybody on the team because, you know, we have a whole history of BYU basketball behind us.  For so many years, you guys know better than we do, we haven't got a win.  To top off, Lee's senior year, with a win right now would be amazing.  For somebody that has done so much for the program, this is just the least we can do, see him off the right way.
 I don't really think that a win or a loss in the NCAA tournament will define his amazing career.  He's the best player I ever played with.  It's been an honor to play with him.
 JIMMER FREDETTE:  Yeah, definitely, just like what he said.  Lee's been great for the program.  He's the leader of the team right now.  Obviously for him and for our team, we'd like to be able to get out there and get a win and advance.  It would be something that would be very special for everybody and for the program to move forward, so...

 Q.  Jonathan, you said when you saw you were playing against them, you knew what you had done before, the mistakes.  Josh Carter was up here saying he expects you will pay more attention to him this year.  Is that something he's right about?
 JONATHAN TAVERNARI:  Well, they had a really good post player.  They had three, four good post players last years.  DeAndre, Joseph Jones, Elonu, and Bryan Davis.  Our game plan was trying to get the ball out of the post guys' hands.  We knew Josh was a shooter.  This year, you know, the game plan is a little different because, again, we played against them.  Like Lee said, we got 11 0 start against them that most likely won't happen tomorrow.
 But the game plan, you know, is a little different than last year.  But at the same time, it doesn't really matter, you know, how the game plan, you know, plays itself if you don't play hard enough.  So it's gonna be a fun game.  Like I say, at least we have the experience to play against them.  I think we're fortunate enough to know who we play against and have another shot at them.

 Q.  Could you talk about your background with some of these Texas A&M players, JT.  Jimmer, talk about playing on the East Coast again.
 JONATHAN TAVERNARI:  I played AAU with some of the assistant coaches, Byron Smith.  I played with him for the Houston Swoosh.  Chinemelu Elonu (Junior) and I played with DeAndre on that team.  Before my sophomore year, I'm really good friends with Wink.  I went down to Houston, hanging out there.  A bunch of guys, I got to go to College Station there hanging out.  I know pretty much everybody on the team.
 Just a good friendship.  We keep in touch all the time.  We're friends on Internet, on Facebook.  We text each other all the time.  I was following their game against Texas Tech.  A good overall friendship.
 Byron and I are together since probably I got    so probably 14, 15, I know coach Byron.  Junior and I always room whenever we're on the road traveling.  Playing at Kingwood, playing in Vegas in the tournament for the Swoosh, Junior and I always roomed together.  It's a really good story.
 JIMMER FREDETTE:  Yeah, just being from back East, obviously it's a great opportunity to be able to come back here and play and have some of the family and friends be able to come out to the game.  I'll probably need a lot of tickets, especially for this next game.  If we win, I'll probably need even more.
 It's gonna be exciting.  I'm just ready to get out there and play in front of the family and friends again.

 Q.  The difference now is that Texas A&M don't have the big guys.  What do you expect from them?
 LEE CUMMARD:  They still have big guys.  Bryan had a good game against us last year.  Junior is definitely a threat down low.  So they lost a few, as well as we did.  But it's still gonna be a similar game.  They're playing very similar to how they did last year.  They run a lot of the same stuff.  So do we.
 JONATHAN TAVERNARI:  They got, like Lee said, a lot of big guys.  Junior and Bryan, they're really good post players.  Bryan is a little old school where he pump fakes a lot.  He has that kind of old school swagger to him.  They also have a backup 6'9" kid.  I don't remember his name.  He's really good and he's really skilled on the post.  He can go over both shoulders.  It's not like they're a bunch of 6'6" guys now.  They still got height and some strength.  They're hard to push around, so still big.

 Q.  Lee, can you identify what you think the key is to playing well, winning this game.  Can you also answer if you feel like the program's recent history in this tournament, is there some pressure that goes along with that?
 LEE CUMMARD:  Well, one of the keys is definitely gonna be Josh Carter.  I mean, he got 26 on us last year.  He's their leading scorer.  We're going to have to do a good job of containing him as a team.
 Then, you know, taking care of the basketball and rebounding I would say is another key.  We're going to have to do a good job of that.  They're physical.  Sometimes they send three or four guys to the offensive glass.  If we can control that, it will really help us a lot.
 As far as making history, I mean, we've had great success while Coach Rose has been here.  One of the things that has eluded us has been an NCAA tournament win, advancing in the tournament.  If we can do that, it will be a huge positive for this program moving forward.
 THE MODERATOR:  Thank you, guys.
 We're joined by Brigham Young head Coach Dave Rose.  We'll ask you to make an opening statement.
 COACH ROSE:  Well, we're excited to be here.  I think Philadelphia is a great city.  It's good for our players to have an opportunity to see another part of the country.  We're really excited to be in the tournament.  Looking forward to the matchup with Texas A&M.  I think, you know, our staff and our program, we're happy for our players because these players have had a terrific season and they've played really hard and they deserve to be here.
 Look forward to the game tomorrow.

 Q.  What difficulties are presented to you having to face this team that you faced in the same scenario last year and losing that game?
 COACH ROSE:  Well, I think there's always positives that you can look at, that you can take out of games.  I think the game last year was a really close game.  We got off to a slow start.  We recovered from that.  We got a lead.  Then, you know, late in the second half, we lost the lead.  We weren't able to kind of make up that space.
 We got out rebounded in that game.  So I think that, you know, one of the things that we've done as a staff is just try to find the things that were good, that we did really well in that game, that we can kind of emphasize.  Spent some time working on things that, you know, can help us play better.
 I think that all five of their starters were involved in that game last year.  So we have a pretty good idea of how physical they are and how they like to play.  I mean, I think that's a good thing.

 Q.  Can you identify some of the things that you think you guys need to do to have a better start and to be successful in this game.
 COACH ROSE:  Well, I think one of the things that's really important for our team is, that we take advantage of opportunities that are created for us at our speed, at kind of our pace, how we play.  I think sometimes we get sped up a little bit.  We may take an open shot, but we may have a better shot.  So be a little bit more patient offensively to start the game.
 I think that that's probably one of the most important things we can do, is just maybe be a little bit more patient in our shot selection.

 Q.  All the time Lee gets a lot of attention, sees a lot of double teams.  A lot of times he might get away from his shot, might look to set others up.  Can you talk about him shooting when you want him to shoot and how he reacts to that attention that he gets.
 COACH ROSE:  I think you've seen it develop over the course of the year.  At the beginning of the year, we needed him to shoot a majority of the possessions.  He had a huge game against Long Beach State at the start of the season.  A 20, 30 high point game.  Lee is really comfortable at shooting shots where he feels really confident.  Shoots a high percentage.  He doesn't have to shoot the ball to feel like he has a real effect on winning.  So there are times when we need to encourage him to shoot more.  But, for the most part, we leave it up to Lee because he's got a great feel.  He's a great competitor.  He really makes his teammates better.
 So we'll kind of get an idea of what teams are doing.  There's no question that there will be some type of game plan to kind of control Lee.  It's been that way the last month and a half.  So once we get an idea of, you know, things that they're doing, we'll try and get other guys involved and then find ways that we can free Lee up a little bit more.

 Q.  After three straight conference regular season championships, all you've done at BYU, how important is actually taking the next step and winning an NCAA first round game to your program?
 COACH ROSE:  Well, it's obviously extremely important to our players and to our staff.  But every game that we prepare for is important for us to win.  And this is really important because it's the next opportunity we have to play.  There may be some added importance to the fact that you need to win these games so that you continue playing, so that your season doesn't end.
 But it's something that we, you know, really believe that our team's capable of doing.  And that's how we'll prepare.  That's what we expect.  We'll go from there.

 Q.  Do you feel like that little monkey you have on your back from recent tournament appearances, does that add any pressure to these guys?
 COACH ROSE:  I hope it's not adding any pressure because it is really an accomplishment to make the field and to have an invitation, to have a place and a spot, have a seed, be in the tournament.  And so that's a sense of accomplishment that I think needs to kind of make your team feel a little bit relaxed.
 I do know for some of the returning players there's a real will to win and they want to win this game.  But I would hope that there wouldn't be any added pressure as a result of that because it's quite an accomplishment.

 Q.  The last four tournament losses have been by five points or fewer.  You're right there.  How important is the notion with your guys that one play they make or don't make may be the difference in these tournament games?
 COACH ROSE:  I think that it's apparent that in all those games we could play a little bit better, and we had possessions during the game that we left empty that we could do a better job of.  You know, hopefully this group in this game will be able to put 40 minutes together where we make all those plays.
 I don't expect that we'll play a perfect game.  I don't think we need to play a perfect game.  But we do need to play at a really high efficient rate.  Rebounding is a huge key.  If you look at the games that we've struggled with in the year, especially in the second half, we've had issues rebounding the basketball.  So that's got to be a main priority with our team.  Hopefully we take advantage of our opportunities at the free throw line.  The last month and a half we've been a pretty good free throw shooting team.  Then executing our game plan where we get all five guys on every possession on the same page doing what we need to do to force them into tough plays.

 Q.  Does it concern you basically playing the first game of four, a few thousand miles away from home, where there's not any real home team?  Does that worry you, the lack the excitement?
 COACH ROSE:  It will be interesting to see what type of atmosphere is in the arena for our game.  But I think we've played in all different kind of environments.  So I believe that we'll be able to adjust to whatever that atmosphere is.
 I do believe that you'll have two teams out there competing really hard, but both teams have worked really hard to get here.
 Personally, I think, you know, at least for me, I like playing earlier games.  I like games being earlier in the day.  We'll just take advantage of that opportunity.

 Q.  Your decisions about playing time behind Chris Miles, in a game that could be physical like this, will it be a feel thing, according to fouls, matchups?  Will Noah or Gavin be available?  Will Anderson play also?  Do you have any kind of a game plan what you might do?
 COACH ROSE:  Gavin is available.  He practiced well the last week or so.  Hasn't played in a game for quite a while.  That will just be kind of a game time feel.
 I think that Noah and James are both players who continue to get better.  They've really helped us down the stretch here.  So they'll get an opportunity.  Then you just have to see how they take advantage of that opportunity.  If the matchups are good for them, if we can use them in a way that will help our team, we need to do that.  We need them both to play really well with the minutes they get.  The more help we can get off the bench, I think the better it will be for our team.
 THE MODERATOR:  Thank you, coach.
 COACH ROSE:  All right.  Thank you, guys.

TEXAS A&M QUOTES
 
THE MODERATOR:  We're joined by Texas A&M student athletes.  We'll open it up for questions, please.

 Q.  Josh, what are you expecting different this year from BYU?
 JOSH CARTER:  I mean, we've watched some film.  Pretty much, they run the same stuff.  They have great players in Cummard, Tavernari and Fredette.  Expect them to do a lot of stuff, but just do it better.  They were a good team last year.  Expect them to be the same.

 Q.  Do you expect them to guard you differently?  Are you coming into this game thinking they're going to focus on you?
 JOSH CARTER:  Yeah, I figure they'll stay closer with me.  Last year they were leaving me a little bit more.
 I don't expect them to do that.

 Q.  Josh, I haven't seen you play a lot the last couple of years.  Tell me the difference in your style between now and under your previous coach.
 JOSH CARTER:  Our previous coach, I guess we were full court, man to man, denial.  This year we're more solid, just try to keep our defensive front from making mistakes, not so much pressure, but just containment.
 This year, as far as offense, we move around a lot more.  With the other coach, was high low.  This year it's a lot of motion stuff.

 Q.  Donald, is there any advantage or disadvantage facing the same team one year later and in the same atmosphere?
 DONALD SLOAN:  Well, you know, I guess we get a year start on them because we played them the year before.  You know what type of players they have.  You know their abilities.
 Have they gotten better?  Yes, from what we've seen on film, other games we've seen them play all year.  It kind of gives you a head start knowing some of the players real well from last year.  Last year you had a couple slip ups because we didn't think this guy could do this, maybe this guy couldn't do this, ended up doing it.  You kind of get ahead a little bit.
 It's a good situation, I guess you could say.  No surprises.  No, we'll be ready.

 Q.  Donald, you went on quite a run there at the end of the year.  What was the difference later in the year versus the beginning of the season?
 DONALD SLOAN:  I think our intensity and focus went to a whole 'nother level.  You got guys around you that just don't give up; feeds on the other players, our bench, even our managers.  Everybody seems to be more in tune than our first five or six games.  Later on down the stretch, our execution was better.  Our poise was better; rebounding.  We just played at a more higher level than we did all year those last six games, so...

 Q.  What was your reaction when you saw you were playing the same team, the brackets were announced?  Does it matter you're playing the same team?  Were you surprised to see that come up?
 DERRICK ROLAND:  We were pretty surprised.  They called BYU first, then we saw our name pop up.  We were all like, Again (smiling)?
 Like you said, it's no surprises.  We know what to expect.  They're a good team.  We'll be ready.

 Q.  How different is it when you're playing a team in the league another times as opposed to this tournament?  What's the difference, other than the stakes?
 DERRICK ROLAND:  Later on in the year, teams get sharper.  I know they executing better than they did in the beginning of the year.  Maybe just got to be focused.
 I know at the end of the year teams key better.  That's all we got to focus on, is execution.

 Q.  What are you doing now that you weren't doing earlier?  What's the difference?
 DERRICK ROLAND:  I think we're just sharper.  We knew we had to win games to get in the tournament.  We just played like our backs were against the wall.  Just been playing better, sharper.
 DONALD SLOAN:  Just prove a lot of people wrong.  After we went on our losing game streak, where we wasn't playing well, just wasn't making plays, closing the end of the game.  The thought of pre season, people saying we were maybe second or third in, that started creeping in, gave us pretty much fuel, pretty much momentum for our game, those last six games.
 Kind of just picked it up, so...
 THE MODERATOR:  Thank you, gentlemen.
 We have Texas A&M Coach Turgeon.  We'll ask you to make an opening statement.
 COACH TURGEON:  We're happy to be here.  A month ago we didn't know if we were going to be a part of this tournament.  Obviously we finished strong and won a few games in a row, down the stretch.
 With that said, we're excited.  We've been playing really well.  We lost our last game, of course, but we've been playing well.  Looking forward to playing BYU again.  It's kind of strange, but it's made scouting just a little bit easier.  They got some new players obviously playing, and so do we.
 They're a heck of a team.  It was a great game last year, back and forth.  I think 10 or 11 lead changes.  We were lucky enough to win by five.  So it should be another great game this year.
 THE MODERATOR:  We'll go ahead with questions.

 Q.  What do you think was the key to that season ending binge that you went on that propelled you into the tournament?
 COACH TURGEON:  Well, right before we started to win, we were losing close games, but playing really well.  Our schedule was tough.  So I knew it was going to turn around.  We just kept talking about doing four things:  defensive  rebounding a little better, our defense got a little bit better, then we started to execute better and we played with poise down the stretch.  We won a lot of close games down the stretch.  Then we just had a lot of determination.  We were down 18 to Nebraska with, you know, 15 to go.  We were down 8 at Colorado with 6 to go.  We were up 8 with 2.  We had a big around.  A lot of determination.
 We became a dominant home team.  Texas down 19, 20.  We had Missouri down 26.  We had Iowa State down about 26.  We just became a very dominant home team down that stretch and played with more confidence.

 Q.  Talk about handling BYU.  They got a lot of guys that can score.  How do you handle all three of them?
 COACH TURGEON:  Well, there's three that can really score, then a bunch of 'em that can really shoot it.
 We did a nice job on them last year.  We held them to 62, if we can do that again, it will give us a chance.  They're scoring close to 78 a game.  You know, tough matchups for us at the 4 position.  Tavernari is a tough matchup for us, chasing him around, staying close.  To me it's all about transition defense and finding shooters in transition.  If you can slow that down a little bit, you have a chance.  If you don't do that, you have no chance against them.
 Taking care of the basketball, getting good shots on the offensive end so you can set your defense and have balance on defense will really help us.
 It's a tough matchup.  They're hard to guard.  Those three scorers will make tough shots, closely guarded shots.  You just have to accept that, go the other way, do the best you can.
 It's a challenge for us.  We're worked hard the last couple days preparing for them and what they do.  We have to do a good job or it will be a short tournament for us.

 Q.  This team has won three straight games in the first round.  What are the challenges of getting a team ready to play?
 COACH TURGEON:  Well, you know, the one year I can talk about we played well.  We really played well to beat BYU last year.  We have some experience.  We didn't have it the first year, but now we've got experience.  We've got guys that have played two, some guys three NCAA tournaments now.  I think that experience helps.
 We just go in, prepare like it's any other game.  You come to a press conference.  A few more people there.  That's the only thing that's really different, you know.  But once you throw it up, it's just another game.  I think we've done a nice job of just preparing like it's another game.
 What we try to do is we try to seize the moment.  It's a great time in their life.  I tell them all the time, "This is the best time of your life."  College is the best time of your life.  You've got to enjoy this time.
 We've really talked about enjoying this time, being together, having fun.  It was nice to get to Philly last night, get here, just get away from College Station, start soaking all this in, try and have a great time.

 Q.  Coach, last two games you played there were 97 fouls called.  Last year in the tournament against BYU, only 15 fouls apiece.  Do you have a feel for how tournament games are called, especially getting to the free throw line?
 COACH TURGEON:  Yeah, I thought last year, going back over the film, it was a pretty physical game.  Especially on the post, when our guys caught it on the post, they were allowed to put a couple hands on our back.
 We'll see.  Normally, early in the tournament, they try to call a little bit tighter.  But didn't seem that way last year.  We don't care either way.  We don't care either way.  We've done a good job of getting to the foul line.  Hopefully, we continue to do that.  It's part of our offense, things we do within our offense.  We know that's an important part to beat BYU.  That's probably why you asked that question.
 We'll see.  We'll adjust.  BYU will adjust, however they're calling it.  I don't think either team is as deep as we were last year, especially inside.  We were much deeper.  I think BYU was much deeper inside.  Calling it loose might help both of us keep our better players in the game.

 Q.  You're playing the first game of a quadruple header a couple thousand miles from both locations.  There's not going to be a lot of energy in the building.  How do you deal with that?
 COACH TURGEON:  Well, hopefully there will be.  Maybe not at the start.  But hopefully Philly fans will show up.  They love their sports.  Knowing Philly fans, they're going to choose a side at some point.
 But, no, we're not concerned about that.  We played some games late in the year, quite honestly, at Colorado, even our Big 12 tournament game, everybody left at halftime.  It was a late game.  Obviously we didn't play great in the second half.  But we'll be okay with that.
 Actually last year, the start of our game, when we went out to warm up by BYU, they cleared the building, there was no one in the building.  It was kind of a weird thing.  But we won't talk a lot about that.  We've seen all different types of crowds.  I think by the end of the game or halftime, there will be some energy in the building, which will help down the stretch.

 Q.  You talked a little bit about it earlier, about the rematch of the first round.  How unusual is it and have you ever been through anything like this?
 COACH TURGEON:  Well, I don't know.  You have to ask the NCAA.  I haven't been through it.  I know there's some repeat games because teams win games and they play each other back to back seasons, or every other.  Especially the mainstay guys that come every year.
 It's unusual.  I was shocked.  I think we all were.  Our name came up first.  I said, "We're not playing that game."  Then our name popped up.
 After the initial shock, you're just so happy to be in it.  Philadelphia is a great city.  I spent a year here.  I'm really excited about being back, being in this building.  Just a little bit easier to scout.  It's easier for both of us.

 Q.  Your year here under Larry Brown, what was that like, memories of Philadelphia?
 COACH TURGEON:  Well, my wife wanted to divorce me when we left because we left Philadelphia for Jacksonville, Alabama.  Thought I was crazy.
 No, the year here, it was a great year for me because I was with Coach Brown as a player, but it was a player/coach relationship.  Then I was able to have a personal relationship with him, which meant a lot to me, which we still have today.  Then to get back and doing what I really believed in, being around a guy that I believed in what he was doing, it just gave me energy to continue coaching and try to be successful.
 Our relationship is strong today because of it.  But it was a great experience.  To me the NBA is the best coaches in the world.  I learned a lot in a short time.  I was only here seven months.  I actually left before the season ended.  Wasn't very important to the staff, so I could get out on the job.
 But it was just a great experience.  We loved Philadelphia.  My wife and I loved it here.  Just was great being back with Coach Brown.
 THE MODERATOR:  Thank you, coach.
 COACH TURGEON:  Thank you.
 
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TEXAS A&M QUOTES

THE MODERATOR: We're joined by Texas A&M student athletes. We'll open
it up for questions, please.

 Q. Josh, what are you expecting different this year from BYU?

 JOSH CARTER: I mean, we've watched some film. Pretty much, they run
the same stuff. They have great players in Cummard, Tavernari and
Fredette. Expect them to do a lot of stuff, but just do it better.
They were a good team last year. Expect them to be the same.

 Q. Do you expect them to guard you differently? Are you coming into
this game thinking they're going to focus on you?

 JOSH CARTER: Yeah, I figure they'll stay closer with me. Last year
they were leaving me a little bit more.

 I don't expect them to do that.

 Q. Josh, I haven't seen you play a lot the last couple of years.
Tell me the difference in your style between now and under your
previous coach.

 JOSH CARTER: Our previous coach, I guess we were full court, man to
man, denial. This year we're more solid, just try to keep our
defensive front from making mistakes, not so much pressure, but just
containment.

 This year, as far as offense, we move around a lot more. With the
other coach, was high low. This year it's a lot of motion stuff.

 Q. Donald, is there any advantage or disadvantage facing the same
team one year later and in the same atmosphere?

 DONALD SLOAN: Well, you know, I guess we get a year start on them
because we played them the year before. You know what type of players
they have. You know their abilities.

 Have they gotten better? Yes, from what we've seen on film, other
games we've seen them play all year. It kind of gives you a head start
knowing some of the players real well from last year. Last year you
had a couple slip ups because we didn't think this guy could do this,
maybe this guy couldn't do this, ended up doing it. You kind of get
ahead a little bit.

 It's a good situation, I guess you could say. No surprises. No,
we'll be ready.

 Q. Donald, you went on quite a run there at the end of the year.
What was the difference later in the year versus the beginning of the
season?

 DONALD SLOAN: I think our intensity and focus went to a whole
'nother level. You got guys around you that just don't give up; feeds
on the other players, our bench, even our managers. Everybody seems to
be more in tune than our first five or six games. Later on down the
stretch, our execution was better. Our poise was better; rebounding.
We just played at a more higher level than we did all year those last
six games, so...

 Q. What was your reaction when you saw you were playing the same
team, the brackets were announced? Does it matter you're playing the
same team? Were you surprised to see that come up?

 DERRICK ROLAND: We were pretty surprised. They called BYU first,
then we saw our name pop up. We were all like, Again (smiling)?

 Like you said, it's no surprises. We know what to expect. They're a
good team. We'll be ready.

 Q. How different is it when you're playing a team in the league
another times as opposed to this tournament? What's the difference,
other than the stakes?

 DERRICK ROLAND: Later on in the year, teams get sharper. I know they
executing better than they did in the beginning of the year. Maybe
just got to be focused.

 I know at the end of the year teams key better. That's all we got to
focus on, is execution.

 Q. What are you doing now that you weren't doing earlier? What's the
difference?

 DERRICK ROLAND: I think we're just sharper. We knew we had to win
games to get in the tournament. We just played like our backs were
against the wall. Just been playing better, sharper.

 DONALD SLOAN: Just prove a lot of people wrong. After we went on our
losing game streak, where we wasn't playing well, just wasn't making
plays, closing the end of the game. The thought of pre season, people
saying we were maybe second or third in, that started creeping in,
gave us pretty much fuel, pretty much momentum for our game, those
last six games.

 Kind of just picked it up, so...

 THE MODERATOR: Thank you, gentlemen.

 We have Texas A&M Coach Turgeon. We'll ask you to make an opening
statement.

 COACH TURGEON: We're happy to be here. A month ago we didn't know if
we were going to be a part of this tournament. Obviously we finished
strong and won a few games in a row, down the stretch.

 With that said, we're excited. We've been playing really well. We
lost our last game, of course, but we've been playing well. Looking
forward to playing BYU again. It's kind of strange, but it's made
scouting just a little bit easier. They got some new players obviously
playing, and so do we.

 They're a heck of a team. It was a great game last year, back and
forth. I think 10 or 11 lead changes. We were lucky enough to win by
five. So it should be another great game this year.

 THE MODERATOR: We'll go ahead with questions.

 Q. What do you think was the key to that season ending binge that
you went on that propelled you into the tournament?

 COACH TURGEON: Well, right before we started to win, we were losing
close games, but playing really well. Our schedule was tough. So I
knew it was going to turn around. We just kept talking about doing
four things: defensive rebounding a little better, our defense got a
little bit better, then we started to execute better and we played
with poise down the stretch. We won a lot of close games down the
stretch. Then we just had a lot of determination. We were down 18 to
Nebraska with, you know, 15 to go. We were down 8 at Colorado with 6
to go. We were up 8 with 2. We had a big around. A lot of
determination.

 We became a dominant home team. Texas down 19, 20. We had Missouri
down 26. We had Iowa State down about 26. We just became a very
dominant home team down that stretch and played with more confidence.

 Q. Talk about handling BYU. They got a lot of guys that can score.
How do you handle all three of them?

 COACH TURGEON: Well, there's three that can really score, then a
bunch of 'em that can really shoot it.

 We did a nice job on them last year. We held them to 62, if we can
do that again, it will give us a chance. They're scoring close to 78 a
game. You know, tough matchups for us at the 4 position. Tavernari is
a tough matchup for us, chasing him around, staying close. To me it's
all about transition defense and finding shooters in transition. If
you can slow that down a little bit, you have a chance. If you don't
do that, you have no chance against them.

 Taking care of the basketball, getting good shots on the offensive
end so you can set your defense and have balance on defense will
really help us.

 It's a tough matchup. They're hard to guard. Those three scorers
will make tough shots, closely guarded shots. You just have to accept
that, go the other way, do the best you can.

 It's a challenge for us. We're worked hard the last couple days
preparing for them and what they do. We have to do a good job or it
will be a short tournament for us.

 Q. This team has won three straight games in the first round. What
are the challenges of getting a team ready to play?

 COACH TURGEON: Well, you know, the one year I can talk about we
played well. We really played well to beat BYU last year. We have some
experience. We didn't have it the first year, but now we've got
experience. We've got guys that have played two, some guys three NCAA
tournaments now. I think that experience helps.

 We just go in, prepare like it's any other game. You come to a press
conference. A few more people there. That's the only thing that's
really different, you know. But once you throw it up, it's just
another game. I think we've done a nice job of just preparing like
it's another game.

 What we try to do is we try to seize the moment. It's a great time
in their life. I tell them all the time, "This is the best time of
your life." College is the best time of your life. You've got to enjoy
this time.

 We've really talked about enjoying this time, being together, having
fun. It was nice to get to Philly last night, get here, just get away
from College Station, start soaking all this in, try and have a great
time.

 Q. Coach, last two games you played there were 97 fouls called. Last
year in the tournament against BYU, only 15 fouls apiece. Do you have
a feel for how tournament games are called, especially getting to the
free throw line?

 COACH TURGEON: Yeah, I thought last year, going back over the film,
it was a pretty physical game. Especially on the post, when our guys
caught it on the post, they were allowed to put a couple hands on our
back.

 We'll see. Normally, early in the tournament, they try to call a
little bit tighter. But didn't seem that way last year. We don't care
either way. We don't care either way. We've done a good job of getting
to the foul line. Hopefully, we continue to do that. It's part of our
offense, things we do within our offense. We know that's an important
part to beat BYU. That's probably why you asked that question.

 We'll see. We'll adjust. BYU will adjust, however they're calling
it. I don't think either team is as deep as we were last year,
especially inside. We were much deeper. I think BYU was much deeper
inside. Calling it loose might help both of us keep our better players
in the game.

 Q. You're playing the first game of a quadruple header a couple
thousand miles from both locations. There's not going to be a lot of
energy in the building. How do you deal with that?

 COACH TURGEON: Well, hopefully there will be. Maybe not at the
start. But hopefully Philly fans will show up. They love their sports.
Knowing Philly fans, they're going to choose a side at some point.

 But, no, we're not concerned about that. We played some games late
in the year, quite honestly, at Colorado, even our Big 12 tournament
game, everybody left at halftime. It was a late game. Obviously we
didn't play great in the second half. But we'll be okay with that.

 Actually last year, the start of our game, when we went out to warm
up by BYU, they cleared the building, there was no one in the
building. It was kind of a weird thing. But we won't talk a lot about
that. We've seen all different types of crowds. I think by the end of
the game or halftime, there will be some energy in the building, which
will help down the stretch.

 Q. You talked a little bit about it earlier, about the rematch of
the first round. How unusual is it and have you ever been through
anything like this?

 COACH TURGEON: Well, I don't know. You have to ask the NCAA. I
haven't been through it. I know there's some repeat games because
teams win games and they play each other back to back seasons, or
every other. Especially the mainstay guys that come every year.

 It's unusual. I was shocked. I think we all were. Our name came up
first. I said, "We're not playing that game." Then our name popped up.


 After the initial shock, you're just so happy to be in it.
Philadelphia is a great city. I spent a year here. I'm really excited
about being back, being in this building. Just a little bit easier to
scout. It's easier for both of us.

 Q. Your year here under Larry Brown, what was that like, memories of
Philadelphia?

 COACH TURGEON: Well, my wife wanted to divorce me when we left
because we left Philadelphia for Jacksonville, Alabama. Thought I was
crazy.

 No, the year here, it was a great year for me because I was with
Coach Brown as a player, but it was a player/coach relationship. Then
I was able to have a personal relationship with him, which meant a lot
to me, which we still have today. Then to get back and doing what I
really believed in, being around a guy that I believed in what he was
doing, it just gave me energy to continue coaching and try to be
successful.

 Our relationship is strong today because of it. But it was a great
experience. To me the NBA is the best coaches in the world. I learned
a lot in a short time. I was only here seven months. I actually left
before the season ended. Wasn't very important to the staff, so I
could get out on the job.

 But it was just a great experience. We loved Philadelphia. My wife
and I loved it here. Just was great being back with Coach Brown.

 THE MODERATOR: Thank you, coach.

 COACH TURGEON: Thank you.