March Madness: Best tournament quotes heading into the Elite Eight
What they were saying Friday at the NCAA Tournament.
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JOIN THE TEAM.
"I saw us showing us up as the 16th-rated team of the 16 teams left. But I thought we were the toughest team, the No. 1 team in toughness. And I think it's played itself out again in a third game.
"We have a great belief. We have a heck of a group. And maybe there's some destiny involved in this thing."
Indiana coach Tom Crean on North Carolina, after losing to the Tar Heels:
"If they play like that, even remotely close to that, then they're going to be very, very hard to beat."
Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim, on how public opinions of teams change as the tournament goes on:
"I thought Dayton was pretty darned good until we beat them, and then all of a sudden they weren't any good. And then I thought Middle Tennessee was pretty good until we beat them, and then they weren't any good. So I guess now Gonzaga probably won't be any good tomorrow morning."
Brey, about hurting his calf muscle when he jumped up on a play:
"I told the guys I'm the first one taped on Sunday."
With the ACC doing so well in the tournament, Roy Williams on if he sells the ACC to prospects during recruiting:
"I'm an old-timer that grew up on ACC basketball. But I promote the University of North Carolina. That's my school. That's the school that I've loved since the fall of 1968. And it never will change."
Virginia coach Tony Bennett, on his team’s offensive philosophy of sharing the basketball. The Cavaliers had 26 assists on 32 baskets against Iowa State:
"It’s that idea of one of our pillars is unity, and there's an African proverb that says, if you want to go fast, go alone, if you want to go far, go together. We have some very individually talented guys, but they know when they're in concert with each other, that's their way to touch greatness, and it's validated because they've done it."
Wisconsin coach Greg Gard, on the Badgers committing 17 turnovers, including three in the final 16 seconds, in the loss to Notre Dame.
"Obviously this is going to sting for a long time. I don't know if there's a program in the country that prides itself more on taking care of the ball and valuing every possession more than Wisconsin. I don't know if there's anybody that works on it more than we do."
Wisconsin’s Nigel Hayes, on the quick swing of the game, when the Badgers went from leading by three to losing by five in the last half minute:
"It's kind of the nature of this whole tournament. You've seen it a lot. They've made a big deal about showing the roller coaster of emotions we can have. . . . That's the price you pay when you play competitive sports."
Iowa State’s Georges Niang, on if it was surprising to see 18 points from Virginia’s reserve Mike Tobey, who came in with a 6.9 average:
"I wouldn't say it's surprising. Virginia offered him a scholarship, so they obviously thought he was pretty good."
Kansas coach Bill Self, about recruiting star Perry Ellis:
"He was an easy guy to recruit because he wasn't seeking attention. Just like he is now, he's not seeking attention. So he was a fun guy to recruit because it wasn't like you had to talk to him every day, to be honest with you, in order to let him know that you love him a lot, which you have to do with a lot of recruits."
Self, on being in the stands for Ellis’ first game of his high school career, since he was so touted as an eighth grader.
"It’s amazing to me what's important to families. That was really important to their family, that I was there the first game, and it was luck because we weren't playing that night. If we'd been playing that night, I wouldn't have been there."
Villanova’s Ryan Arcidiacono on the South regional final matchup with Kansas:
"We know it's going to be an ugly game, and we'll try to make it that way."
Villanova coach Jay Wright on Villanova’s loss to Seton Hall in the Big East tournament:
"After the Seton Hall game, we went home and we (said) let's look at the first five, six minutes of this game. Let's just look at us, look at our stances, look at our eyes, look at our aggressiveness. I showed them maybe three or four clips, and I said, `Do I have to show you any more?’ They all just said nope. I said, `That can't happen to us again. If it happens again, we're going home."
Wright, on setting up a last-second shot for Arcidiacono against Kansas in November of 2013. Arcidiacono was 0-for-5 at the time in the game, but hit a 3-pointer to key a 63-59 Wildcat victory.
"It was early in the season and I was thinking, who are we going to run this play for? I really thought. Arch hasn't made a shot, but if Arch misses this shot for game and we lose this game to Kansas, it will not affect Arch at all. Some of these other young guys, if they miss it, it could crush them for the season."
Virginia's Bennett on his father Dick - a long-time coach who once led Wisconsin to the Final Four -- showing up game day Friday:
"We spent about 15 minutes in my hotel room before we had our pregame meal, and he said Thursday was 20 years to the day that his father passed away, and I just sat and I thought, `What would (my) grandfather, tell you going into this game?' He was an Italian, a steel worker, not real well educated. (Dick) said, `You know what your grandfather would tell you? He'd tell you, don't tiptoe into this one, no tiptoeing.’ And I shared that with our guys, and that meant a lot, because you have to go into these games, you can't tiptoe. You've got to go get it in our way.
"It was a sweet time with my father for about 15 minutes, and he came to the game, and I don't know if he behaved himself or not, I didn't hear . . . I just cherish that time, and I'll have that always.’’
Oregon coach Dana Altman on his close relationship with Oklahoma coach Lon Kruger, for whom he once worked at Kansas State.
"He's been a great friend and mentor for 30 years, and we've never played each other for a reason: We didn't want to play. When the pairings came out a couple weeks ago, I talked to Coach and we just said at that time if we're fortunate enough to get to this point, at least one of us is going to get the opportunity to go to the Final Four. If we are fortunate to win, I'm sure he'll be happy for us, and if we lose, I know I'll be happy for him."
Lon Kruger on having four Oklahoma players who have started 103 consecutive games together the past three seasons.
"I would think it's probably never happened before. Probably count on one hand the number of practices -- maybe two hands -- the number that all four have missed in the three years."