March 14, 2009
Pitt vs. West Virginia, Big East Tournament Quarterfinal, March 12, 2009
COACH Jamie Dixon: Obviously, congratulations to West Virginia. I think they really deserved the win. I think we were outplayed. We really talked about rebounding and they really -- they obviously beat us on the glass and it's something that we do well and if we don't, it's something that will catch up to us.
I thought we battled through some things in the first half, put ourselves in a position. In the second half, we just didn't execute. I think we were -- we weren't coached well, we weren't prepared well again for some things and we just got outplayed in every area. So, you know, it's just one of those games. We've got to do a better job and again, this is a very good team. They've only lost to good people. We had beaten them twice this year but both were tough games and they really did outplay us in every aspect today so, you know, we understand that we got what we deserved and the responsibility falls on ourselves.
Q. Coach, last year you guys win four games in four days to take the championship. Here a little bit more of a layoff for the teams playing today. Could you feel that had any impact on it at all?
COACH Jamie Dixon: I don't think so. I mean that's last year and this is this year, different players, different teams. Obviously the fouls early, foul trouble. We had to do some things differently, play some different guys and in different spots. We got into the second half we're down two and need to execute and I just don't think that we did and had good preparation.
Thought we practiced Monday and Tuesday. Even Wednesday. But it just -- we didn't come out. I didn't think we moved the ball well enough, the 1-3-1 bothered us in the second half. We didn't attack it as well as we have attacked it in the past and against other teams and it was really again, responsibility falls on us. Nothing about a layoff. It was really us and our execution.
Q. For either of the players, this is obviously a disappointment. Can you use it as motivation, do you think heading into the NCAA? How are you feeling right now and going into that tournament?
DeJuan Blair: Of course you feel down right now. The next couple hours, days, you're going to feel down watching the Big East and, you know, watching everybody but this is motivation. It's hard to bet a team three times and, you know, like Coach said we weren't prepared and the foul trouble.
We didn't grind it out like we usually do and, you know, like you said, we just got to blame ourselves, you know. We beat ourselves. We didn't shoot that well and we got outrebounded and we're going to keep this as motivation, you know. I hate to feel like this -- I felt like there at Providence and we bounced back so we're a good bounce-back team. Hopefully we come back in the NCAA tournament no matter where they put us and just play. We can't worry about where they put us or worry about nothing else. Just got to worry about us.
Q. Coach, can you talk a little bit about what you were missing when Tyrell (Biggs) wasn't able to start the second half?
COACH Jamie Dixon: I wonder if that was the right thing to do at this time now as I look back at it. I think I got us out of our rotation and had the three fouls, obviously. We tried to get through the first half without him getting the third one. We had to play, take some chances and some things. We had a number of guys in foul trouble early and it really changed our rotation a bit. I thought we kind of got back into it second half and were able to.
It put us in a position to play our game in the second half but it just didn't happen. Probably in retrospect, probably either not put him in the first half to get the third foul or should have started him in the second half.
Q. Jamie, you said that you guys kind of didn't come out, didn't play very well it sounds like a silly question but at this point in the season does that surprise you after --
COACH Jamie Dixon: It's hard to play well every game. It's easy to say and a little harder to do and, you know, it's not for lack of desire or effort. I mean we just didn't -- we got in some foul trouble. We changed our rotation around and then the second half we didn't execute against the 1-3-1. We didn't rebound well enough. I think -- I didn't think we were patient. They were more patient with the ball than we were. I real thought we were on defense for most of the game and that's something that we talked about going in and I think they wanted to do that and were able to do that.
So, they showed more patience offensively than we did on both the offensive and defensive end.
Q. For DeJuan and Jamie. DeJuan you talked where you get put in the NCAA tournament. Do you think this affects the one seed possibility at all? Does it even matter or do you even care about that?
DeJuan Blair: Yeah -- I don't know. The selection committee is who they are and I don't know that we're really high on the list. We're there because we were winning games and it really doesn’t matter, you know, it really doesn’t matter where they put us. We’re just going to have to grind it out. I know this is hard to say but I'd rather lose in the Big East and win the NCAA instead of winning the Big East and lose in the NCAA. I think this is a little setback for us but we can't take no steps back. We got to take steps forward, you know, just let the Big East ride out. Whoever wins, congratulations to them and we we're just going to have to play no matter what.
Our team has got some great players and we got to keep working hard, and like I said, still the sky is the limit for this team. We had a little of a little letdown but everything is going to be all right for us. We just keep playing and Coach keeps motivating us and we can't worry about nobody else and where they put us or our head won't be on the game. It's going to be where they put us, should have been there, should have been that. We'll be all right.
COACH Jamie Dixon: Obviously I think this is disappointing, this loss hurts. It's not what we wanted but obviously to go over what you've done in your previous 31 games and I know we came in with the number one RPI and, you know, wherever they put us we've got to play better than what we did today. That's what we understand. Everybody -- 64, 65 teams wondering where they're going to be this weekend, you know. It's whoever -- everybody has the same opportunity and we'll have an opportunity that a lot ever people wish they had. We'll be in a good spot and I think the 31 games obviously, you know, everybody has got a number of losses. There's only a few -- only as few as we have.
Q. DeJuan, going into halftime you got ten guys out there, the bench was pretty empty, down by two; did you really think you guys were in pretty good position to come back in the second half and win the game?
DeJuan Blair: Of course. Going down by two. The dagger was -- that shot they made at the buzzer, I think that was motivation for them and a little dagger in the chest for us but I think we just let it slip a slip away from us, man. I don't know what was wrong with us. We couldn't hit shots and, you know, they put that 1-3-1 on us and it was tough to guard with all the foul trouble we had, so, yeah, I thought we was coming back but, you know, obviously we didn't and, you know, we got what we deserved.
Q. DeJuan, this is for you: We did see in the first half, you were a little bit limited, little bit of foul trouble. What did you see that West Virginia was really able to do to sort of stop you in the second half. What did this specifically do that stopped you during the game?
DeJuan Blair: I guess the 1-3-1 and Biggs, they were trying to come down on me, you know, a lot and we wasn't making shots, so you stop me and then it was some tough shots we were shooting. We weren't shooting no great shots. That's all they did. The 1-3-1 kind of killed us a little bit. We got to just be more prepared for 1-3-1 defense and obviously play better defense and we gave them motivation and they were kind of hyped up on defense, you know, rebounding and all that.
They deserve to win. We played terrible and they played good. So, give them all the credit.
Q. Is there any way, you know, you guys have grinded it out into the finals the past few years, using it as a rest could be beneficial rather than playing a couple more games?
COACH Jamie Dixon: I don't think it feels like it right now, obviously. We're disappointed to lose and I know our guys would rather be playing. We're going to have to figure out what our schedule is and look at it. We were hoping to stay and play like everybody else in the tournament. This is surely a disappointment and not what we wanted.