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Road to Final Four explained
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Forsyth County News


Another weekend of college basketball! Another weekend of coachspeak!

Wonder how we wound up with a Final Four comprised of Kentucky, Louisville, Ohio State and Kansas? Wonder no more! Just let the participating coaches explain. Of course, this might require some reading between the lines.

All quotes emanate from the NCAA mandated postgame press conferences, as transcribed at

Thad Matta, Ohio State: “I keep saying I’m not going to beat a dead horse here, but we’ve got one senior, one junior, and the rest are freshmen and sophomores. We talk about maturity with these guys, and I think we’ve grown in that area. But we need a little bit of a wake-up call there.”

Translation: Kids. Like they listened to anything we said at halftime, up by 12. When we got outscored 19-4 to start the second half, then we had their attention.

Mick Cronin, Cincinnati: “Too many turnovers. We gave ourselves no chance to win. They’re hard enough to guard, but with 18 turnovers, we just gave ourselves no chance.”

Translation: Each turnover is worth four points: the two we didn’t score, and the two they score. So we gave ‘em 72 points. No chance.

Jim Boeheim, Syracuse: “This is one of the best games I’ve been involved with in a long time. I think the best game anybody has ever played against us and didn’t beat us. They made 14 threes, and usually that’s enough.”

Translation: We shot 55 percent, and made 55 percent of our threes. Offensively, we played very, very well, and we had to play very, very, well.

Bo Ryan, Wisconsin: “We can play with anybody in the country, and they proved that again. I thought we played great defense.”

Translation: Offensively, Syracuse played very, very well, and they had to play very, very well.

Tom Izzo, Michigan State: “I think we ran out of gas a little bit emotionally, mentally and physically. And Louisville had the gas and deserved to win.”

Translation: We turned it over four times in the last three minutes. Of course, we didn’t have much gas in the first half, either. Imagine, 18 points at halftime!

Rick Pitino, Lousiville: “You know what our press does a lot of times? It wears people out. We didn’t really want to trap them. We wanted to run and jump to get to their legs.”

Translation: I think they ran out of gas a little bit.

Buzz Williams, Marquette: “I thought they were great. Any time you get beat, I think it’s a bailout when you just say you didn’t make shots. I always want to give credit to the opponent and their staff. The easiest thing to say is, well, we just missed shots that we typically make.”

Translation: We shot 30 percent. We just missed shots that we typically make.

Chris Mack, Xavier: “Coming into the game, we had talked about not falling behind early, which plagued us against Notre Dame and Lehigh coming into the Baylor game. It’s easier said than done.”

Translation: So what happens? I look up, and we’re down, 22-4. Kids. They just don’t listen.

Scott Drew, Baylor: “Any time you can get a lead, you’re going to take it, as a coach. At the same time, we knew, in their first two games, they were down 15 against Lehigh, 14 against Notre Dame, and both times they came back. So we kept telling our guys it’s not over.”

Translation: So what happens? I look up, and our lead’s down to 33-29. Kids ...

Tom Crean, Indiana: “I’m looking at the stat sheet, trying to figure it out. The biggest difference is just the fouling.”

Translation: We did a lot of good things. They shot 20 more free throws than we did. That’s the game.

John Calipari, Kentucky: “That was a fast game. I love coaching those kinds of games. I can’t stand a game in the 50s.”

Translation: Minimal coaching required when you nail 35 of 37 free throws.

Bill Self, Kansas: “It wasn’t the prettiest game I’ve seen.”

Translation: We shot 37 percent, they shot 28 percent. This game was downright ugly.

Mark Gottfried, NC State: “You got to give Kansas a lot of credit. I thought their defense was very good.”

Translation: We just missed shots that we typically make.

John Groce, Ohio: “They took advantage of some of their chances a little bit more.”

Translation: We were allowed to shoot eight free throws. They shot 24. Made 14. Their advantage. Their game.

Roy Williams, North Carolina: “My head was killing me. I got a little dizzy out there a couple times, but I said, if I’m going to die, let’s at least die with a win.”

Translation: Saved by so many generous foul calls!

Thad Matta, Ohio State: “I thought, a high level college basketball game.”

Translation: A great game indeed. If you enjoy free throws. 67 in all!

Jim Boeheim, Syracuse: “Did the whistles hurt the flow of the game? No comment.”

Translation: They shot 42 foul shots. Kentucky doesn’t even shoot that many.

Rick Pitino, Lousiville: “Í went against the four best coaches I think I’ve coached against in my 35 years: Bob McKillop, Steve Alford, Tom Izzo and Billy Donovan. I have never gone against four teams as well coached in my life span of coaching as those four teams.”

Translation: I must be a pretty fair coach myself.

Billy Donovan, Florida: “The difference in the game is our 14 turnovers to their six.”

Translation: You see, each turnover costs you four points ...

Bill Self, Kansas: “I love coaching these guys!”

Translation: This sure beats losing to Bucknell!

Scott Drew, Baylor: “We haven’t played a better team than them all year.”

Translation: Call off the Final Four. Give Kentucky the championship right now!