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Coachspeak: The Final Four Edition
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Forsyth County News
How in the world did we wind up with a Final Four of Duke, West Virginia, Michigan State and Butler?

Who better to explain than the men who know more about it than anyone else: the coaches. Thanks to the Official NCAA Post Game Press Conference, we have their explanations. Welcome to Coachspeak, Part Two: What they said, and what they meant, on the way to Indianapolis:

Brad Stevens, Butler: “You always want to play well, and we played really well in the first half, had that 10-point lead. We’re just trying to play well. The better the team is, the harder that is. I do think this: there are no better seeds. There are higher seeds. Right now, it’s just about who plays good on a given night.”
Translation: We fear no one. We jumped on a number one seed from the Big East and led, 12-1, before you could say “Mid-Major.” Or “Cinderella.”

Jim Boeheim, Syracuse: “I thought Butler played extremely well in the first half. They didn’t make turnovers. We made 18 turnovers. You can’t give away that many possessions.”
Translation: Again, we do this. We commit 18 turnovers, we’re not even a number one seed in the Patriot League Tournament. This is exactly how we lost to Vermont. And Richmond.

Bob Huggins, West Virginia: “I grew up in Midvale. I got in a pick-up truck with a guy who didn’t have a rearview mirror. We’re going to play, and I said to him, man, you don’t have a rearview mirror in this truck. He said, boy, we ain’t goin’ backwards. That’s kind of how I live my life.”
Translation: Who do we have next? Kentucky? They’d better be ready!

Chris Mack, Xavier: “As good a game as I’ve ever coached or been a part of.”
Translation: Are you kidding me? Double overtime, three free throws to tie it in regulation, a bomb to tie it in the first overtime, all in the last five seconds. And then we lose. Just wait and see how much Kansas State has left in its tank on Saturday.

Frank Martin, Kansas State: “I expected it to be a hard-fought game. I didn’t expect it to be like this. Boy, they are phenomenal. And our guys were pretty good, too.”
Translation: Are you kidding me? Double overtime, three free throws to tie it in regulation, a bomb to tie it in the first overtime, both in the last five seconds. And then we win. Just wait and see how much we have left in the tank on Saturday.

John Calipari, Kentucky: “I thought, in the second half, we kind of backed up and tried to just get out of the gym. You can’t play that way in the NCAA Tournament.”
Translation: We led, 32-16 at the half, and they couldn’t hit a trey if we tripled the rim size. How was I supposed to keep my guys focused?

Steve Donohue, Cornell: “They got us like no one’s gotten us in a long time. It hurts, but there’s a lot of other things to worry about in life than losing a basketball game to the number one team in the country.”
Translation: Hey, we’re still Ivy League. Sports are de-emphasized, you know.

Bruce Pearl, Tennessee: “I thought fatigue was a factor in the second half.”
Translation: We played 10 kids, they played seven, and three went all 40 minutes. You do the math.

Thad Matta, Ohio State: “It’s going to take some time to understand exactly what this team accomplished throughout the course of the season. And I couldn’t be more prouder of what they did.”
Translation: My grammar is as lousy as my math.

Scott Drew, Baylor: “First of all, players really came out and played in front of such a large crowd in the dome, and a different environment.”
Translation: Someone said I look like Jim Nance. Do you think so? Really?

Randy Bennett, St. Mary’s: “I’ll state the obvious. Baylor’s a good team.”
Translation: What can I say? We were down 29 at the half.

Tom Izzo, Michigan State: “I thought the big keys to the game, in the second half, we were getting outrebounded at halftime. We did a better job rebounding the ball. We were not getting the ball inside. We did a better job getting the ball inside.”
Translation: Can I coach, or what?

Mike Krzyzewski, Duke: “My hat goes off to the Purdue Boilermakers. Boy, they play so hard. I mean, really hard. For the first 17 minutes of the game, even though we were playing hard, they were playing harder than we were. But then, the rest of the game, we either played as hard as or harder than they did.”
Translation: It was a hard-fought win.

Matt Painter, Purdue: “We knew it was going to be hard on the glass against Duke’s team.”
Translation: We shot 37 percent (20 of 54), made 4-of-15 threes (27 percent), and missed 8-of-21 free throws. We did all we could to fuel Duke’s rebounding advantage.

Brad Stevens, Butler: “If you don’t believe it, you can’t achieve it.”
Translation: We’re going to the Final Four. Believe it!

Bob Huggins, West Virginia: “I talked to them about trying to be special. If we can somehow find a way to win a couple more, that will be really special.”
Translation: Nothing special about beating Calipari. I’m, like, 8-1 against him.

John Calaipari, Kentucky: “Hats off to West Virginia. They made shots. The 1-3-1 bothered us. And they were getting layups. Especially Mazzulla. He just, I mean, he got some layups that were, man, backbreaking.”
Translation: My bad. I was outcoached. I’m, like, 1-8 against Huggins.

Tom Izzo, Michigan State: “I’m just going to say, I’m proud to represent Michigan State, and I’m proud to represent the Big Ten, that sometimes gets maligned but always seems to have teams in the Final Four.”
Translation: Six times, it’s been my team in the Final Four. Can I coach, or what?

Bruce Pearl, Tennessee: “There’s nothing I could say that’s going to make anybody from Tennessee feel any better.”
Translation: Hey, don’t forget: Lane Kiffin’s gone.

Mike Krzyzewski, Duke: “We won an outstanding basketball game. Both teams played really well, and really hard.
Translation: It was another hard-fought win.