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Ashway: More Tournament Coachspeak
Denton Ashway

Now here’s a Final Four worth anticipating with great eagerness.

A 1 seed [Kansas], a pair of 2s [Duke and Villanova] and an 8 seed [North Carolina] playing as well as anyone. A set that includes three of the four winningest programs in college basketball history.

A first-ever Tournament matchup between the two fiercest rivals in their sport.

And a last call for the greatest coach in the game’s history.

Here’s how it happened: what the coaches said, translated to what they wanted to say. All quotes taken from the official NCAA post-game press conferences, as transcribed by

Mark Few, Gonzaga: All the credit goes to Arkansas. Their defense was just tough to get any rhythm against … we got the ball to the right spots and the right guys, and they took the right shots. Those were the shots we wanted. We just didn’t knock them down.

Translation: We missed 40 shots, bricked 16 of 21 threes. Every Tournament, it’s something.

Eric Musselman, Arkansas: I just thought defensively we played so good. I thought we did a great job of forcing turnovers. Fifteen turnovers. Gonzaga is a great passing team … we held them to nine assists.

Translation: They were The Gang That Couldn’t Shoot Straight tonight.

Mark Adams, Texas Tech: We want to congratulate Duke on a great game, great second half. A very, very good team and, obviously, very well coached.

Translation: Why doesn’t that guy retire already?

Mike Krzyzewski, Duke: What a game!

Translation: I’m not ready to pack it in just yet.

Juwan Howard, Michigan: Everyone talks about the shooting from Villanova, whether it’s the 3-point shooting, the attacks in the paint, but you look at the numbers, and they shot 37% from the field. They shot 30% from three. That says a lot about how hard we played defensively.

Translation: We missed 40 shots, 12 of 18 threes, and bricked half our free throws. We couldn’t have fallen out of a boat and hit water.

Tommy Lloyd, Arizona: Houston is one of those teams where you’re better served if you play them a couple of times.

Translation: We don’t want any part of those guys again!

Kelvin Sampson, Houston: Our team, we’re a tough bunch. We’ve gotten better as the season goes on.

Translation: Keep your shirts on! We’re going to the Regional Final!

Ed Cooley, Providence: This is the most connected group I’ve ever been around.

Translation: If we’d just connected on 38% of our shots, we win the game.

Bill Self, Kansas: We played really well defensively and rebounding the ball the first half and didn’t have much to show for it, considering Providence couldn’t make a shot. Of course, we couldn’t, really.

Translation: If they just shoot 38%, they win.

Kelvin Sampson, Houston: If you’d have told me before the game that we’re going to hold them to 28% from the field, they’re going to shoot 23% from the three-point line, and we’d lose, I wouldn’t have believed you!

Translation: I can’t believe we missed 19 of 20 treys!

Jay Wright, Villanova: They are a great defensive team. They took away our two leading scorers, and other guys had to step up.

Translation: We held them below 30% from the field, 1-for-20 from three. We’re a great defensive team!

Mick Cronin, UCLA: We didn’t get the job done on the defensive glass.

Translation: They got 15 offensive rebounds and 19 second-chance points. Ballgame!

Hubert Davis, North Carolina: It’s about players just stepping up and making plays.

Translation: Did you see how we pounded the offensive glass?

Mike Krzyzewski, Duke: I just feel so good about my guys. In this NCAA Tournament, my team has just played such good basketball, and in pressure situations!

Translation: Forty-two years, and I’m still thrilled when my kids have success.

Jim Larranaga, Miami: I thought we did a damned good job in the first half, playing the way we wanted to play, getting back defensively, and scoring the ball.

Translation: If only the game had lasted 20 minutes

Bill Self, Kansas: A tale of two halves, really.

Translation: That was about as well as we could play the second half.

Shaheen Holloway, Saint Peter’s: I didn’t really recognize my team the first 10 minutes of the game. I thought we came out a little slow, a little timid. Give those guys credit; they came in and jumped on us.

Translation: Saint Peter’s did it. Period. Saint Peter’s made it to the Elite Eight. Great story. You guys write about it.

Hubert Davis, North Carolina: It was really emotional towards the end of the game when we can finally settle in and realize that these guys are going to the Final Four.

Translation: Roy Williams taught me to never be afraid to cry.