March 15, 2014
Press Conference Quotes -  Louisiana Tech vs.  Tulsa Saturday, March 15, 2014
Tulsa Head Coach Danny Manning
"This was a lot of fun. I know it's easy for us to say now because we are on the winning end of it. It was a hard fought game and LA Tech is a talented team. Coach White does a great job with those guys. We've got three other teams in our league that are very deserving of a bid. There's a lot of parity in our league and the teams play hard. I'm very happy and proud of the young men on our team for having a lot of perseverance and fighting through a rough non-conference schedule and maintain a positive and great spirit about themselves and want to get better. I'm very happy for all of these guys and I'm looking forward to our season continuing.
On the late-season run:
"We got off to a really shaky start, to be honest with you. We were 0-4 and 1-6. We were getting better but we were playing some really good teams. They stretched us out and took advantage of our mistakes. Each game we played we learned a little bit and grew a little bit and we became a little bit better. The last 11 games, we have been playing at a pretty good clip defensively. We hang our hat on the defensive side of the ball. We try to make teams uncomfortable running their offense and be very disruptive. That's the key to our success. We make multiple efforts on the defensive end and we just try to grind the whole game.
On James Woodard playing like the MVP of the league:
"You're right. Going into this tournament I think he had a chip on his shoulder, Ray had a chip on his shoulder, Shaq had a chip on his shoulder. And the guys came out and played like it. We had four teams in our league tied for first and James was the highest scorer on all of those teams and he didn't make first team. That's mind blowing. But you know what, things like that happen. He maintained great poise and focus and he came out and put together three great games.
"We hang our hat on the defensive side of the ball. We want to make sure when we go out there that we're locked in and focused defensively and we understand scouting report and personnel and we compete. Our guys have done a wonderful job of that, and hopefully that will continue.
On today's defensive performance:
"They made tough shots. In the first half they were 7-of-10 from three and three of those were contested. They knocked down big-time shots. Speedy made a big-time three when he was contested. So those guys shoot the ball well. We just wanted to make sure they shot long jump shots over hand. Late in the game both teams went to a small lineup and both teams were switching everything, hoping they could get the other team just a little bit out of sync or out of position and try to drive into the paint and draw a foul. That's kind of what our game has come to with the new rules. You just try to put your head down and drive in there and draw some contact.
On last year's CBI run and the tough non-conference schedule preparing the team for this:
"I believe so. During the non-conference season we were wide eyed to be honest with you. We struggled and we ran into some situations that we didn't handle well. But that prepared us for a conference run. All through the conference season, any time we got into a tight situation, we had no panic in our eyes and we understood what we needed to do and carried out our assignments. That's a by product of the hard lessons that we learned early. It paid off for us down the stretch. One thing about our group of young men, they're going to go out and battle and compete. We talk about it all the time. You've got to grind. And that's what we believe in."
#3 Rashad Ray, Tulsa
On having a chance to do some damage in the NCAA Tournament:
"I think we're going to lay our hats on the defensive end. That's what helps our offense come really easy for us by playing defense. We just try to play hard and give energy and effort. We're going into the tournament laying our hats on the defensive end.
On how it feels to go to the NCAA Tournament:
"It's a dream come true for me. I always wanted to look up in our gym and see our name coming up on the screen and who we were going to be playing against next. We haven't been to the NCAA Tournament since 2003. I was a young kid. So it's a dream come true for me. I just want to go down there and enjoy it and play a great game against whoever we have."
#10 James Woodard, Tulsa
On having something to prove in the tournament:
"After the awards came out, all of us as a team had a chip on our shoulder. We just came out here and proved that we are the top team in the conference. Winning this tournament was a team effort and we came out here and proved what we had to prove.
On the team's defense:
"We hang our hats on the defensive end and our defense turns into offense. We like to play up-tempo and get out in transition and once we get stops the game is all about defense. The team that scores more wins, but we hang our hats on defense and lockdown and making the other team shoot a low percentage."
On how it feels to go to the NCAA Tournament:
"It's an indescribable feeling. Growing up as a team, you can't wait until March Madness. To be a part of it this time around and also for us being so young as a team, this is definitely a dream come true. I believe we're a strong team and once selection Sunday comes up we're going to be prepared for our next opponent and try to make some noise.
On growing up in Tulsa and the significance of making the NCAA Tournament:
"It has been pretty important, considering that gap of time without doing something like this. It's a good feeling that we can put Tulsa back on the map and reach that tournament. Our team is in the history books. It's just a great feeling."
Louisiana Tech Head Coach Michael White
"First of all, I'd like to say congratulations to Tulsa. They were really good. They are a tremendous basketball team. They are interesting because they have gotten so much better throughout the year. Coach Manning has done a tremendous job and their staff has done a tremendous job. They improved throughout. We thought after we beat them in Ruston that we were very fortunate to beat them. We caused so many turnovers, which led to easy ones for us that got us over the hump. We knew how dangerous they were. They have continued to improve and they showed the level at which they could defend, which is a very high level. It was on full display today. We shoot 11-of-25 from three and only manage to score 60. You just have to credit them. This wasn't as much about us not doing this or not doing that or us having a bunch of missed opportunities. It was about Tulsa just being very good defensively."
On the latter part of the game, was your team tired?:
"I don't want to put it on tired legs. They had tired legs too. Obviously we wish we had a week to prepare for such an important game. Tulsa feels the same way I'm sure. It's the nature of it. We were all given the rules to the tournament on the front end and you do the best with what you've got. I think it was probably more a really good defensive team stepping up and getting stops versus us searching and playing from behind and probably pressing, understanding how badly we needed to score. We didn't make all the best decisions in terms of shot selection late or in terms of overpressuring defensively when we got behind there. We had a couple of early fouls that were not necessarily what we were looking for. Things like that happen when you're behind, especially when the stage is bigger and things are magnified and it's the championship game. Overall I'm very proud of our guys' effort. I'm blessed to have really good players. I'm very, very proud of them. We have continued to fight all year. We have had adversity ourselves. I'm just disappointed that we don't get a chance to play in the NCAA Tournament and most disappointed for our four seniors. This is a very, very special group.
On Woodard down the stretch this season:
"He is one of the best guards in our league. We have a handful of really good guards as well. Tulsa does too. Woodard is not the only one. But he's a tremendous player. He's very efficient. He's not really flashy but he just makes winning plays. He is a very good shooter, he is a very good passer, and he plays within himself. He's a very good defender. That was on full display this morning. There is a reason why he's an all-league guy. That's what sticks out the most to me about Tulsa, is how good they are on the perimeter defensively, not only with Woodard but with all of them. They funnel you, like our guards do, to big long athletes on the interior and you have a second line or a third line step up with length and athleticism and bounce and they come at you with waves. They have three high-level frontcourt defensive players. Whoever they put on the court can defend.
On Tulsa being a dangerous team in the NCAA:
"No question [they can beat somebody]. I think there's literally five, six, seven teams that could've come out of this conference tournament and had a chance to beat somebody, or maybe more than one team in the NCAA Tournament. Middle Tennessee would have been very dangerous, Southern Miss, UAB and Charlotte, and UTEP is very good. This league has been tremendous all year. I know our computer numbers don't show we're a top-10 conference, but computer numbers are computer numbers for several reasons. If you look at all the high major opponents that this league has beaten, it would lead you to believe that any team including Tulsa could be very competitive on any given morning or night in the NCAA Tournament. I know Tulsa will defend as well as that other team. I really believe that. Four or five teams in this league defend as well as most teams in college basketball. If they can make shots, if Woodard can get into a rhythm and they can get some good offensive looks to complement their defense, they will be very dangerous."
#0 Alex Hamilton, Louisiana Tech
On the disappointment of not making the NCAA Tournament:
"Right now I feel bad for the four seniors. I wish there was more I could do to get the win and help them have a chance to go to the NCAA Tournament. We came up on the short end. I really feel for the guys but next year we have to come back and work harder."
#4 Kenneth Smith, Louisiana Tech
On what happened toward the end of the game:
"There's no way to really explain it. They got in a good offensive rhythm and we weren't able to knock down shots like we wanted to. We didn't capitalize like we did in the first two games. That hurt us in the end."