“I am so impressed with what Coach Martin has done. I keep coming back to if you want to win championships, you’ve got to be able to guard in the half court, you’ve got to be physical and you’ve got to have toughness. I don’t really care what their record is; (Tennessee) is an NCAA tournament team. Just win games now. Just win games. Win the games you’re supposed to win. (That) is an NCAA tournament team. Jarnell Stokes makes them way better too.
“He’s (Martin) doing it by changing a culture. He’s getting them to guard. The second thing is he’s doing it in recruiting. I can’t imagine they’re not ecstatic. And I know that losing to us is like, you know. But the reality of it is they played the game and they did everything they were supposed to do to give themselves a chance to win. (Martin) was really good, and their team was really good.”
On learning from previous close games…
“No. What it was again was we got out-physicalled in the first half again. The same guys got pushed, shoved and couldn’t come up with the ball – and were accepting it. The thing we had was our young players had a will to win. The three (Michael Kidd-Gilchrist) makes, the shot Anthony (Davis) makes and the plays Marquis Teague made. Marquis Teague guarded; that’s the first game he’s guarded. He knew that kid (Trae Golden) was averaging 20 a game the last four games. So he went out and said, `You know what, I’m going to guard my man and I’m going to make this tough on him.’ And he did.”
“Those three did it, and then Kyle (Wiltjer) came in. How about the five points he had? When you’re in a game like this and he makes that three and he makes those two free throws – he did what we needed him to do.
“If we want to be unique and special, we’re either going to get tougher and negate the physical play people are using on us or we’re just going to be another team out there trying to win as many as we can. That’s it. We talk better today but we still need to execute better.”
“Like I said, (Kidd-Gilchrist) makes the three and then he comes up with two balls late and he makes a free throw. If he had missed both, it would have been a one-point game after they made those two threes. Now it’s a whole different ballgame. We make two, they make a three, it goes to overtime and blah, blah, blah. So you think about Michael Gilchrist and what he did. I bet he didn’t know he had missed a few shots before he shot the three. All he knew was that ball was going down.”