Opening Statement... "Just to be included in the national tournament is a thrill and a honor. We're excited about once again having the type of regular season that warranted our inclusion in the tournament. We were proud of our seeding. When they put those top 16 seeds up there and our school is listed, that's certainly a source of pride and something that we feel very good about. It's the nature of college basketball that you're remembered by how you finish. We've had a wonderful season so far, but we know that we'll be remembered by what happens here and with what's coming in front of us. I'm glad we're playing on Friday because we were not on spring break last week and our guys missed three days of school. By playing on Friday, I'm hopeful we'll only have to miss two days of school this week. Although I'm sure they would be for leaving tomorrow night or maybe tomorrow morning. That's kind of where we're at. As far as Siena is concerned, I've known their coach for a long time. He and I were assistants back in the Midwest together. He's always done a really good job wherever he's been. I've had a chance to see a little bit of tape already and they look like a very well coached, very high energy basketball team with some guys that can make shots and can make plays off the dribble. They have a lot of really good players and a lot of really good pieces. When you get to this point, every team you're going to play is going to be a good team. We'll embrace the fact that we've got a tough team to play and certainly try to get ready for the challenge."
On if he felt Vanderbilt deserved a top 16 seed... "I think that we deserved it if they gave it to us. We won nine of our last 12 games. That was the number that was thrown out there that they were going to use. They were going to use your last 12 games. We've lost three of our last five, but we've also won nine of our last 12. The bottom line is when you finish at Arkansas, Mississippi State at home, at Alabama and play Arkansas again, those teams in those venues are tough teams. We had lost our last two last year coming into the tournament and it didn't seem to affect us. We got a draw that we could manage. We played well in our very first game and really played well from that point on. I'm not concerned with three losses in our last five games. The game before that we beat the team that was ranked number one in the country. It's not really fair to take one snapshot of a schedule of a season and suggest that you're playing well or not."
On the importance of having previous experience in the NCAA Tournament... "I think tournament experience is really important. If you haven't been there, you don't know what it's like. If you haven't been there and you get there with juniors and seniors, they've been battle tested so much more than a younger team has been, that even if you haven't been (to the NCAA Tournament), you can adjust as our team did last year without a lot of prior tournament experience. I think our experience last year will be very valuable to our team this year. I think that Shan (Foster) and Ross's (Neltner) experience and Red's (Alex Gordon's) experience and Jermaine's (Beal) experience will be valuable for A.J. (Ogilvy), Keegan (Bell), Darshawn (McClellan) and Andre (Walker) and those guys because they'll be looking up to the guys that have been through it and have been there. We're hopeful that that is beneficial to us and we think it will be."
On Vanderbilt being tough to prepare for... "I think it was probably tougher for people to get ready for us last year. Our team was unconventional and difficult. And not only difficult because it was unconventional, it was difficult because we were good and we were tough. That team was an extremely hard-nosed, tough basketball team. Our team this year is more conventional. In its own way, it's difficult too because of the inside-outside presence this year where we didn't have that same inside-outside presence a year ago. Our ability to get to the foul line is significantly greater this year. Our ability to throw the ball inside and get easy baskets is significantly better this year. There are a number of things that we do better this year than we did a year ago. I'm not going to sit here and profess our team ready to be a tournament team. I think we'll find that out. Right about now, we got on a little bit of a roll last year. In 2004, we kind of got on that roll in the conference tournament. We won a game and we beat Mississippi State in overtime. We played a really good game against Western Michigan and another good game against N.C. State. It didn't really matter how we played against Connecticut that year. It's about the teams that get on a roll and catch fire right now. That could certainly be us. We have the elements. We have the pieces. Do we have the focus, the ability to limit the distractions, the ability to rebound and play with that sustained defensive intensity that it takes in this tournament? We'll find that out.