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2010-11 Virginia Basketball Postgame Quotes
November 29, 2010
Virginia 87, #15 Minnesota 79

Virginia Head Coach Tony Bennett

On the difference for Minnesota playing without point guard Al Nolen.

“Certainly when you lose a leader and a point guard and a senior who steadies the ship, I know that ‘s a loss for them. He puts pressure at the point of attack defensively. He does some things defensively that I don’t know if they have anybody else who can quite do it the same. When you have inexperience out there, which trust me I can attest to that, sometimes you don’t always know what’s going to happen, sometimes real good and sometimes not as good. I think that experience cost them. He can make some plays certainly off the dribble, so that was fortunate for us that he wasn’t out there.”

Mustapha (Farrakhan) was coming off maybe his worst game as a college player. Did you have any sense that he might come out and play his best?

“I told Mu right before the game, I said ‘the last two practices were the best I’ve seen,’ he threw himself into the team and he’s so competitive. In your last year you want to play and I think he just said ‘you know what, I’m going to do whatever it takes.’ I saw him more vocal in our last two practices, more team oriented than I’ve ever seen. We need him. We need his athleticism and his ability to guard. I thought at times he made it harder on Blake (Hoffarber), to force some of the shots that he took.

“Mu certainly had his stroke going. He just really let the game come. When you shoot that well it helps, but he let the game come and when Mu does that he is a very effective player. I was happy for him because he handled not starting and he handled not playing as much the right way even though he was frustrated at the time.”

What did you emphasize with your team at halftime?

“You wouldn’t have known because of the way we started the second half. I’ve just been getting tired of transition baskets. We talk all the time about the things that will get you beat. Eliminate losing and it starts with getting your defense set. We use the phrase ‘don’t take arrows in the back.’ They kept getting down the floor, it was like our guys either would forget to match up or we had troubles. In that first time out of the second half I said ‘we’re either going to send four back or the second you don’t go back you’re coming out.’ We got back a little better. I think we emphasized that.

“We talked about just being stronger with the ball. Some of our turnovers were silly in the first half. That’s been a pattern for us, loose turnovers, giving up some transition baskets and some of the rebounds. Those are the three areas we always start with to be solid in. I didn’t think we were, but then we shored that up, at least handled the ball and were somewhat better in transition. Though they get it down and they’ll shoot it quick when they’re open.”

Have you ever seen Assane Sene have as big a role in a win?

“The things Assane has always been since I’ve been here are active and willing. He will set screens, he worked hard this summer and he had a good preseason. It probably hasn’t shown as much in the games yet. He actually isn’t a bad shooter. He made a couple of free throws in Maui. He’s worked hard on his shot. He kept some balls alive and defensively not having to trap the post all of the time. He stepped up and that was pivotal for us.”

Minnesota Head Coach Tubby Smith

Opening statement

“It was a very disappointing performance by us, but I was very impressed with Virginia. They shot the ball extremely well. We were lacking in our defensive intensity tonight. There were a lot of changes that have taken place since the last time we played and I think that can disrupt the flow of things and I think that happened tonight.”

On Virginia’s offense picking apart Minnesota

“It was probably as pathetic an effort defensively that we’ve had in a long time. We had the chances, we just couldn’t get the stops.”

On free throws

“We work on them a lot, and that’s another disappointing area, 12 for 20. They shoot 83 percent, we shoot 60 percent.”

On the new ranking sending a message:

“We’ve got to get this group to understand that you have to overachieve and play with the right type of attitude every time out.”

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