Q. For any of you guys who want to answer, chance to get to the Sweet Sixteen. You guys have been to the Elite Eight. What would that mean to you?
GARY FRANKLIN: For me, that would mean everything. The Sweet Sixteen would be held in Anaheim for us, and I'm from California, so I'd love to see my family. Also, obviously wanting to win games and have a chance to make it to the Final Four to an Elite Eight. Obviously, that's what we're here to do. I think it would be a great experience to go back home.
BRADY HESLIP: I think it would be great as well. We'll go to California and see some nice weather and get to play some basketball.
CORY JEFFERSON: I agree with my fellow teammates. Sweet Sixteen, Gary gets to go home. Obviously, he's letting everybody know about that part. But it will be something good, but obviously, we have to focus on these games tomorrow to get to the Sweet Sixteen.
Q. What is it that makes your zone defense so effective? What unique talents do you feel like you guys have that makes it so difficult to play against?
CORY JEFFERSON: Really, I just feel that it's us being active. It's been said that we don't have a lot of size up top, at the top of our zone with Brady and Gary and Kenny. But really with them being active, it just doesn't really matter.
BRADY HESLIP: I think it's just us giving max energy. Since we've turned it around, I think guys have been playing a lot harder on defense, and we know that's what it takes to win games. Obviously, it helps that we have Isaiah in the middle there pretty much erasing every mistake we make, so...
GARY FRANKLIN: To touch on the two things he said, being active and having energy. Ideally the zone is to keep the ball out of the paint, but also two of you have a lot of pressure on the perimeter. Then it's hard for them to see and make the right passes and the right reads in the zone.
Q. What did Coach say about trying to contain Doug McDermott? And what do you have to do to make sure he doesn't go off in another game? He had a double double yesterday.
GARY FRANKLIN: We just want to limit his shots as much as possible. He's a great scorer, so you obviously don't want to give him any good looks. We're trying to keep him from hitting those crazy threes that he makes. So we're going to try to pick him up as soon as we can, as soon as he crosses half court. Just make sure we find him as much as possible on defense.
Q. Cory, you and Isaiah have been one of the most formidable inside duos in the country. But Rico Gathers comes in off the bench and gives you guys another lift. Talk about what contributions he's made so far this year?
CORY JEFFERSON: Rico has made some great contributions, especially in the games and mostly in practice. In practices when he prepares me and Isaiah for the games, just battling every day. It's not going to be too many people in the country that are stronger than Rico, so if we can do it against him every day, then we'll be ready for whoever else is out there.
Me personally, I get to go up against Rico and Isaiah. So like I said, there are not too many people stronger than Rico and not too many people taller than Isaiah, so I get to face the best of both worlds.
Q. Hey, guys, you all faced the Player of the Year in college basketball. Iowa State gets one of the named schools in North Carolina. Is this an opportunity for you guys and Iowa State to send a message that this is in fact the best conference in college basketball?
BRADY HESLIP: Yeah, definitely. I don't really look at it like that. They're a great team. They played in the Big East this year, and that's a great conference too, and they beat great teams. So it's just another opportunity for us to beat a great team.
Q. You played with Doug. What do you remember about him last summer?
CORY JEFFERSON: Wow, yeah, we did lose to Canada. He's a good player. He's a scorer. He's going to want to get his shots and look for his shots. So we're just going to try to limit that.
Q. Cory, have you played much zone defense before you came to Baylor? Do you sometimes think that other teams might look down at you guys for playing a zone rather than attacking and going man to man like? It seems that almost everybody else in college basketball does these days?
CORY JEFFERSON: Well, if they want us to play man, then we definitely won't play it. But zone has been working pretty well for us. You asked if I played zone before college? I played both in high school. It was always switched up. I was used to that coming into Baylor because we do it both here too. But as for the other teams, we're not really trying to please them, so...
Q. (No Microphone)?
CORY JEFFERSON: If they do, then oh, well. I don't see why they should.
GARY FRANKLIN: I don't know how you can look down on a team that's still playing in March. If anyone wants to criticize our zone, they can continue to watch.
Q. You guys, for all of you, Creighton mentioned last night and Doug McDermott mentioned specifically that he came back this year because they wanted to get this moment right here. They've lost in the second round two years in a row. Does that register with you at all? Do you know they're going to be that much more intense because they're that much of more hungry to get to the Sweet Sixteen?
CORY JEFFERSON: I feel that that's a good point for them. They're going to be hungry, but we're going to be just as hungry. We weren't in the NCAA tournament last year, and it's the NCAA tournament right now. They said they're going to be hungry. We're going to be hungry. We don't want to go home. We lose this game and our season's over.
Q. Gary, when things weren't going well for this team back in January, what was the conversation like in the locker room? How did this team fix it to turn things around?
GARY FRANKLIN: Not ashamed to say it at all. Time and time again we looked to God to get us out of our tough situations. Even when things are going well, God is the focal point of our team. So when we were 28, we didn't panic at all. A lot of the conversations that took place were positive conversations. How can we make differences as far as getting ourselves going? What can we do to make sacrifices for the betterment of the team? Our coaching staff did a great job with making sure guys kept a positive attitude, and that's what helped us get to where we are today.
Q. How much does the experience two years ago making that run to the Elite Eight help now? Does that carry over even though there was a year separation?
BRADY HESLIP: I think so. When you have three seniors that have tournament experience, and we have a handful of guys that played in the postseason last year, everybody understands the importance of every game. If we lose, the season's over and there is nothing to look forward to. So that just makes our team dangerous.
Q. Brady, you didn't have your shot falling for you the other day. Do you have to just let that go? Was there something that was bothering you? You were good from the free throw line. But how important will it be, do you think, for you to be able to knock down those three pointers tomorrow?
BRADY HESLIP: I'm just going to do whatever the team needs me to do. We're going to exploit their weaknesses, and if they leave me open, I'm not going 0 for 6 again.
Q. Is there any Big 12 team that Creighton kind of reminds you of with that perimeter game they've got?
GARY FRANKLIN: You asked with the perimeter game they have? Probably more similar to Iowa State, having multiple guys that can shoot the ball.
Q. Cory, going back to McDermott, you mentioned he's a great scorer. Why is he such a great scorer? Is it just the versatility, or what do you think?
CORY JEFFERSON: There are plenty of reasons, I guess, versatility, being able to score inside and out. He's a confident player, just taking the shots. Sometimes a lot of shots that other people wouldn't usually take, but he's confident in the shots that he takes and most of the time they go in.
Q. Cory, did you have a chance to maybe stay close with McDermott after you guys were teammates? Have you texted or contacted him or anything like that after you left that American team?
CORY JEFFERSON: Yeah, we kept in contact. I talked to him last when we found out that we might be able to play each other after Selection Sunday. I text him and said we might be able to meet up.
THE MODERATOR: Anything else for the studentathletes? Okay, gentlemen. We'll let you go. Thank you for your time. We'll have head coach Scott Drew up here at 1:55.
We've got Baylor University head coach, Scott Drew. Coach, I'd like you to make an opening statement, and then we'll take questions from the floor.
COACH DREW: Well, I thought I was going to get a good night's sleep. But the more Creighton film I watched, the tougher it was to go to bed. Anyway, I know Coach McDermott. I've had a lot of respect for him since he was at Iowa State and got to know him better there. Obviously, big coach's son fan, with my brother playing for my dad and I. Really appreciating and love watching them all year long.
So normally I'm cheering for them. Obviously, tomorrow will be a little different. As far as they have a lot of challenges with their skill on the offensive end. We'll have to make sure that we do a good job getting shooters in man or zone, and make sure we make things as difficult as possible for them.
Q. Scott, I wonder if you could describe the challenges ever trying to get modern day basketball players to play zone defenses? Do they kind of feel sometimes like it's a little bit not quite as physically challenging than playing man to man? Is it a challenge sometimes?
COACH DREW: Well, I think no matter what defense, what philosophy, how you're guarding ball screens, if the players don't believe in it and don't put out the effort, then nothing's going to work.
So I think the biggest thing is to make sure they understand why you're playing what defense and why you're doing it. Then through explanation and seeing positive results. I've always said I don't care if we play man, zone, box and one, triangle and two, whatever works defensively, I'm for that. I don't have a preference on which one. I just know whatever works, we're down with it.
Q. Scott, obviously, Doug McDermott, high profile guy. Why is he such a great scorer? Can you just talk a little bit about the versatility he brings there?
COACH DREW: Well, I think, first of all his skillset is tremendous. But his motor, to be able to get the shots that he gets, he's in constant movement. He's somebody that you have to know where he's at at all times. His versatility. Normally people are more limited, but he's so good at every area on the court. He's great from the midrange. He's good from the post. He's good from the perimeter. So there is no weakness to his game, and he's a team guy. You put two people on him, and he does a great job passing. He's a throwback, I guess.
Q. With that said, how do you stop him and contain him from going off on a double double like he did yesterday?
COACH DREW: Are the Spurs players back yet? I think most people have tried different things all year long. Guard him with a smaller guy, a bigger guy, fronting him, double him, whatever. There is no one way that works otherwise everyone would have the answer and he wouldn't be getting 30 points a game.
I think at the end of the day you want to make everything as difficult as you can for him, keep him off the free throw line and not let him get the easy put backs on the rebound. Not let him get open shots where he can get in a rhythm. So if we can just contest as many shots and make it as tough as we can so he can't get into a rhythm and get in a flow where he's going, because once he gets going, there is a difference between 30 points and 45 points.
Q. Along those lines, assuming that McDermott will score some, is it important to make sure the other guys are held down?
COACH DREW: Well, I think that's part of why he's also such an effective player is his teammates. His teammates are very skilled. They take care of the basketball and do a great job finding him, setting screens for him. The fact that all of them shoot such high percentages, you can't really slough off and put multiple guys on him to make it tough on him. That's why they're a very good team. That's why their offensive numbers are off the charts.
Q. Looking over film for Creighton, have they gone up against many zone defenses this year? If they have, what kind of success did you see them have against zones?
COACH DREW: Different teams have zoned them at different times of the year. I know Providence zoned them in the championship game. It's tough; three games in three days, your legs aren't there. They had some good looks and didn't make some.
Again, this is a team no matter how you've guarded them all year long, no one has been effective from the standpoint it's the best offense in the country efficiency wise. The way they shoot the three, the free throws, take care of the basketball. And I think their experience really comes into play with that, when you have so many seniors. People love to have seniors. They've got six year seniors, so I mean, they've got some experience, definitely.
Q. Do you and your program get enough credit for your postseason record, and what you do actually in March? Everyone's talked about how you dug yourself out of a ditch. But what you've accomplished the last four, five years in March.
COACH DREW: Well, I think as long as the players get the credit for what they do and their hard work, that is all the coach is ever concerned about or worried about. I think we all understand that if you don't play well, maybe you don't get a couple breaks. I mean, there are so many teams that have won the NCAA tournament where there's been a game and a moment where if that shot didn't go in or if they didn't get that roll, they wouldn't have won the championship. So I think you have to have some things go your way. But we've been effective for one reason, and that is we have very good players and they really wanted to keep playing and competing for one another in postseason, because they have. We've been able to be successful and win in postseason more than we've lost.
Experience in the postseason doesn't guarantee success, but I think every coach would rather have it on their side than not.
Q. Scott, would you anticipate maybe a faster paced game than the first one?
COACH DREW: Oh, no question (laughing).
Q. I mean, do you expect a much different kind of game?
COACH DREW: Yeah, I mean, I think the first games generally you see some more nerves than you do in the second game to begin with. But this is a much faster paced team than our first game was against Nebraska. So I know we like playing in transition, at the same time, the big thing will to be to try to limit their transition attempts. We've got to take care of the basketball, got to take good shots, because those are the kind of things that put them in transition. They're tough enough to stop in the half court, let alone transition.
Q. You're here today, but in late January the conversation about Baylor is what was wrong with this team? What was wrong with Baylor back in late January? How did you fix it to get here?
COACH DREW: I think first we set the bar pretty high when you get off to a start like we did and get up to 7th in the nation. So anything you do with any losses at all you're going down. So it's hard to go much higher than 7th. But I think if you look, we've played in the number one conference in the country, so you can play well and still get losses.
Second thing is a key injury to Kenny Chery obviously affected our team. He played some games, but in those games he played, he wasn't very effective, didn't play very many minutes. I've often said that in hindsight if we had just kept him out for that two weeks, it would have been better for the team. But really respect him trying to want to play. He did a valiant job trying to be out there. But a healthy Kenny Chery and we're a much better team than with him being injured.
Q. Coach, you just mentioned playing in the best conference in college basketball. You guys place face the Player of the Year tomorrow. Iowa State plays one of the named schools in college basketball, North Carolina. It seemed like an opportunity for you guys to really validate that this is the best conference here in San Antonio tomorrow.
COACH DREW: No question. Both of us, and when you're in the round of 32 you're playing the best teams in the country. But we know that postseason is important for every conference. To be able to statistically we're the number one conference in the country. Now postseason everybody's a 00 record. I just know the good thing is whenever you play anybody in the postseason, what you do in conference helps prepare you for that, and you look at all the great players we faced in the Big 12, they might not be exactly like Doug is, but at the same time at least you've faced some players that are on that same echelon, so you're prepared for what you're going to see in some fashion.
Q. Coach Drew, I wanted to ask you about the Creighton point guard. Chatman had a pretty good game last night. He filled up the box in a number of areas. Do you know much about his background? Can you talk a little bit about what it's going to be like between him and your point guard tomorrow?
COACH DREW: I think he's an outstanding player. Very quick. Does a lot of things for their team like Kenny Chery does for our team. Makes it tough to press their team. Allows their team to get easy buckets. Then defensively he's very good, so it's hard to exploit him.
Q. Some of the players in the locker room were talking about the strength of Rico Gathers in the weight room. How true is that about him on the bench press? Also, how many calls have you fielded from football coaches wanting a part time employee?
COACH DREW: I think everything would be true in the weight room with Rico. As far as football, the great thing is when he's done playing basketball, if he ever chooses to play football, he'll have an opportunity. That's for sure. But I think Rico's got that funloving spirit and attitude that everybody loves him, gravitates to him. But on the court he's one guy I wouldn't want to take a charge from.
THE MODERATOR: Coach, thank you.
COACH DREW: Thank you, guys.