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Coach Wright and the Players talk Sweet Sixteen
March 19, 2018

Villanova Head Coach Jay Wright 

On the challenge of West Virginia’s press,

“The biggest challenge is that you never see anybody that plays like they do in the first 32n games you play. They have a lot of weapons it’s not just their guards that shoot three’s, it’s not just their press, they are a tremendous shot blocking team. West Virginia gets extra possessions and they average 80 points a game. They score at a high rate and that’s what gets them into their press, so your half-court defense has to be good because if they’re scoring on you they’re in their press. I think we are going to have to get in there and take a hit every now and then and hope it doesn’t affect us too much and that we can grind through it.”


When asked about what how well West Virginia has been playing,

“We always get the teams that are better than their seeding. I think they are capable of being a final four team but once you get this far in the tournament you aren’t going to get anyone that doesn’t deserve to be there. There wasn’t a lot of comfort as I was watching them play last night. I think they are similar to us in the fact that they are playing their best basketball right now. They have themselves clicking with each other just like we are, so I think you are going to see a physical and tough game.”

On West Virginia’s Jevon Carter,

“He reminds me a lot of Jalen Brunson. It begins with his mental toughness and focus. You can tell he is a serious competitor, in his press conference last night he was already on to the next game and that’s similar to Jalen. He is a tremendous leader for their team.”


On Mikal Bridges Stepping Up in the postseason,


 

 

“He continues to grow in every way, skill wise and physically as well but I thought that showed another part of his mental toughness. There are a lot of things he has done to improve his mental toughness but when you have a tough first half like he did and are able to come out in the second half and pick yourself up and carry your team it’s pretty impressive. I was proud of him and impressed.”

When asked about the development of Collin Gillespie,

“Anytime he comes in the game they see a young player who is a small point guard and theyre going to go after him. I think he takes pride in that and he loves the challenge. He has very good mental and physical toughness and we have no fear of putting him in any situation.”



Guard #1 Jalen Brunson

On advancing to the Sweet Sixteen against West Virginia,

"It’s a great feeling to be advancing as a team and we are really excited to go play at least one more game as a team. We will just go out there and make the best of the game and focus on playing Villanova Basketball."


On teammates and himself having experience in these types of games,

 “The experience is great. I think it will help us a little but at the same time this is a new team with new leaders and everyone has different roles now. It’s all new for us but we just go out and play together and not worry about what happens outside those lines. We just need to stick together and we can get the job done.”


On the challenge of facing West Virginia,

 “It is definitely a new challenge. They are pretty good at what they do. We just have to protect the ball and we can’t be afraid to fail either. We have to go be the team we know we can be and try to get better in the days ahead.”

On if the Sweet Sixteen changes the preparation for the next game,

 “It really doesn’t as much. It’s the next game for us. Our next game is the biggest game every time. So, we just need to go out there and stick to what we do and not worry about the Sweet Sixteen or the opportunity to make the Elite Eight. We just need to go out there and play for 40 minutes.”

 

Guard #5 Phil Booth

On being back on campus these next couple days,

 “It helps practicing here with each other for the next couple days even though Wednesday we’re already back on the road to Boston. We’re just trying to work on all the things we didn’t do well against Radford and Alabama as well as plan for West Virginia.”

 

On what West Virginia does that is so tough,

 “The pressure they bring with all the guys they play. It’s 40 minutes of pressure; they’re a very physical team, they’re quick, athletic and play so fast paced. They have one of the most rare styles of play in all of college basketball. The preparation for that is going to be big for us.”

 

Forward #25 Mikal Bridges

On the appreciation of still playing despite a lot of the top seeds being eliminated,

“We know how difficult it is every game we play. Every team that is in the tournament is in there for a reason. They’re all really good teams; they’ve won tournaments, they’ve won 20-something games throughout the year and they’re coming in hot. You know you can get beat any given day and that’s why we don’t treat any team any different.”

 

On West Virginia’s full court press,

“They’re a tough team that is very well coached. We’re just going to play Villanova Basketball and our coaches will make sure we’re ready.”

 

 

Schedule