March 21, 2013
Michigan – 71
South Dakota State – 56
An interview with:
MODERATOR: We'll begin with an opening statement by Coach Nagy, South Dakota State.
COACH NAGY: We can't shoot the ball like we shot and beat Michigan. We have to shoot a lot better than that. We have to be around ten threes instead of four. We got good looks, we just didn't shoot the ball well tonight.
I looked at every other stat. We tied them in rebounding. We had 13 assists, 12 turnovers. So we have more assists than turnovers, and we would have had more assists if we could have made shots but we just didn't shoot the ball well.
Some of it had to do with Michigan, their length, their athleticism is not what we see every day, but that's what it came down to for us, we just did not shoot the ball well.
MODERATOR: Questions for the student-athletes.
Q. Nate, if you would have been told before the game that Burke would have six or whatever he finished with, would you have thought we had a good shot to win this game?
NATE WOLTERS: Yeah, defensively. We kind of held him in check, but I mean other guys stepped up and they're a really talented team.
They're really tough to stop and like coach said we couldn't buy a bucket. We had open looks and some of them looked good but didn't fall down.
Q. Nate, it seemed like you were deferring at times, other guys were getting good shots. You weren't forcing your shot. Were you making that decision at times?
NATE WOLTERS: Yeah, I mean it was just difficult to get in the lane and I mean they did a good job on pick and rolls just kind of staying with me and trapping me a little bit. Brayden really got us going first half. He was our only source of offense.
We got open looks, like I said, and just couldn't hit them.
Q. Obviously you were hitting some shots, but in general what coach was talking about with the poor shooting, is that frustrating two years in a row to reach the NCAA tournament and walk away saying if we had shot the ball better we could have beat these guys?
BRAYDEN CARLSON: Yeah, we feel like two years in a row we've kind of let one go a little bit.
We play from the first half, and then the second half we haven't played as well. But it's not the big stage I don't think that causes bad shooting. Just an off night.
Q. Brayden, how surprised were you at what Mitch McGary was able to do?
BRAYDEN CARLSON: We knew he'd be a good player and a productive player during our game just because of his size.
The guards, myself and Nate and Chad needed to do a better job of just helping out the bigs, but he played a good game.
Q. You guys have become accustomed to kind of having the home court advantage. Turning the tables a little bit here, the crowd made its presence felt. Was that a factor?
NATE WOLTERS: I don't think it was too much of a factor. I mean we got off to a good start and, yeah, I mean they had the majority of the fans obviously.
But I don't think that was had a difference in the game really.
Q. Talk about your play tonight and what was there for you, what was working and it seemed like you were just very confident in taking what was there?
BRAYDEN CARLSON: Yeah, like Nate said, they did a good job of just staying with him and causing him to defer to other guys. And thankfully none of the shots were going in.
Q. Nate, I know it's tough when the game has just ended to ponder your college career. Is there any way to put into words what it means to have played your last college game?
NATE WOLTERS: Yeah, I don't think it really sank in yet but, I mean, yeah, it was an unbelievable experience playing for coach and having these group of guys. It's been a blessing for me.
I wouldn't trade it for anything.
Q. For Brayden again, could you just reflect on kind of two things. One, on these last two years and then looking ahead?
BRAYDEN CARLSON: We've had an incredibly successful last two years.
Part of that's due to our seniors, Tony and Nate.
But looking forward, we have four guys coming back there. So they're going to be seniors, a lot of experience on our team.
And then Jake Bittle is probably play point guard and do a great job next year.
MODERATOR: Thank you student-athletes.
Floor is open for questions for Coach Nagy.
Q. Can you talk about the job that Michigan did on Nate, and specifically did you expect him to rotate as many guys on him as they did?
COACH NAGY: Yeah, I mean I thought that if we screened with Chad White that they would switch that, and we got some of that.
You know, what it was mainly, and we knew we'd get him in some of these rotations, we knew what they were going to show what their five and stay with him until they got rid of the basketball, and I mean, we got great shots off the rotations. We just didn't make them.
We knew that they would switch. We knew that they were long and would use their athleticism on them and try to wear him down. I'm sure that was the plan. I mean, that's what everybody tries to do with Nate.
A team like Michigan who has a little bigger stronger athletes it's a little easier for them to do than people at our level.
Q. Touching on that earlier theme about not responding well, not shooting the ball well, is that just bad luck, or are there outside factors?
COACH NAGY: I mean, I really don't know. I guess I don't believe in luck.
I don't have the answers to it. There are other games that we haven't shot well this year, but this was one we needed to if we were going to win. We could have gotten away with it with some other teams but not with Michigan.
I don't know. People can think that it was the stage, the kids' nerves, those kinds of things. I mean, I was frustrated at halftime and we were only down four. We just were playing so poorly offensively. I thought defensively we were doing what we wanted to do, but, you know, I was frustrated with our team at half just because it just felt like we were soft offensively.
Q. Coach, you only went six deep. Do you think that contributed to running out of gas.
COACH NAGY: No. With two and a half minute timeouts and a lot of our guys playing a lot of minutes. I think with the timeouts they were okay and I don't think that that had much to do with it.
Q. Can you talk about the job you guys did defensively on Trey Burke and then also what he did in terms of just being a facilitator when things weren't going his way?
COACH NAGY: We knew he was frustrated. I could see it in his body language in the first half.
You know, Nate's a tremendous defender and he doesn't get much credit for it, but he did a good job.
And, also, Tony. I think those two guys, because of the ball screens with their five man and how we guarded them, I thought Nate and Tony did a great job on him. He's a tremendous player. It's really hard to get him to give his dribble up. It's hard to know when he's going to keep it, when he's going to pass it, when he's going to shoot it. He's very good at that and he's very tricky with the basketball. Seven assists tonight, he obviously played well.
Q. Talk about Brayden's night and the importance for him.
COACH NAGY: Well, you know, going into the season I thought Brayden would be an All Conference player for us and he just didn't have that kind of season. He really struggled with his shot.
I was pleased to see it show up tonight, and you know, I expect to see that as we go into next season. This is a good finish for him, and he'll work hard in the summer as well the other guys. But we're going to need him to make more plays for us next year and I was proud of him.
Q. Coach, you touched upon yesterday. It's hard to get to this tournament and you don't take it for granted. Now you got a star guard who's moving on. Do you need to sort of redouble your efforts and try to make this a more regular occurrence?
COACH NAGY: Well, I don't know if we can double the efforts. I think we're doing everything we can do and, you know, I don't want to take it for granted that we've gotten here, because you don't know when you'll get back.
I know how difficult it is to get here. Particularly out of a one-bed league. It's very difficult. But there is a part of me too, and this may sound strange, but I'm excited for our team next year to develop -- I mean, there's been such a focus on Nate, as there should have been because he's the best player to ever play South Dakota State. But I'm excited for the players coming back, for them to develop different identities and step into different roles and see what they can do. I'm very excited. We've got a great recruiting class coming in. We'll be a lot deeper next year. A bit younger, but very excited for the guys that are coming back to see how they develop.
Q. Coach, your thoughts on this two-year run and the success you've had?
COACH NAGY: Just our kids. I mean, they're just tremendous kids.
And I've said this before, I think, you know, it's my belief in Division I basketball, I have the best job in the country because we had great players and unbelievable kids. Kid that I don't worry about. Good students. Great citizens. Kids that care about each other, and so it's just a very -- people don't understand where we are, what we've done the past years winning more than 25 games and having the RPI we have, just how very difficult that is to do, but as a coach I understand it, and the kids understand it.
That's obviously a standard that we want to set and keep. So we have some work to do to stay there, and I'm excited, that's what I said I'm excited for the guys coming back to see how they develop and the new roles that they'll step into with Tony and Nate gone.
MODERATOR: Thanks very much, Coach.
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