March 19, 2008
California head coach Ben Braun
On the challenge against New Mexico and Lobos head coach Steve Alford tonight:
Steve's done a great job with his team. They get after you defensively, but really, they're a hard matchup. They remind us a lot of Oregon because they've got three-point shooters and guys that can beat you off the dribble. And they play the four-guard lineup. We wanted to go with some big guys, but at times we had some matchup problems. But I thought that we did succeed at getting the ball to the glass. We did some points in the paint, and that's important. We did get to the foul line by going to the paint, and Ryan and Jamal did a great job of going to the basket.
On the importance of Cal's heavily underclassmen team to get a postseason tournament win under its belt:
It's really important to the young guys, but it's also important for the guys that are seniors. If you're a senior and you've played hard in your career, you want to continue to play. New Mexico, like all the teams in the NIT, everybody's capable of being an NCAA (Tournament) team. The quality of the NIT is probably as good as it's ever been.
On the chance to play at Ohio State in the second round on Monday:
I'll call Coach (Pete) Newell and talk to him about that. I heard that's the last time Cal played Ohio State (in the 1960 NCAA championship game). It's just a great opportunity for us. It really is important to get a chance to play the best teams in the country. We played a good schedule, and now the schedule's getting even better. At the end of the year, whenever that is, hopefully at the end of the run, we're going to have played one of the top schedules in the country.
On trying to limit Lobos forward J.R. Giddens, who finished with 26 points and 13 rebounds, with players like DeVon Hardin guarding him:
We wanted to Patrick to start out (guarding Giddens) but we really thought DeVon had the range, the quickness, and he'd had such a good week in practice. He just wanted the challenge. He had great energy (in practice). He took the challenge and I thought he at least slowed Giddens down. We weren't going to stop him. It's hard to say he has 26 and 13 and I thought we did a good job on him. There's not a lot of players you can say that about, but we did a pretty good job on him.
New Mexico head coach Steve Alford
We won 4 road games coming in. We took them down to the wire; we just didn't make free throws. That has been our Achilles heel all season. I'm proud of our guys, its tough to start on the road.
On New Mexico's last shot attempt:
The last shot was a great look. When he got to the top of the key he had a nice shot. J.R. (Giddens) has been terrific all year long. He is going to have a terrific pro career. I appreciate what J.R. (Giddens) did for us today.
On J.R. Giddens and Ryan Anderson:
The Anderson kid is terrific. He has a bright future. J.R. (Giddens) can play anybody in this country. I don't care who it is, J.R. (Giddens) can play anybody.
On his first season at New Mexico:
It's been terrific. I told the guys in the locker room I couldn't ask for more. This team has made a lot of strides. They have been remarkable. We have been in every game. We have had nine losses, other than BYU and UNLV, we have been right in it.