Big East Tournament Postgame Presser: Butler SF

Big East Conference Men's Basketball Tournament

Friday, March 9, 2018

LaVall Jordan

Kelan Martin

Tyler Wideman

Butler Bulldogs

Villanova - 87, Butler - 68

COACH JORDAN: Start off by saying that's a heck of a basketball team that we just played. A lot of credit goes to them for coming out with the level of intensity that they did. Obviously they made a ton of shots.

But I'm extremely proud of our group for just responding. After the first big run it was even after that. If you spot a team like that 16, 19 points, it's going to be really tough to dig out of that. But as we talk about in the locker room, circumstances don't define you as much as how you respond to the circumstances.

So I thought our guys continued to fight the entire way. We found some smooth air at a certain point and cut into the lead a bit and they responded. Sometimes you have to give the other team credit, shake their hands. If they play like that they'll be playing for a long time in March.


Q. We know this isn't the first time this season that Butler has fallen behind early. Do you see any kind of common thread that causes that to happen to the Bulldogs so often?
COACH JORDAN: I don't know. We've gotten off to good starts at different games, and sometimes, I think tonight had a lot more to do with them coming out and they didn't miss. We weren't as solid as we had been.

When we had to rotate they made an extra pass, which is what Villanova does. They made the shots. Sometimes you need them to miss a couple of shots to give you some life or give you a chance to get back in it.

Q. You spoke about how this was more or less about what they did. In terms of the comeback last night, do you feel like the team was more emotionally spent coming into this game, that that maybe affected the execution going forward offensively?
COACH JORDAN: Yeah, I thought -- we thought we tried to plan it out as best we could from last night. Obviously that was -- you had to fight to come back and win in a thriller. And try to get these guys as rested and recovered as possible along with refreshing ourselves on Villanova and coming up with a game plan, which didn't prove to be a very good one.

I thought they did a good job of denying Ke the basketball. Obviously he's a big part of our offense. They took him away many times and wouldn't let him catch it.

We had some cuts that were open and they crowded us and we couldn't see them at all times. And so, like I said, a lot more to do with them and we didn't respond, timely responses.

When you're playing like that defensively everything has to be on time. When they're cutting, the pass has got to be there. If Tyler sets a screen and rolls and he's open, it has to be there now because they rotate really well.

Q. Kelan, you had had some good games against Villanova in the regular season. What did they do differently defensively against you to frustrate you and get you out of rhythm?
KELAN MARTIN: It wasn't frustration. It was just they denied me, every player they had just denied me the ball. I was just trying to get open every time. I mean hats off to them; they had a great game plan for me. And sometimes you just can't beat it. And, I mean, just things like that happen.

Q. Coach, obviously things are looking good ahead of Selection Sunday, and this is a great Nova team that you guys played. But how do you build off of a loss like this ahead of March?
COACH JORDAN: That's a great question. I think you look at the guys in the locker room and look at our two senior leaders and I have a lot of faith in this group.

Told them in the locker room, I love this group, what we've become. I think it's a group of fighters. That's what will define us for the rest of time. Team 120 chapter of Butler basketball history is they're a group of fighters; we've been down, we've come back, we've won and continued to fight. We continue to fight tonight. And our fight wasn't enough for these guys.

And so we'll get into Selection Sunday, get into the tournament. We'll be excited. These two will be one of three classes to do that for four straight years and we'll fight. We'll see where we go and who we're going to battle with.

Q. The toughest part about defending a team like Villanova that at times can put as many as four 3-point shooters on the floor at the same time.
COACH JORDAN: Seemed like six. And they don't miss. That is what makes them a very difficult challenge is they have a shooter at every position. But they also can post at every position, so they can invert and bring their big guy away from the basket. They're posting Jalen. He's probably their best post player, and Brunson.

And it makes it a challenge because your guards have to play post defense. And at the point when you over help or try to commit, the ball moves quickly and now you're in rotations.

They're the most fundamentally sound team that we face. They shot fake if you jump. The next thing you know the guy's in the paint and rotate, and they move it to the next guy. They're unselfish. When they're shooting at that clip you kind of have to outscore them. We didn't score enough early to stay in it.

Q. You've gone up against Mikal Bridges three times this season. Talk about having to account for him on both sides of the ball this season?
COACH JORDAN: Yeah, he scored in like two seconds. They tipped it, passed it and he shot it in. That lets you know a little bit of their mentality and his mentality.

He's a tough man. He's so long defensively, we tried to get him on a couple of backdoors, he deflected it. They put him on the front of the three-quarter press and it slows you down. It's hard to get up the court, and you have a flow to what you're doing.

So both sides of it, he presents a real challenge just matching with him on one end but disrupting your flow offensively on the other. And he recovers so well defensively with his length.

So he's a really, really good player, obviously a lottery pick. It's been a good challenge and good battle for these guys to go up against him.

Q. Tyler and Kelan, you guys have had some great things happen in recent days. You've had some downs. What's your sense of the team's state of mind heading into the NCAA Tournament?
KELAN MARTIN: Staying in the moment. Now is win or go home. We talked about it in the locker room just now. We'll be fine. We've got something to play for. And it wasn't like we didn't have nothing to play for tonight, but I mean now it's do or die, win or go home. So staying in the moment, staying within ourselves and just compete and just outsmarting teams.

TYLER WIDEMAN: Just take it one possession at a time. Every possession matters. Like he said, it's win or go home. And just trying to live in the moment, play each possession and take it one game at a time.


Joseph Jarzynka