THE MODERATOR: We're now being joined by student‑athletes from James Madison University, A.J. Davis, Devon Moore, Rayshawn Goins, and Andre Nation.
Q. When I talked to you guys last night in the locker room, you all said, We know IU. But do you think Indiana knows anything about you and how that can maybe play to your advantage if they don't?
A.J. DAVIS: Knowing that we play on different given nights, they probably do scout us how we scout on them. They probably should know a little information about us as well.
DEVON MOORE: I mean, just like A.J. said, they probably didn't do too much scouting on us. They probably just seen the game yesterday and go from there.
RAYSHAWN GOINS: I hope not. We can use that to our advantage. We want them to come out and try to take us lightly. That way we can put our foot on the pedal and keep it down for the whole game.
ANDRE NATION: I hope they do actually. I hope they do. I hope they know all about us, man, so that way they know they've got to play their best.
We wouldn't want to play an Indiana team that's going to come out and think they can run all over us. We want them at their best. Like I said yesterday, in order to be the best, you've got to beat the best.
Q. How much does it mean with you three guys together right now to be able to stay in Ohio for a few more days and just kind of pay back everybody?
A.J. DAVIS: It's a blessing to be here, having two Ohio guys with me. To be able to play in front of our friends and family is the best thing. It's just amazing to be here.
DEVON MOORE: Words definitely can't describe it. We're definitely thankful. We're just excited to be here and excited to play a good team in Indiana.
RAYSHAWN GOINS: Words can't explain it. It's kind of like a home game for us. Like we got all our family out there cheering for us. Just the experience with two Ohio guys that I played AAU with for a number of years that people don't really even know about.
We knew each other for about six, seven years. It's definitely huge. No one ever expected us to be at the same school.
Q. Rayshawn, at times yesterday you guys had five guards on the court. Indiana's Cody Zeller, 7 feet tall, one of the best post players in the country. How do you handle him?
RAYSHAWN GOINS: We just execute our game plan, man. Execute our game plan. I'm going to try to do my work earlier, to limit those touches in. If he don't have the ball, then he can't score.
Q. I guess continuing on the theme of this small lineup, what has that done for you guys since you guys started playing small, going four guards, five guards at times? How has that made you a tougher matchup?
ANDRE NATION: I mean, we're just quick. It's like we use our quickness to our advantage, and we've got the big fella in the middle taking up space. It allows us to play a little bit faster, and Ray can get up and down the court with us.
We've got a quickness advantage. We're more athletic playing with four guards because we've got a lot of athletic guards. So I think it makes us more athletic.
And then with the big fella in the middle taking up space, it's kind of hard to guard us.
Q. Going in knowing the size difference, are you guys going to try to use this quickness and speed that you've done all season, or are you going to try to match up size‑wise as best as you can?
ANDRE NATION: I think we're going to ‑‑ I don't think we're going to change up anything that we've been doing. What we've been doing has been working. I think we're going to still kind of use kind of a couple guards.
We've got big guards. So I think we're going to stay with the same game plan we've been using. We're on a five‑game winning streak, something like that. What we've been doing has been working. So I don't think we're going to be changing anything.
Q. You guys mentioned the game plan a lot. How much confidence do you have in your coach in devising a game plan that can kind of put you guys over the top?
DEVON MOORE: He got us here. So we've got a lot of confidence in our coaching staff and what they've been doing. They work hard every game to prepare us for us to go out there and do our best.
We're definitely excited, and we know that they're doing all they can to get us ready for this game.
Q. This is for Devon. As a redshirt senior, do you think you have any kind of advantage over Yogi Ferrell? He's a freshman guard.
DEVON MOORE: Yogi's a great guard. He's young, but at the same time, he's playing in a great league, and he played against some great guards.
He definitely has been at this stage before because he's playing at Indiana, but me, I'm just trying to do the best I can do against him and try to contain him and see where I go from there.
Q. When you guys played Northeastern, the buzz word was attack. Coach kept putting on a white board and telling you attack, attack, attack. Was there a word like that for last night's game, and has he kind of sent a message for Friday's game?
RAYSHAWN GOINS: Definitely, man. We're going to attack them as much as possible and try to get them in foul trouble. We know their bench isn't as strong.
We're just going to attack them and guard them and play our best basketball.
Q. What did Andre bring to this team defensively? What were your guys' initial impressions of him when you guys met him last year?
DEVON MOORE: Just his length and his hard nose. You don't get a freshman that wants to play defense. Usually you've got a freshman that just wants to come in and score.
He actually wants to stick the best player, and he actually wants to dive on the floor for loose balls or take a charge or get a block. It's just amazing to just see his will at a young age.
So if he definitely keep doing it, it's going to show that he definitely is going to be by far one of the best defensive players in this conference and on our team.
A.J. DAVIS: Just coming in and seeing him as a freshman wanting to go get in the trenches and fight with the big guys, the upperclassmen. He's one of those guys that didn't want to back down from day one, and that really impressed me when I first met him.
Q. Guys, talk, if you will, about the journey, about the season against UCLA, one of the legendary programs. Your next game is against another legendary program, Indiana. Personally and as a team, talk about what journey's been like for each one of you.
ANDRE NATION: At the beginning of the season, we had our ups and downs. We battled adversity the whole year. I don't think we really were in sync at the beginning of the year. It's just like now ‑‑ we spend a lot of time off the court with each other.
Now our chemistry is unbelievable, man. We consider everybody on our team as brothers. We're like one big family.
So the journey had its ups and downs, but like I said, we're blessed to be here, man. This is a great opportunity for us. I wouldn't want to do it with anybody else.
RAYSHAWN GOINS: For me, man, as a senior, it's amazing. Words can't explain the journey, man. Like I said, we had our bumps. At the beginning of the season, we started off, and everybody counts us off.
That's the great thing about March. It's not how you start, it's how you finish. So we're peaking at the right time.
DEVON MOORE: It's just exciting. I mean, like everybody else said, we had our bumps in the road, but for the most part, just to see how we're coming together at the last stage is amazing. Like Andre said, we consider each other brothers, and just to see one another grow and see one another have each other's back, that's amazing to me, man.
Everything that we've been through is finally starting to just come to a peak, and it's a great feeling because we're going out definitely with a bang.
A.J. DAVIS: We continue to fight and push each other day in and day out on and off the court. It's just humbling to be here.
Q. Similar kind of question. Last year at this time, the first day of the NCAA Tournament, do you guys remember where you were? Were you watching games? Obviously, Nation, you weren't in college yet. Rayshawn was hurt. You guys just finished a pretty disappointing year.
A.J. DAVIS: I mean, after losing the CAA last year, I really didn't want to watch anything that had to do with basketball because my season was over. But at the end, it humbled me and got me back to work for this year.
DEVON MOORE: I probably was in Columbus. I definitely wasn't watching basketball, though. I was probably either working out or enjoying my time with my family. But I definitely wasn't watching basketball.
RAYSHAWN GOINS: Me myself, I had a torn ligament. So I probably was somewhere in the training room, get some treatment, doing some rehab. I'm sure I wasn't watching basketball because it was like a sickening feeling knowing I was hurt and I wasn't able to help my team last year. I probably was getting some treatment.
ANDRE NATION: I was probably laying on the couch watching basketball. I was probably laying on the couch, eating a Hot Pocket or something.
I always watch March Madness, man. It's just a good time for basketball. I'm pretty sure I was watching basketball at that time.
Q. What kind of Hot Pocket?
ANDRE NATION: The pepperoni one, man. Pepperoni and cheese, all day, every day.
Q. How relaxed do you guys think you are on this journey, and how much of an advantage do you think this is helping you throughout the week?
ANDRE NATION: I think we're very relaxed. We didn't come here ‑‑ and we didn't change how we act. We got a lot of goofballs on the team, man. We just want to keep that.
Like I told them, I don't feel like the pressure is on us. I think we're really relaxed.
Q. Who's the biggest goofball?
ANDRE NATION: Oh, man. Arman Marks or Charles Cooke. One of the two. I'm going to go with Charles Cooke, though. I'm going to go Charles Cooke.
RAYSHAWN GOINS: The biggest thing for us is just enjoying the experience, man, having fun. A lot of people don't get to experience this.
We came in, we're being ourself, man. The pressure ain't on us. They're the No. 1 team in the country. We're just going to go out and play our best basketball.
DEVON MOORE: Just enjoying this moment. It's the same thing that we've been doing. Just having fun and being blessed to be here.
A.J. DAVIS: Just to piggy‑back on my teammates, this is a blessing to be here. Coach is telling us all year continue to do us and stay within our character.
Q. Rayshawn, you just said the pressure is on them, but for any of you guys, is there two or three things you need to do well to stay competitive in this game?
RAYSHAWN GOINS: Definitely. Everyone knows their role and plays their role well, box out and keep them out of transition.
And attack them. We're going to attack them, man, from the beginning. Attack is a big word we've been using in our film session. We're just going to attack them and try to get them in foul trouble so that way they'll be forced to use their bench.
Q. Seniors, you're all ready to graduate in May, is that correct?
RAYSHAWN GOINS: Yes.
Q. Go back to when you started. With Ray, you were a transfer from Cincinnati State; A.J., from Wyoming; Devon has been here through the five years. Could you look back and see what surprises you, what amazed you, what's disappointed you over the five years or three years or two years?
A.J. DAVIS: Just talking and being a college basketball player, period, just wanting to be here. This is what you play basketball for, to win a championship, to be in an NCAA Tournament. The journey that I've been on with these two guys and just knowing them for years that we've been playing basketball is just amazing.
DEVON MOORE: Me, ups and downs. The highs and the lows definitely, but I wouldn't take it any other way. I definitely enjoy that university, and I'm definitely going to miss it.
It's a second home to me. I've got great people that I met, and I'm just thankful to be here and thankful to be a part of it. I wouldn't trade it for nothing in the world. I'm definitely thankful for the opportunity I got there.
RAYSHAWN GOINS: For me, it's a blessing to be here, to be a Division I basketball player because I went the hard route. I went to junior college, and a lot of people don't make it out of junior college. A lot of people come out of high school, and you see friends that you played against and players you played against go Division I right away. And when you go to junior college, a lot of people count you out.
So I just kind of had to grind it out. It's a blessing to be at James Madison University, experiencing it with our seniors and young group of guys, man. Words can't explain it. It's unbelievable.
Q. Devon, I know you said the other day you walked in the class, and everyone in class just started cheering. All you guys, just talk about how much the school getting behind you guys, especially in the last couple weeks, has meant on this journey.
DEVON MOORE: They definitely embraced us this year, knowing that we were having a great season, but just these last couple weeks have just been great.
Walking around campus, they already knew who you was, but just seeing all the support from JMU Nation. And when we won the CAA championship, we had 15 buses come down there. It's a great feeling knowing you got your school behind you. I'm definitely grateful for JMU Nation and the people that take the time out to come watch us play.
A.J. DAVIS: It's just a blessing to see them travel wherever we go from home to away. Just having the fan base here, it's a blessing that they're supporting us.
RAYSHAWN GOINS: It's history, man. A lot of them guys that attend James Madison University, they're just glad they're part of history. It's been 19 years since JMU has been to the NCAA Tournament. It's a blessing, man.
JMU Nation, they're the best, man. Shout out to our pep band. They travel. They're loud all the time. Without our fans, it wouldn't be possible. We thank JMU Nation.
ANDRE NATION: Just piggy‑backing off what he said. The pep band, I talk to a lot of them on the pep band, so shout out to them. Shout out to the cheerleaders. Shout out to everybody at JMU. They just come and support us.
We get a lot of love. We were already getting love before, and now it's like we get even more love. Like I said, we love JMU Nation.
Q. First, for Devon, you were the one guy who's always been in Coach Brady's corner. Wondering if you kind of think and reflect from his point of view what it's been like from last year to this year and what he's done for you, why have you always been in his corner?
DEVON MOORE: First and foremost, he gave me an opportunity to play here. So I'm definitely thankful for that. And on top of that, just he's a great coach, great guy.
I would never want nothing wrong, nothing bad to happen to somebody like that.
You're going to have hard years, and you're going to have a bad season, but at the same time, just showing everything that he's doing, how he always has faith in me is unbelievable. So I don't have no choice not to be in his corner.
Q. For A.J., much has been made of your relationship with Coach obviously. Was there a point in the season when you gained trust in him?
A.J. DAVIS: It wasn't more about me or him, it was just about our team, the focus we wanted to go on. So in order for that to come, we had to come to see eye to eye. That's what we've been doing.
Q. Do you remember when you saw eye to eye?
A.J. DAVIS: I can't really recall.
THE MODERATOR: A.J., Devon, Rayshawn, and Andre, thank you for your time. Good luck tomorrow.
Next we'll be joined by the head coach of James Madison University, Matt Brady. We'll start with an opening statement and then open the floor for questions.
COACH BRADY: We're excited to be back here again and have the opportunity to play another game. I thought that our team played well, especially in spots last night against a talented LIU team that can really score.
We did what we had to do, which was defend, and held them to a season low in points, and we kept them off the free‑throw line. I thought that we played ‑‑ other than the last four minutes of the first half, I thought that we played with really good poise and good shot selection.
Q. Just what's the confidence level of this team heading into the matchup against a top seed?
COACH BRADY: Strangely, it's probably pretty high. I think it's not unrealistic. We recognize ‑‑ the kids recognize that we're playing a great basketball team. We met for a while this morning and showed them some tape, and I can tell you, with all honesty, it's the first time that every guy in the room was locked on the tape and not distracted for any length of time.
So it's a focused team. It is a confident team. But as I've said to the team, we're going to have to play great, and we're going to have to hope that they don't play great. That's the nature of the game at this level when it's a 16 playing a 1. Indiana is a great basketball team.
But our kids, as I think you just noticed, they're having fun, which is really what this is about, the kids having fun, and hopefully we'll play our best basketball.
Q. Coach, how confident are you that you guys can break a streak that's almost 30 years old with a 16 beating a 1?
COACH BRADY: Here's what I just said to our team: We have to be in the game with ten minutes to play, and we're not going to win the game in the first four minutes no matter how well we play and how well we shoot. You're not going to win ‑‑ you're not going to beat Indiana or any other 1 seed in the first five or ten minutes.
You're not going to win it in the first 20 minutes, but you've got to put yourself in position to be in the game late.
So we're going to have to play really well. We're going to have to play really smart. And we're going to have to do some things we haven't done all season long to answer their strengths, and I think they've got some remarkable strengths.
I know what I've said to our team is in the last ten minutes, if you're within striking range, then you've got a chance because the pressure can ‑‑ I'm not saying that it will, but it can shift a little bit when you're a 1 seed playing your first game in the NCAA Tournament with the season.
Q. A couple of your guys were talking about the joys of playing with five guards. A couple times last night you had five guards on the court.
COACH BRADY: Rayshawn wasn't one of the guys talking about the joys of that, right?
Q. He was not. Cody Zeller is 7 feet tall. That might present a problem with that. What do you foresee with that?
COACH BRADY: I don't think we'll play five guards. The fact of the matter is we do some of that in our own league because we'll play against teams with a 4 man that's 6'6", 6'7". That's not the case tomorrow.
We have younger guys that we play at 4 and 5, and they will play. I don't know how much they'll play. It's important that we're able to keep Ray in the game, either at 4 or at 5, but we will not be five guards. If we do, that's not a good sign for my team.
Q. You mentioned just staying in the game the entire time. If you get down 10 or 15 early, what's the message to the kids to kind of stick with it?
COACH BRADY: If that's the number, we've done that a lot this year, and we've come back and won. We haven't done it against the likes of this team that we're playing tomorrow.
What I tell my team every game, especially on the road, is we can get down and face adversity, but it's going to take strong character and teamwork to continue to do the things that we've talked about and the things that we've worked on all season.
So the message really won't be different. We're going to have to continue to do the things that we do well, and we'll have to do some other things really well that maybe we haven't done well up until this point.
But I'll say to my team tomorrow in the locker room, and I'll say it to them at the end of this shoot around, that we'll face adversity tomorrow. There's no doubt we're going to face adversity. I don't anticipate us winning this game wire to wire.
So we're going to be looking at a deficit at some point. That's the reality of it. We're playing a great basketball team. We're going to have to make shots. We're going to have to rebound. We're going to have to do some things to defend the lane because of their size and athletic ability and the fact that they're so well‑coached, they punch the ball in the lane a lot of different ways.
So we'll have to play well for the game, for the duration of the game, and we can't have a five‑ or six‑minute spell where we play very poorly.
Q. Coach, Ray said that they were going to attack, try to get them in foul trouble early. Are there any small areas that you see that you all could exploit strategy‑wise to play in your favor?
COACH BRADY: To be honest with you, no, I don't. These guys may feel like there are areas where we can exploit. Indiana's the No. 1 team in the country for a reason. They're a phenomenal basketball conference.
There's nothing we can do to them that they have not seen and Tom has not prepared his team for. This really comes down to the fact that we've got to play with confidence and we've got to play smart, and we've got to take away a few things.
I'm not walking into this game saying, here's where we have a strength relative to their team. I have great respect for their team. But we'll figure it out between the lines for 40 minutes tomorrow.
We're going to have to play really well. My team knows that. We've explained it to them. But you've seen, they are confident. They're not going to be in fear.
We did play UCLA earlier this year, I think in a game where they played phenomenally well, and we got handled easily. So we have a reference point for this game.
Q. I'm sure you haven't done much sightseeing or anything, but what's your first experience in the NCAA Tournament been like, and also to have your kids here and just the experience that they have? Are they old enough to really appreciate it?
COACH BRADY: My kids are old enough to appreciate it. I have a 12‑year‑old boy and twin boys that are 9. My twins have been sick the entire time they've been here. They came to the game and they were sick right up until the end. They're better today. I hope they'll enjoy it tomorrow.
It's been a great experience for me as a head coach. I've said this the whole time I've been a head coach. I do really mean this. I coach because I love being around the kids, and I think that I can help kids get better at basketball. I think I have an opportunity everywhere I've been to help kids individually get better, offensively especially, and skill development.
I like to see kids do really, really well. That's why I'm proud of these guys. They've gotten better individually and as a team obviously in their time at JMU.
I played college basketball. I loved it. It was great. I miss playing. I'm an old guy. I got hurt last year trying to play with my own team.
But this is really for the players. It's really not about coaches. This is my livelihood. I love what I do. I hope I can do it for a long time. This is really our players' opportunity to experience a once‑in‑a‑lifetime opportunity that they'll never forget.
I think they've enjoyed it. I sat in there at the halftime last night and was very unemotional with our guys, telling them, really pleading with them to play their best basketball because I wanted them to get the opportunity to play this team tomorrow, and I think you can see now they're joyous about it.
They're not overwhelmed by it, but they're excited about it, as well they should be. Every young kid grows up trying to play in this tournament on this stage.
Q. Matt, so much is being made of Cody Zeller and his size in the post. Conversely, Indiana's primary guards are relatively normal sized, Yogi and Hulls. Do you perhaps allow yourself a little bit of a tactical advantage with Devon out there?
COACH BRADY: We have to do some things to try and offset the great size. Not just for him, but Watford goes into the post a number of times and posts up, and Oladipo goes into the post a number of times and posts.
We have to make sure we're not in single coverage in the post. We have to make sure they're shooting more perimeter shots than post‑ups. That's not a theory here. I think every one of us in the audience would say the same thing.
How you do it and how you execute it is really the key. Whether or not we're able to execute a game plan on a one‑game prep for one of the most efficient low post players in college basketball is a challenge for our team. That for me will be the story for the game, if we can negate the size, not just Zeller, but the other guys they have, and still not give up too many free shots on the perimeter.
The thing with their size on the perimeter with the two guards, Ferrell and Hulls, is that Hulls is a remarkable shooter. So you think you're going to almost have to pick your poison.
We'll have a game plan, and we'll pick a poison and try to figure out who we want them to shoot the ball to beat us.
Q. Coach, how are you going to use Andre with his length and quickness on the defensive end? Are you thinking about him and Oladipo being a good matchup by chance?
COACH BRADY: I think that's probably the primary matchup to start. We'll do some switching, but, again, I don't know ‑‑ I think we switch a lot of times with teams at our level and our league, and it creates some problems because we are longer and quicker. Quicker, especially, I think, than some of the teams in our league.
But I don't know that we have the same strength here in this game. We do have to make sure we keep them in front of us. So the switching is more a nod to their skill. We have to keep them in front of us all game long.
Andre Nation obviously is a terrific defensive player, and he's playing against a great player.
Q. Are there any challenges to coaching a team without a contract, a long‑term contract guarantee? Are you confident you'll be back next year?
COACH BRADY: To be honest with you, I haven't given it a lot of thought, the contract thing. I've coached in this situation all year long.
My family went through this and has been great about it. It is a family thing. So it's not just me that this has affected.
But really, to me, this is a dream for me to be in the NCAA Tournament as a first‑time head coach and plan to coach against a guy that's rebuilt his program in a remarkable fashion and done it with such speed and done it with so many quality players and quality kids in his program. That's our only focus.
Everything else ‑‑ I say this all the time and have said it all year: Everything else will work itself out. I'll be coaching somewhere.
Q. Do you and Tom have any sort of relationship? I mean, how long have you known him at all? I know the coaching circles are tight.
COACH BRADY: It's a small community, and I was pleased a couple summers ago that he knew who I was. I'm just a young guy at JMU, and before that, another school.
But everybody seems to know each other. So, yeah, we know each other. We're not friends, but there's a lot of good people in this business, and I have the most respect for guys like him who have built a program that will sustain now itself for decades.
Q. When did he recognize you?
COACH BRADY: At an AAU Tournament a couple of summers ago somewhere, we got talking for a few minutes. We were actually exchanging notes on a player that he was recruiting, someone that I had some awareness of.
That's kind of how it goes. That's how you get to know people in this business, quite truthfully. You get to know them through recruiting, and you get to know people at basketball seminars. You bump into people at the Final Four or conventions.
Q. Coach, have you ever gone through a situation like you have with Devon Moore this year, having a kid have to go through this and dealing with his mom's illness the way he has from so far away?
COACH BRADY: You know, in coaching, when you're in this business long enough where you have players, whether as an assistant coach, like I was for years, or a head coach, you're going to have kids lose people who are close to them.
You really hope it’s not going to happen while they're in college. It's one of the most difficult things for a young kid to lose a parent or a sibling. He's lost a lot of people close to him. I feel great that his mother is still here and doing really well, but really this is a testament to his fortitude and really the love that's in his family.
He's got a remarkable family, and they support each other. They're with him all the time. They talk on a daily basis. That's the reason why he's become such a terrific young person.
Q. Just what's it meant to have Devon be a part of this? Considering he was there when you got here. He was part of the class that sort of started for you. To have him, all he's been through with himself and also with his mom, just having him be a part of this.
COACH BRADY: That's who I'm most happy for. I'm happy for the seniors. And the other guy that can't be a part of this, one of our best players we're playing without, is Andrey Semenov, who came in with me five years ago who's had a very similar injury‑plagued career, got injured this year. I think he's one of the best pick‑and‑pop 4 men in college basketball in terms of shooting the ball. There's not many guys who shoot the ball better than Andrey Semenov.
He's with us and traveling. It's not something that's easy for him to watch the team, but he's really happy for our team.
For Devon to go through the ups and downs and to persevere, I say to our team all the time there's a lot of life lessons in college athletics, and it's not always on the court. You have to go through adversity to achieve some things. This team has found it out.
Even this year we've had a lot of guys injured. We just lost Gene Swindle to a knee injury. Devon has gone through as much as any player I've been through that's been able to still play at the end of his career. I've lost ‑‑ I've been around players that have been lost for their career. And Devon has had a lot of injuries.
But it's been great for Devon, and I probably feel happiest for him that he's been able to have such a significant impact on our program and to teach the young guys what it means to compete every day.
Q. The media time‑outs are a bit longer, and halftime is, I think, ten minutes longer.
COACH BRADY: Is the game shorter?
Q. I don't think so. I think it's 40. But does that make you want to go with a tighter rotation, or do you still kind of want to mix it up and keep Indiana guessing?
COACH BRADY: We're going to play a couple of the other bigger kids in this game. Taylor Bessick will certainly play more minutes. So our rotation will be similar, but it does help.
I think the longer time‑outs help us because we have so many young guys, and we play them a lot. The long time‑outs certainly help us.
But Taylor will play more in this game, and maybe Alioune might not play as much, or maybe he'll play more on the perimeter or as a small forward.
THE MODERATOR: Coach, thank you.
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