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NCAA MEN'S 1ST AND 2ND ROUNDS: PITTSBURGH

March 16, 2018

Mikal Bridges Phil Booth Jalen Brunson

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Q. Mikal, since you've been through this, can you talk about coming off redshirt season, how Omari, his trajectory from where he started in this tournament?
MIKAL BRIDGES: In the beginning Omari was a long way to go, he worked his way up. Became a real good defender, unbelievable rebounder. We all knew he could score. Him defending the rebound was a big thing helping the team be the best as we are right now.

Q. Jalen, I don't know how much film you've had a chance to watch from Alabama, but I wonder if I can get your impressions of Collin Sexton and what he brings to their team?
JALEN BRUNSON: He's a great player. He's the whole package for that team. I mean, it's not just him. They have all great pieces around them. And they're just one really good team and Collin does a great job being aggressive and getting his teammates involved. They all play the role pretty well.

Q. Does Alabama remind you of any team that you've played at all this year?
PHIL BOOTH: Yes, and no. A little bit of Providence with the length they have and athletic ability, how fast they are. They kind of actually remind me of Tennessee a little bit, too, strong and athletic and fast team. They are kind of similar to that. They bring a lot of athleticism with their length.

Q. I'm asking you to follow up on Collin. Because you have been considered to be the best point guard in college basketball this season. Collin is a obviously a potential top draft NBA pick. I wonder where you see the greatest differences in your styles of play. You're both good players but you're not the same players at all. Where those differences lie, how you embrace that talent going up against a talent like him?
JALEN BRUNSON: You said it pretty well. He's a great player. Obviously we're very different. He just -- all of that stuff really doesn't matter. I believe that he's a great player. He has a bright future ahead of him, and he's going to do a lot of great things. But it's really about Villanova versus Alabama. All of the individual match-ups -- I mean, that's great and all, but we're going to focus on playing Villanova basketball for 40 minutes.

Collin's a great player. The whole team is great. We've got to focus on playing 94 feet.

Q. This is for each one of you. How much basketball do you get to watch of the tournament while you're in it and what's your video highlight in your mind so far from what you've seen in the tournament this year so far?
PHIL BOOTH: We watch as much as we can when we're in the room. I mean, just turn on the TV. There's nothing but college basketball on. Not rooting for anybody, just watching basketball. There's all great games on. I mean, I watched, Michigan, Montana, Florida, St. Bonaventure's. It doesn't matter. Just interested in watching each one of these games, seeing teams in our conference playing; watching a little bit of the Providence game earlier.

Just tune into anything. We just love to watch the game of basketball.

MIKAL BRIDGES: Same thing. We're watching everybody, I'm more tuned into watching the Big East teams play, see how they go against other teams in different conference, stuff like that. Exactly what Booth said.

JALEN BRUNSON: As a basketball player, we watch basketball as much as we can. Interesting to see how the conference plays well especially in the tournament. It's fun to watch basketball whenever we can.

Q. For any of the guys, the championship in 2016 but, in three of the last four years, you haven't gotten by the second round. And I wondered how much of an impact that is on your minds or is it something you just don't think about? Is it something you talk about among yourselves or with the coach?
JALEN BRUNSON: Something that we rarely talk about. It's something that may cross my minds here and there. But I mean, we can't really be focused on that. We're a new team, new leader, different roles. It's all new to us. We just continue to sit together, not really worried about what's happened in the past, just focus on what we can control and playing hard for 40 minutes. That's all we ask do.

Q. As a number 1 seed, do you think sometimes it can be tough going into the second game from a momentum standpoint going against an 8 or 9 seed that more often than not is coming off a very competitive first-round game?
PHIL BOOTH: That's a good question, because that's one of the big things we talked about, how they came into a game, real close game against Virginia Tech. So definitely just something I have to adjust to, the little tip, the little speed in the game coming against them. Alabama is very good. Got a lot of athleticism. But it will be good to see how we come out tomorrow.

Q. Phil, can you talk about how Omari's evolution from there, and becoming inside presence, and has it changed this team as the season has gone on?
PHIL BOOTH: Omari is one of the biggest parts of our teams, one of the most important players, I feel like. We're constantly in his ear as a young dude. The progression he's made over this year has been tremendous, especially being so young as he is. And things we picked up on, we go as he goes, how he defends, rebounds, the way to shoot the ball on the other side dominates our team. He's done a lot of great things. We constantly staying on him because we know how important he is to this team.

Q. What did you guys take away from that Tennessee game? Is there anything you can apply to that? You kind of compared Alabama to Tennessee here earlier.
MIKAL BRIDGES: They're physical and fast, too, I think that's how it is in the SEC. All physical and they are all fast. They play well together. They defend real hard. So, it's going to be a battle tonight, tomorrow and we're going to be ready.

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