NCAA Seattle 3rd Round: Northern Iowa

Northern Iowa head coach Ben Jacobson and players Seth Tuttle and Nate Buss talk about the Panthers 66-53 loss to Louisville in the third round of the NCAA Tournament in Seattle......

THE MODERATOR: We'll get started. Coach, start off, please.

COACH JACOBSON: Thanks. Well, boy, we battled hard to grab ahold of the momentum tonight and we just couldn't do it. A lot to or all to do with Louisville and the way in which they went about their business and the game tonight. They deserve a ton of credit for that. They had us out of rhythm a little bit with our offense in that stretch in the first half and that slowed us down. It hurt us. They played with good pace on offense and they got some stuff that we felt like we maybe could take away tonight. But they got to it. So, from top to bottom, they deserve a lot of credit, because man, I love our team and that's -- we did a couple things that we haven't done for a while, and I think that credit goes to Louisville. Because we got tough guys and we made a few mistakes tonight.

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Coach and Seth, can you discuss the job that they did on you, Seth, on the inside? And, Coach, just the challenges that their defense presented?
SETH TUTTLE: Yeah, they got some really good, long, athletic guys in there, and they are extremely physical. They did a great job for the most part not letting me get anything easy. It basically kept up for 40 minutes. Like Coach said, all the credit goes to those guys.

COACH JACOBSON: They -- we got off to a good start and we found some openings against that zone so that the start was exactly what we had hoped for from a game plan standpoint. We found Seth in the middle and he found teammates and we scored and had the momentum to begin the basketball game. They made a really good adjustment and started to follow some guys through when they were in their zone. I didn't adjust soon enough. That hurt us, the fact that I didn't adjust soon enough and find some different ways to get Seth the ball. In the second half, they got some -- we got some more touches with Seth and Nate, and I needed to do that sooner.

Q. Coach and for Seth, how much did that zone look like a man because the way they were following and how much maybe were you calling man plays when it was actually a zone defense?
COACH JACOBSON: We were running a lot of our zone offense in the first half, and one of the actions can be run against man or zone so that we didn't have to try to figure out what they were in. That -- we talked about that a lot, that we weren't going to try to figure out if they were in man or zone. If it was really obvious, then we would run this or this. But, otherwise, we're just going to play and be in these actions. And, again, at the start I think that really helped us because our guys were just playing and weren't thinking. When they adjusted and started to run through a little bit, I don't think they went to man, but they ran through with some cutters. I needed to get us switched into something that would attack a little more, overload a side, attack a little more inside. So that's -- again, that's on me for not adjusting quite soon enough.

Q. Coach, how many different defenses did you see in -- it looks like they went three quarter and then full court. Did that give the guards some trouble and the shot clock down to like 24 most of the time?
COACH JACOBSON: Yeah, you know, they didn't press as much tonight as they have. As maybe they normally do or at least what I saw on tape. So the press didn't, I don't think, impact us. It was the court to court defense. It's two, three zone, it's kind of a matchup, or it's straight man. So they have got some different ways that they can play the zone or they can go with the straight man. And that can be a challenge. Again, as I said, we were good out of the gates, and we got stuck a little bit. I needed to get us adjusted to some overload stuff or some things that would get it to the block, as we saw in the second half. We were a better offensive team in the second half and I just needed to help our guys a little bit more.

Q. Seth, obviously emotional for you. When did it hit you that this one was over?
SETH TUTTLE: When I got subbed out. You know, it was that moment that I just was walking over and I was going to give Coach a hug and tell him I love him and, you know, it's been a good run, a great season. We made a lot of memories.

Q. Seth, just talk about clearly the tallest team, just size they bring that you've probably seen all season. You kept attacking it, but how did that impact the game, their height?
SETH TUTTLE: Yeah, it takes away anything easy at the rim. Deon or Wes will get there, and even if they blow past one guy, there's going to be another guy rotating. And obviously that's how they play, and they do it really well. It's just they change a lot of shots at the rim. You don't get much easy.

Q. Coach, you got a bucket like with about 17 1/2 left in the game, and then you called a timeout and you got very fired up. Can you tell us what happened right there?
COACH JACOBSON: We talked at halftime about playing the way that -- with the discipline that we have played with all year. These guys have taken tremendous ownership of our team, of their team. We have got five seniors that have been off the charts in terms of their leadership, and we have played a certain way because of that. In the first half, we made four or five plays that went against the way in which we have done things for a long time this year and for most games, most of the season. We talked about that at halftime. The first two defensive plays of the second half we made mistakes. So I just wanted to make sure that our guys gave themselves every opportunity to win this game. I didn't want any more mistakes that we have control over for their sake so that they had every opportunity to win. And that was my message. Boy, we got close enough a couple times. We had Jesperson hit an open three, Nate had an open three, we had a run out, boy, we had chances to get it down to four or five, and we all saw it. So, we fought and got back in it. That's the only thing I wanted coming out of that timeout.

Q. Nate, with what Jake just said, I've seen you make big shots this year, but tonight they just weren't falling for you. You had a couple opportunities. How different is it if you can get it to a four- or five-point game?
NATE BUSS: Yeah, we were just -- Coach made a lot of great decisions at the end of the game as far as our offense goes. We were getting a lot of open looks. Nine times out of ten I'll make most of those shots. But, I don't know, they just -- like he said, they just weren't falling.

Q. Nate and Coach, what would you see as the legacy of this team or the one word or thing that this group accomplished, whether consistency or whatnot, that you will remember from this time? Nate and coach.
NATE BUSS: I think we just kind of set a standard for work ethic for this team. You can see it from everybody, not just the five seniors, how hard everybody works on and off the court, everybody setting the standard not only for themselves but for their teammates. You know that for the years to come, every time you walk into the gym in Cedar Falls at Northern Iowa you're going to see guys working, whether it's a red shirt or a senior, they're going to be in the gym getting their shots up, they're going to be in the weight room working as hard as they possibly can. And I think that's a standard that's going to be continued for years to come.

COACH JACOBSON: Yeah, I would -- the thing that I'm most proud of is the way in which these five guys carry themselves. With all of the success that we have had this year, they haven't changed at all in terms of who they are and what they stand for and how they represent their families and represent our program and our school, and that's what I'm most proud of. From a basketball standpoint within our program, they raised the bar again. I love them for that. We have had a lot of good things happen at Northern Iowa in our men's basketball program, and these guys raised the bar one more time. That's hard to do with some of the things we have done, but they did it. And it took a lot of sacrifice, and I'm really, really proud of them for that.

Q. With all that you just said, Coach, how do you use that and catapult -- you got a good core coming back next year -- catapult this success into future years?
COACH JACOBSON: The only way to raise the bar as these guys did is have somebody do something really good before them. And we did that in 2010 and they had to have somebody do it before them, right? And we could keep going back. That's how you do it, that's how your program continues to get to new heights. So, everybody that's been around our program and all the kids we -- all the young guys and families we're recruiting right now, they just saw the best entire season. We didn't get to the Sweet 16, so that's the only thing we didn't match. But they just saw the best four months of basketball our program's ever had, and that's saying a lot. So these guys, man, I love them. Absolutely love them.

THE MODERATOR: All right, thank you.

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