You fought and clawed your way in this game only to come up short. What is on your mind right now?
We played a good game, they just made a lucky shot at the end. But, hey, it went in and that is the way it goes.
What will the next 24 hours be like for you?
We know that we are going to play in the postseason somewhere. Our hopes are with the NCAA Tournament, but if not we will play our best in the NIT, too.
Talk about your play here in the Big Ten Tournament.
I thought I was contributing on both ends of the court. The major thing was just my confidence level. I think I just played a little more confident than in the regular season.
What brings on that confidence?
You could say hitting shots. It works both ways, on both ends of the court. I get confidence on offense from a made shot, on defense with a turnover.
It was a tough game out there today – what lesson is learned from this?
It was a hard fought battle. Sometimes things just do not go your way. We will just keep fighting hard no matter what tournament we are in, the NCAA's or NIT. It is just a matter of dressing up and being ready for battle.
Do you listen to what people on the TV/Radio or Internet/print media say regarding Iowa's chances to play in the NCAA Tournament?
If I am listening to the radio, I am listening to my CDs. I am not really a big TV guy, but I am watching SportsCenter. I am just here to play on my team, not really worrying about what other teams are doing. I am not really a sports watching guy when it comes to TV. I just focus on the next team when we play them.
You are not really worried about where you play next week – so long as you play?
I would love it to be in the NCAA, but if it the NIT we are going to come to play. We are now playing every game like its' our last because it is our last. If it is the NCAA, that is what we want and what we have worked for. We are going to give it our all no matter who, what, or where it is.
What is going through you mind after a game like this?
As a team, we are now playing with anyone. We are reading all of this stuff in the papers and listening to people on TV saying we could not play with Michigan State or Wisconsin. Basically, we have no chance in winning before the game starts. So, we beat MSU and came out and had this game all but won. We did not get it done, but we can play with anyone.
So, are your thoughts all postseason focused?
Actually, that is the only thing on my mind right now. It is going to be on our minds until we find out on Sunday. We are dying to get into that tournament (the NCAA), it would be the first for any of us in this room. That is the main goal for all of us, and the goal of just winning the Big Ten Tournament. That way you put to sleep any doubts, now we have to sleep with it.
Playing with #22 Wisconsin and beating #10 Michigan State has to give you all a world of confidence.
When you can do that, play with the #10 and number twenty-whatever ranked teams, you earn respect and point with the Tournament committee. We were right there today only to lose at the last second. I think that makes us look that much better to them (the NCAA Tournament Committee).
Is your game reaching a high level of confidence right now?
Actually, it is at a high level right now. I am just trying to build confidence for myself and from my teammates. If they do not have confidence in me than it is tough to get it for myself to play well. It is huge to my confidence to have a great game against a guy like Mike Wilkinson, he is a great player. I am lifted up even more, but not too much because it is not about me.
Another tough one today – do these close games ever start to get to you?
There is not much you can take from this other than to learn from mistakes. I think we really battled hard and obviously never gave up. You get down ten points it makes you fight even harder. I think our efforts will hopefully get us in the NCAA by tomorrow at this time. If you look at our losses, we have not been getting blown out. I think if you add the total of all our Big Ten regular season losses it comes up to like 50 points – and that is not much.
Do you pay much attention to the pre-Tournament predictions and prognosticators?
I think we listen a little bit and would lying if we said we did not. I know Jeff and I are rooming together this weekend and always watching to see who is winning and losing. We always like to see some of the other bubble teams get knocked out. Of course we are looking at some of that stuff, but the main thing is to keep winning and battling. Then, come Selection Sunday everything will be there for us. Let's hope, right? (smiles)
The final six games have got to give the team a world of confidence.
Again, if you look at our losses and all of our games we are not getting blown out. We have lost by two here or 3 there. We just have been executing better of late and it is evident when you win five games in a row. It just did not go our way today.
Does playing this well against a physical, ball control team like Wisconsin give you even more confidence as a team?
I think we played Illinois two close games, we played Wisconsin close two times. This shows we can play with anybody. Like I said before, there have not been any teams that have just blown us out of a gym. We got that kind of confidence going for us and hopefully they give us a chance to play in the Big Tourney come next Thursday or Friday.
What does this game teach for a lesson to the team?
We came to this tournament and fought tooth and nail. It is so hard to get beat on a buzzer shot. When a guy is fading away, jumping back into another player and then banks it in – that is kind of tough to swallow.
Do you think you guys have done enough to get into the NCAA Tournament?
I think we are kind of sitting in a purgatory right now. I think our schedule is very strong, and that we have done enough. It is not in our hands, so we are just going to pray that everything goes our way. I think we made a strong effort and showed we can play. You look at our entire season and we have not had one game where we have not shown up.
Did you already have in your mind "hey, it is overtime"?
I thought that, of course. I thought we were set to win it in OT. They were in worse foul trouble than we were so I thought that it was ours to win. Looking back at it, I wish I would have caught that rebound and waited a little longer before putting it back in. That is something you can never do, it is a tough one.
Will you get much sleep over the next 20-24 hours?
I was saying to Coach and Jeff before we went to the press room that it will be like hell just sitting here and waiting that 24 hours to find things out. Waiting until 5:00pm tomorrow to hear our name is going to be hard. Sunday is not going to be a fun day at all.
What did Coach say to you all after the game?
He was proud of us. He is proud of us, the coaches, and the fans. Everyone is jumping back on the bandwagon and it has helped motivate us and push us through these past few games. It has strengthened the belief in ourselves and inspired us.
What was your view of that last possession?
I think I was in like the first row of the stands. We run that a lot in practice and it is a good play. It worked well, Adam had a great look and it just did not go down. But Bru put it back in and we thought overtime was going to happen then. The other team gets so consumed with where I am going that it opens up Erek or Adam's defender. It is pretty much if they guard Adam then I will throw it to Erek.
Is that like a one-handed pass or what?
It is pretty much a baseball pass. I played quarterback in high school and that helped.
How long can the next twenty-four hours feel?
I guess not long enough for what it feels like. I just want it to be over and done with, but unfortunately we do not find out until 5:00 tomorrow night. Hopefully, it will be a good feeling after that.
Have you done enough to get in?
We beat the #10 team in the country last night. We come in and lose to the #23 team on a buzzer beater and there was a lot of luck in that.
Will you get much sleep this evening?
Well, if I was not so tired from playing – probably not at all. I will stare at the ceiling in my hotel room and just think about what might have been and what will or could be.