Q: Coach, obviously a game of runs, they just put the last run together.
Steve Alford: The end of both the first half and second half, I think the 19 turnovers caught up with us, and then our inability to finish a defensive stop, give up 14 offensive rebounds. When it's all said and done, one team got 19 more shots than the other team. When you're on a neutral floor in a big stage setting like this, you give the other team 19 more shots, that's difficult to overcome.
Q: How about the seniors, obviously disappointed and frustrated, they really did bring this program back.
Alford: They just did a phenomenal job in every area. In the classroom, in the community, on and off the floor they've been brilliant. You hate to see them go out like this, a last second shot, they'll play this every March now, that shot will be played. That's the unfortunate thing. Second most wins in school history. They've done a lot of positive things. Their legacy, as I've said for the last couple weeks, will live on beyond this, because of the impact they've had on our young guys.
Q: How hard is it knowing you'll have to say goodbye to these guys?
Alford: It's very difficult. Those guys are hard to replace. You're talking about a couple all big ten selections, you're talking about the 6th man of the year, you're talking about the defensive player of the year, and what Justin's done with is leadership and the way he worked in practice. Those aren't an easy 5 to replace.
Q: (A question on the style of play in the 2nd half)
Alford: I thought both halves were very similar. We get good double digit leads early in both halves, 10 minutes to go in each half, they're in control of things, then turnovers, being careless with the basketball and our inability to finish a stop, get the loose ball rebound, eventually caught us in the 2nd half.
Q: Teams obviously step it up in this tournament, but did the tenacity of this team surprise you at all, especially when you got that 2nd half 15 point lead?
Alford: No, no. We knew they were a very good basketball team. They've won in the PAC, they've won in the SEC< they've won in the Big 12. We have the utmost respect for this program. Coach does a great job, they won 16 out of 17 games, they're on as good a run as anybody in the country right now, they play with a lot of energy. I thought our guys played hard. We held them to 38% shooting, and we did a lot of good things, but we just couldn't overcome the biggest hurdle of 19 more shots than what we got.
Q: Can you guarantee you'll be back at Iowa next year?
Alford: My whole energy and focus has been on these kids and this team. I haven't thought one thing about my future other than now I'll start planning of what we have to do to try and replace 5 unbelievable kids. That's the hardest thing to do right now and that's what's on my mind.
Q: One other question, I'm sure you don't want to answer it either. But do you want a contract extension, would you accept a contract extension?
Alford: That's the next thing. We always wait till the end of the season to evaluate. I'm sure Bob and I will sit down and have those talks here soon. Right now it's not something I'm even thinking about.