Crean & Co. Talk About Notre Dame

As Marquette prepares to head into South Bend to take on Notre Dame on Saturday, Tom Crean, Dominic James, Jerel McNeal and Wesley Matthews spoke to the media about the upcoming showdown.



Head Coach Tom Crean

On Notre Dame Guard Russell Carter:
"He's an outstanding offensive player. Very aggressive offensively. Great range. Somewhat streaky but he can get on a real roll. I think if you look at his numbers from where he's been from his freshman year to his senior year, he's made a ton of progress. He started his freshman year averaging two to three points a game and now his senior year he's up to 17 or 18 points per game. That's very impressive."

On Jerel McNeal's improved shooting:
"It's a combination of a ton of extra work – whether it's in the morning in our individual workout session, or whether its during practice or after practice, to constantly staying after practice to do shooting games. And I think that carries a lot of value in confidence. With him, he can make the adjustments on his shot. A lot of times for him he arches his back or maybe fades away rather than going straight up and certain things like that. And he's able to see things on film and tweak it. Even during games he's able to make quick adjustments. And I think that's a sign of a guy that's really rapidly growing as a scorer because he's not just limited to getting to the rim."

On how the Irish have adjusted to the loss of Kyle McAlarney:
"They score. They're the leading scoring team in the league at 75 points a game. Tory Jackson is an outstanding freshman guard and I think it's kind of like last year [for us]. Our guards had to play because they had to play. With him, he had to play because McArlaney wasn't there anymore, and he went from being a backup point playing limited minutes to a guy that's playing basically 35 minutes a game. And he's done a great job. We have some outstanding freshman guard in our league, and he takes a backseat to no one."



Sophomore Point Guard Dominic James

On whether the team is going in the right direction at this time:
"I feel like we are, as long as we stay efficient in practice and get better, and learn from the mistakes we made in the previous losses. I feel like we're in the direction we want to be going. Coming off the win against a tough Villanova team, we feel like we have momentum coming into this game at Notre Dame."

On the season's he's had thus far:
"I feel like I've done a decent job. It's been a tougher year as far as not having a guy like Steve Novak out on the wing. A lot of defenses are locking down on me, trying to keep me contained. But I feel like I've grown as a player. I feel like I've matured a lot over this past year. I've been in the film room, constantly, trying to get better, but my teammates have made me a lot better as well."

On Dwyane Wade's injury:
"When you see a guy go down like that, when you see him grimacing out there like that, those are the kind of things you have to take in. You have to cherish your moments out there as a basketball player because you never know when you're going to get injured. Dwyane is a tough guy. He's the leader of the Miami Heat. And I feel like he's going to get back as soon as he can. He's a great player, and he's going to bounce back."



Sophomore Guard Jerel McNeal

On how Marquette has to play against Notre Dame:
I think the main thing we have to do is just come out like we do every game. Defensive intensity. That's going to be the most important thing. Just getting into their two top scorers, Falls and Carter, not getting them any open looks, and making the other guys on their team beat us."

On whether Notre Dame's undefeated home season or the rivalry affects their thought process coming in:
"You don't think about the rivalry. It's really not much different from any other road game. Every place on the road in this league is a tough place to play. It's hard to get a win on the road. That's one of the areas I feel that we've done a lot better in this year is getting road wins."

On the team's NCAA Tournament potential:
"Right now we might not be getting talked about the most or be predicted to go as far as some of the other teams. But hopefully we can slide right into the NCAA Tournament under the radar, and that would be just fine with us because it's all about what you do when you get there. I think we can get some confidence going in, so we'll be ready for it."



Sophomore Guard Wesley Matthews

On what Marquette has to do to beat Notre Dame:
"We just have to keep doing what we've been doing. When we were successful, and we were winning games on the road, it was because we were moving the ball, playing defense, locking in, and having a rebounding mentality. That's just what we'll have to do. They're a good team at home. And they haven't lost yet. It's a tough place to play, and we're just going to have to come out and click on all cylinders as a team."

On his mom as a fan:
"She doesn't really talk to me much about actual basketball before the game. My last year of high school she used to all the time – before the game and after the game. During the game you could hear her. But now she's more of a fan and a supporter. And I love her to death. And she's a great fan. So many times I'll be approached by someone who sat by my mom and my family and they'll talk about how exciting it was just to sit by her. It's just something to be proud of. She has a lot of love, and she cares a lot about this program."

**Jeff Wolf is a freshman majoring in Advertising.

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