Big Ten Tournament: #6 Minnesota Defeats #11 Penn State, 76-55. Minnesota advances to face #3 Michigan State Today at Approximately 9:30 p.m. ET Coach Smith and Players Talk MSU.

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 Q. Can you guys talk about Michigan

State and what this game did for your

confidence? I know Penn State played them

pretty well before. Do you think you can pull

off the upset?

DEVOE JOSEPH: Well, this game

definitely gave us confidence, and I think we were

playing good basketball lately. Last time we

played Michigan State we lost by one point, and

we made a lot of mistakes in the last four minutes,

so I definitely think we can pull off the upset.

They're a good team, and we're definitely going to

need to come and play real good basketball to

beat them.

Q. If both of you could just elaborate

on how it's been two months but if that taste is

still fresh in your mouth from Kalin Lucas

hitting that game winning shot in Minneapolis

against you guys.

COLTON IVERSON: Yeah, it was

obviously a disappointing loss at home. We felt

like we had the game, and we just kind of slipped

at the end. It was just something that we can't let

happen again. We've got to come ready to play

tomorrow and just get it done.

DEVOE JOSEPH: Kalin Lucas, he's a

good player and made a tough shot. A lot of the

players made tough shots down the stretch, so

we've just got to get closer to our men down the

stretch this time and stay with our defensive


Q. Colton, can you talk about the

difference between this game and the last two

times you guys have played Penn State in

those last two games were very close? What

was the difference today in your opinion?

COLTON IVERSON: I think we just came

with a lot more intensity for this game. We know

there's a lot on the line. We can't let anything slip

away anymore. This is our last chance to get to

our goal, to get to the tournament, so we've just

got to come ready to play every game from here on


Q. How much does it help for the sake

of you guys' momentum? Obviously you had a

great shooting night tonight, and you're

playing tomorrow night. How much does that

help in terms of sustaining momentum?

DEVOE JOSEPH: Well, it helps. If you

make shots the night before, you come to the next

game with a lot more confidence I feel, so I think it

definitely helps.

Q. Did it fire you guys up at all that

some people were picking the upset, Penn


COLTON IVERSON: Yeah, I saw that

some people picked us to get upset in the first

round. You can't listen to that stuff. You've just

got to come here to play, give them respect, and

you've got to -- you know they're a good team, and

they played a lot of teams close. Like you said,

they just lost to Michigan State at home, and they

were in it the whole game, probably should have

had it. We knew they were a good team, just had

to come prepared and not let anything slip us up.

Q. Can you talk about those early

turnovers that you all forced and how that kind

of seemed to set the tone for the game?

COACH SMITH: Well, yeah, again, I think

these guys came with -- they were very active, had

a lot of quickness. Again, making shots makes you

a little more -- keeps you ready. I thought one of

the keys was putting Lawrence Westbrook on Talor

Battle, because I thought he did a good job of

making Talor work at both ends of the court. It sort

of took something away a little bit from Lawrence's

offensive game, but I liked his attitude, and he kind

of -- when you see your leader stepping up and

taking on that challenge, then I think it invigorates

and inspires the other players to play harder.

Q. How much can you use motivation

to your players knowing that you guys are on

the bubble? Of course if you win this

tournament, you're in for sure, but have you

been able to use that at all, hey, if we win one,

two, three, games, we're probably going to get


COACH SMITH: Well, not really. They

see and read. They're intelligent kids. We don't

really talk about -- I try to concentrate on a single

day. It might sound corny, it might sound cliché,

but that's the only way I think I can coach. We

know that the only thing that can -- there's only one

certain, and that's if you win, if you play the right

way, and I think when you get into a singleelimination

type tournament like this, it's all or

nothing, do or die, you've got to come ready to


We still, as I mentioned, have an

opportunity to reach one of the goals we had set

for ourselves this year, and this group has been

very good about staying focused. We've lost some

tough games, but I think it's solidified us and united

us in a way that's been very beneficial.

Q. Obviously Michigan State is a very

physical team and they're a great rebounding

team. The way that Colton played today and

Ralph didn't score as many points, but he was

able to rebound pretty well, can you talk about

just what those two big guys are going to mean

for you?

COACH SMITH: Well, any time a coach

coaches a team, they're always one of the top

rebounding teams in the nation. Certainly we'll

have to do a better job than we did today. We've

got to really find a way for all of our players to help

out. It's not just up to Colton and Ralph and the

post players. We need to get our perimeter guys

involved, and I thought today they did in the

second half. You know, guys that didn't have any

rebounds in the first half got rebounds in the

second half, Lawrence Westbrook, Blake

Hoffarber, and a couple other guys. They've got to

step up and do that tomorrow. But I like the way

Colton and Ralph have been rebounding the ball

all year long. It may be a situation where we might

have them both in the game, if we're not able to

play with them on the boards.

Q. Knowing Chris Allen won't play

tomorrow for Michigan State, how does that

impact your game plan against the Spartans?

COACH SMITH: Well, they've got a lot of

good players, so nothing -- Chris is a pretty

talented player, and certainly I know any time you

lose a player as a starter that has the talent he

has, it's going to affect you. But they have a lot of

depth, and that's why their team is always -- he

plays a lot of players, so I'm not sure -- I don't think

it will affect how we will approach the game and

how we will prepare for the game.

Q. Seems like Devoe Joseph is getting

more and more comfortable with his role. Talk

about what he was able to do early for your

team and what you need him to do going

forward in this tournament?

COACH SMITH: Yeah, he's learning how

to control the tempo and the pace of the game and

the flow, and you know, he has that ability to knock

down the open shot. That's something that we

really -- that's taken time for him to appreciate and

grow into this -- into being the leader, the point

guard on the team, but he's done an excellent job.

And going forward, it's something that we've --

we're getting that from Justin, as well. So we'll see

how he continues to grow, and again, it adds -- I

like the way he's been defending, and he's got the

total package.

Q. You've coached in a lot of NCAA

games. They're thinking about changing the

format a little bit and raising the 32 teams to 96.

What's your thoughts about them changing the

way the thing is going to be run?

COACH SMITH: I think it would be a great

idea. I'd certainly love to see -- I've been on the

NABC board, and it's one of the things we've

promoted and talked about for years with the

NCAA. I think it's a -- especially with the increase

in the number of Division I teams now, why not?

When I first got in the business years ago

in 1978, '79, there might have been 100 Division I

teams. Now there's 347. Just like football. When

they increased, they increased the number of bowl

games, so why not increase the opportunities for

these student-athletes to participate and enjoy and

be a part of this March Madness? I think it's long

overdue, to be honest with you.

Thank you.

Minnesota now has the pleasure of facing the Spartans...again.  Photo courtesy of Mark Boomgaard.

Minnesota now has the pleasure of facing the Spartans...again. Photo courtesy of Mark Boomgaard.