Arizona vs. California
March 11, 2000
University of Arizona player quotes -
Richard Jefferson -
"To tell you the truth, we expected to win the Pac-10 Championship. We expect to win the national championship. Those are the goals we set for ourselves this year. We expect to be the best and win the championships. Whoever we played this year or wherever we played, we got the job done.
"I'll go play wherever we are seeded. I don't really think it makes that much of a difference where we are going to be. Hopefully, we are going to be a one seed in the West, but it really does not matter that much. I think that we have proved that we are going to be good enough to play in the West.
"It is not that important to be the one seed. No matter what you are seeded, you are going to have to play good teams and it is going to be tough to win. You have to play the best teams to get tot he national championship. Somewhere along the way, you are going to have to beat a Michigan State or Cincinnati or UConn.
"Playing with only six guys is a little strange, but by this late int he season, a lot of teams are going to be down to only six or seven players. We have a lot of versitile players who can play a bunch of different positions. Ricky (Anderson) was out there playing the four today. He might not know the position very well, but he is going to play it wall and make a difference."
Jason Gardner -
"Cal kept fighting today. They would not go away. We had to really play a full 40 minutes and not let up in the end. We would make a turnover or take a bad shot, and they would take advantage of that. We were not able to take complete control of the game.
"Anything can happen at this point. It does not matter if you are a No. 1 team or a No. 16 team, you are still going ot have to play someone really good because everyone there made it to the tournament. I've never been there (to the tournament), but I am really looking forward to it. I think it is going to be a lot of fun.
"I was excited to hear I was named the freshman of the year (by the USBWA). I really have to give all of the credit to the coaching staff and my teammates because they are the ones who really got me ready for this game.
"If you look back at all of the teams here, everyone has been the Pac-10 champ at some point. For me and Gilbert (Arenas) to get it in our first year, that was important to me."
Michael Wright -
"This was a really big win for us. I have to give Cal a lot of credit because they came in here and played the whole 40 minutes. It was really a fight the entire game.
"We came out and committed a lot of turnovers and missed some shots to start the game. Then we started to get into the flow of the game and make things happen. That is when we started to take a little more control of things.
"The team was down. I had to do something to pick us up. I started to really demand to get the ball down low, and I was finishing plays. They were also fouling me, so I got to the line a lot. That started to get us going.
"Wherever they are going to put us, it is going to be okay. We hopefully will be staying in the West, but we are still going to have to play tough teams and have a tough road wherever we are going to play."
California Player Quotes:
"We just didn't attack until the last few minutes. It was too late then. We played soft, mentally and physically. We tried to stick around, we just kept trading baskets."
"I think we are all excited to be going into the post season. No one wants to end the season. We just want more games. There are a lot of teams who are going home. The Pac 10 is over, we did what we could do. Our goal was to get to the post season. Now we're there, we've got to set a new goal."
On Stanford and Arizona:
"They are both really good teams. They are really different. Stanford is more sound, fundamentally. Arizona has more talent, they just come out and play."
"I knew they were going to come out and pressure us. They played well, my hat goes off to Arizona. They beat Stanford twice with only 6 or 7 players. They beat us with only 6 or 7 players. I hope they do well in the tournament."
"We're disappointed we couldn't make the tournament. Our goal will be the same as last year, to go win that (the NIT). We're looking forward to playing in the post-season NIT and take it with us to next year. I wanted to get into the tournament but since we didn't make it, we're going to go play well in the NIT. It's natural for young guys to get in a slump. I believe we'll bring it together."
"If we stop making little mistakes, we'll be okay. Getting rid of little mistakes will get us over the hump."
"All year long, I've been double-teamed. I've learned to get the ball out of my hands. The double team (against Arizona) came quickly. I had to get the ball out of my hands a lot quicker."
Nick Vander Laan:
On going to the NIT:
"We just want to play, we want to win. We're the defending champs. We would like to win, we don't want to lose. I don't think we have a set identity, we have been searching all year. I don't think we've found it."
"I played hard, my shots just didn't fall. I tried to make up for it at other ends by taking charges, making turnovers. I think we need to be more consistent."