Fla. Coach Billy Donovan talks Michigan

by Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

The Florida head coach talks about the Wolverines' strengths, and especially the guy who makes it all happen - which he uses to point out U-M's weaknesses as well.



Q.  It seemed like a lot of shots were short today.  And again, I know you guys played until 1:30 in the morning Eastern time.  Did that have anything to do with it or do you think it was just that you guys came out, looked like a little tight?

COACH DONOVAN:  Yeah, I don't think so.  I think maybe you could talk about that if you had to play a back-to-back game.  We had certainly plenty of time.  We had probably maybe two or three hours less rest than Michigan had.  Michigan also played an overtime game, we didn't, on Friday night.  So I don't think that that was.

I think our guys were really excited to play.  They wanted to play well.  And sometimes you can want something too bad, maybe.  It was really -- I thought it happened a little bit in the Florida Gulf Coast game.  You've got to make some plays around the basket.  You've got to put the ball in the basket. Stauskas -- you know, Rosario overhelped one time in a wrong position.  They found him a couple of times in transition.  Really only two times or actually one time in our pick-and-roll coverage did they kind of get us where our guard had to come over and kind of bump McGary.

But those guys made shots.  And sometimes at this point in time in the season you've got to hop up and make some shots.  And they made some tough ones and made some difficult ones.  I can't even imagine how many shots we had around the basket, driving to the basket, we just did not finish plays at all.  And it started right away.

It's really hard when you're going against -- listen, we've been ranked pretty high all year long in terms of offensive efficiency.  I think they're No. 1 in the country.  It's really difficult when you go against an offensive efficiency team like that and you start the Game 3 for 17 or 3 for 18 or whatever it was, to overcome that.  And then they're shooting a relatively high percentage.

Now, the second half they held the ball a little bit because they were milking the clock.  I thought we've played defense a little bit better than we did.  Whether or not we were starry eyed.  I can't put my finger on it because these guys have been in this situation before.  It's not like their first time.

Q.  You said yesterday, you called this the best offensive team in the country.  A lot of teams get to the Final Four with defense.  They're going to face Syracuse's zone.  How different are they from the other teams in the Final Four do you think and can that offense make a difference in this tournament?

COACH DONOVAN:  Well, I would say this, I think because they're so good offensively, because of Burke, and because they space the floor and they have Hardaway and Stauskas and even Robinson is good enough in terms of putting it down, they don't get enough credit defensively.  They're a good defensive team.  I wouldn't say they're a great defensive team.  But they're good.  They're a good, solid defensive team.

But I think because they're so good offensively, people say they're just an offensive team.  They play good defense.

In the game we shot 40 percent in the second half and 41 in the first.  It wasn't like we really shot it great ourselves.  I thought we had some opportunities to hang there, but we were never able to really do it.

Q.  Against that zone, though, the 2-3?

COACH DONOVAN:  We played some zone, and had some success.  We played zone and had success against them in the first half.  The reason I played so much zone in the first half was to protect Patric Young.  It gave us some good minutes.  I thought we got some stops, and we were 9 for 12 to close the half out.

But you know what you're going to have to do against Syracuse is you have to make some shots.  If those guys are -- listen, Stauskas, if he goes 0 for 6, you know, a different game.  So if you're going to play against Syracuse, in my opinion, if you're knocking down shots, because you're going to have to make some shots.

Like the one thing with McGary, McGary is not a guy you throw the ball to and post him up.  Everything he gets is off of Burke.  And when Burke shoots out of pick-and-rolls, he always has a free run to go offensive rebound.  But they're not throwing the ball to McGary and he's working his way around the basket, he's the recipient.  He plays that role great.  Some of that is going to be taken away, where you're going to have to knock down some shots over the top.

Q.  Third time here, Elite 8, the finite difference between being able to make that next step and not being able to do it in the last three years.  Would you expound on that, what it's like for you to get that close as a coach?

COACH DONOVAN:  Well, it's not really about me.  I've been fortunate enough to be there as a player and several times as a coach.  I feel more upset for Boynton, Rosario and Murphy who don't get a chance and have come so close.  I've experienced the Final Four enough.  I want our program to continue to experience it and our players.

This is a totally different feel than the last two.  The last two to me we gave ourselves every opportunity to win.  The Butler game was an overtime game, the Louisville game was a two-point game.  This one we didn't play well enough or deserve to win the game.  Michigan deserved this game.  They played better than us.  They performed better.  They did things that were necessary to beat us.

The other two games I was heartbroken for our team because we were really, really close.  We weren't that close here today.  Going in I think at the half down 17 and we cut it to 12, we could never quite get over the hump.  But for the most part that game I felt like Michigan outplayed us, which was a little differently, where I said arguably, even though we didn't want get the result against Louisville or Butler, I don't think we were totally outplayed.  We gave ourselves a chance.  This game we didn't deserve to win the game.

GoBlueWolverine.com Recommended Stories