BOISE STATE Coach Leon Rice – “Our guys came out with great energy and the right approach. We feel like we were fortunate to get through UTEP, we showed a little grit and toughness to win that game. We didn’t do the things we usually do and you saw some of those things tonight the way we move the ball and attacked and how hard we played. To outrebound someone by 30, that’s one of those wild moments.
“We’re excited to have that opportunity to play in the championship. What a great opportunity, that’s why we came here, we’re fortunate to be there but I was pretty excited about the basketball we played today and we’ll enjoy that for the rest of the day and be ready to go get our prep going tomorrow with the day off and be ready to go on Sunday. Hopefully we can clean up some things that we didn’t do perfect tonight and make ourselves better for that championship.”
Boise State Guard Chandler Hutchison – “Watching that game, that’s one of the games where we can say that’s who we are, wanting to move the ball and be aggressive on offense and then defensively, that’s what we try to do, throw in that man and zone to mix it up. We were active today and had more energy and more bounce. In this quick turnaround, sometimes it can bite you in the butt and you can be a slow to start but we came out with good energy.
“Me personally but as a team we love to play against a zone because we have such unselfish guys that are great basketball players. We have good basketball players that can make plays for other guys, great passers. So when we get into those zones we find those soft spots and with our shooters we’re a dangerous team against the zone.
“I feel like I would have had 18 rebounds yesterday if I didn’t get in foul trouble. That’s just the energy I try to play with, especially at my position using my length and my size. Being 6-7 I normally have a shooting guard or a smaller guy on me so I try to use that as my advantage to get my team an extra possession or help our bigs out.”
ILLINOIS STATE Coach Dan Muller – “We played a really good team that came out almost as if they had lost yesterday. They came out with a lot of passion and grit, not that they wouldn’t do that every night, but they made those shots early and clearly they killed us on the boards. We just had some guys handle success poorly. We’ll grow from it and hopefully play harder in the next game.
“I’ve never seen that (a 30-rebound deficit). It was a few things. We had some of our better rebounders on the bench and even when they were in there, they didn’t rebound because we had some guys I don’t think we were ready to compete. They got a ton of penetration, the moved the ball so well. We have to be a great box-out team and when you have rotations, you don’t box out as well. We just got outcompeted on the boards.
(On how the team responds on Sunday): “It’s critical because if you can’t have some pride in you with what just happened today, then there are some serious flaws within your competitive level individually and as a team. I don’t know if we’re going to win because we’re going to play another good team but if we can’t come out playing harder and competing hard 1-9, we have a longer way to go than I thought. I’d like to be able to do that every day whether you are embarrassed or not, which obviously we didn’t.”