BIG EAST Conference Tournament Pregame Quotes: 17/18 St. John's vs. Seton Hall/Rutgers

March 8, 2011

St. John's Head Coach Steve Lavin

On if playing at Madison Square Garden gives the team an advantage in the tournament:
"I like the fact that we're familiar with The Garden, because it's our home court and we've had some degree of success there. But this is a whole `nother animal when you step into the postseason single-elimination game format and a level of competition that's unparallel in the country. Though we would rather be there than not, as Coach (John) Wooden used to say."

On if winning the BIG EAST Conference Tournament is the best thing for a team or if it takes something out of the team:
"I think both are possible. I think the most important thing is you want to play good basketball. You want to have confidence and be playing well at this time of the year so you have momentum in the postseason. But I think the various theories in terms of the road to the Final Four and National Championship are varied."

On if he will tell the team what it feels like to cut down the nets in March:
"We've touched on it throughout the entire season and more recently as things have taken shape in terms of the viable candidacy as a NCAA Tournament team, we've touched on it again. Also, the focus being on the seniors and the opportunity to do something special in their final campaign with St. John's. Naturally, the BIG EAST Conference Tournament Championship is as good as it gets in terms of a high level of competitive basketball. We've spoken about that Selection Sunday... Coach (Gene) Keady has been to 18 NCAA Tournament and I was fortunate enough to be part of 13 NCAA Tournaments. I always liken that day to Christmas Eve... you can't wait to rip into those presents, pull the wrapping off and find out where you're going, who you're going to play and to be part of the greatest amateur sporting event in the world is pretty neat. And then to share with your inner circle and family that has worked so hard toward that goal and objective and be able to order-in some food, close the door and watch the selection show... you remember them."



St. John's Senior Forward Justin Burrell

On if he's ever thought about what it would feel like to win the BIG EAST Tournament:
"I definitely have. I don't like to get ahead of myself; I've said that from day one. And I really like to live in the now... but I definitely have. I feel like the whole team probably has as well. It's one of those things that's a once in a lifetime opportunity. To be able to do that, cutting down those nets, would be the most spectacular feeling besides winning the National Championship for us. And that's my job to cut down the nets, so I would love to do that."

On if the coaches believe winning the BIG EAST Tournament would be the best for the team:
"I definitely believe our coaches think it's the best thing for the NCAA (Tournament). It's a shame to hear somebody say that it would exhaust them... I don't understand that. 22-18, whatever the ages of college basketball players, we're not going to be tired. This is the best time of our lives and we have the most energy so we're not going to be tired... that's ridiculous."

On if this is a great opportunity to prove that Madison Square Garden is St. John's building:
"Most definitely. We're very confident in The Garden. The Garden is like Carnesecca (Arena) extended. We play there so much we know the dead spot on the floor... we know if we're shooting on the left end of The Garden that there is a slight breeze of three degrees you know? We're very familiar with The Garden so it's a big advantage. We're so excited that we get to play there again. We definitely think if we come out and play with energy and impose our style of basketball that we definitely have a good chance of winning this."

St. John's Senior Guard Dwight Hardy

On if he's ever thought about what it would feel like to win the BIG EAST Tournament:
"I think about that a lot. I think it would be a wonderful moment just to show all the work we've done this year and to win the BIG EAST would be something spectacular. It would just show that we are really one of the best teams in the conference and we could put on a good performance winning four-straight games and beating some of the top teams that we know we'll have to face being the bracket that we're in right now. There's nothing better that I could ask for if we can do that."

On if this team is ready to win the BIG EAST Tournament:
"I can just sense it... we're ready for another challenge and this is a great challenge. I think we're ready to step up to the plate and handle it. We play the winner of Rutgers/Seton Hall and we all know how upset we are about the loss to Seton Hall so it couldn't be better than to start it off with them. And we would have Syracuse if we win and we lost to them The Garden so we're getting second chances at this team and we can't be more blessed with the situation we're in right now."


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