NCAA Men's Basketball Championship: Regional Final: Arkansas vs Baylor

Monday, March 29, 2021

Indianapolis, Indiana, USA

Lucas Oil Stadium - Unity Court (South)

Baylor Bears

MaCio Teague

Elite 8 Postgame Media Conference


Baylor - 81, Arkansas - 72

Q. Those two 3s you hit late in the game when Arkansas was making their run, what did it feel like to hit those two big shots to propel you to the first Final Four since 1950 for Baylor?

MACIO TEAGUE: You know, my teammates there they kept finding me. I think two possessions before that, Jared, he drove baseline, looked to (indiscernible) and looked to me in the corner -- looked the opposing player off and threw it to me in the corner. And I shot it and I missed it. When I was running down the floor, I remember my teammate saying "good shot" -- I can't remember who it was who said, "good shot, shoot it again. So I got another opportunity, they found me, and I hit it. And I saw, when Davion drove, I saw him look at me before he drove, to see where the defense was going to be. And he found me and I knocked another one down. So the credit goes to those guys for keeping faith in me.

Q. That stretch answered -- Arkansas had closed it to four. You guys never seemed to panic. You seemed to always answer when they would -- this is a team that had some really good comebacks. Talk about the way you all maybe stayed calm?

MACIO TEAGUE: We've been in the fire before. It's not our first time in the fire. We just gotta continue to compete at a high-level. Arkansas, they've got a good bunch in there in their program, a lot of older guys. So, we knew they wouldn't give up as well. They also have young guys on their team.

But I feel like they have a lot of older guys and when you have older veterans on the team, like, it comes with good leadership and they're not going to allow the young guys to quit. They've got a lot of fight in them. We knew they were the comeback kids, came back from 14, 10 and 12 in their first three games. We just tried to seal them off.

Q. What does this mean to you making the Final Four and what does it mean to the program?

MACIO TEAGUE: It means a tremendous a lot to me but even more to the program. No person is bigger than the program. What we did was history here. Really happy for Coach Drew. He's been here for 18 years.

I saw on Twitter probably about a month ago, I saw someone tweet along the lines that we need to start speaking on, that Scott Drew has, like, the biggest comeback story, and has built, like, has come back from nothing basically in the basketball program. And people need to talk about that.

And I'm really happy for Coach Drew. He's spent a lot of time; dedication; hard work; blood, sweat and tears building this program. And I'm really happy for those guys, him and Coach Tang and the guys on the coaching staff.

Q. For you, when you transferred here, is this something that you saw and envisioned with this group, that you would be here cutting down nets, going to the Final Four?

MACIO TEAGUE: Yeah, for sure. If you let Davion tell it, he's going to say he's the reason I came to Baylor. But on a serious note, he did text me and say that if I came here, he felt we could make it to a Final Four. And we've done that. So I feel like that didn't just happen overnight.

That was three years ago when him and I got here. And the team, they built themselves up the year that we sat out. We were supposed to projected to go last in the Big 12 or second to last. Came in I think fourth, made it to the NCAA Tournament. And then we hit the ground running the year after that, my last year.

And then this year we hit the ground running again as well. So we got a lot of guys committed to the program and bought in and we all know that the program is bigger than us. So we're really bought into that.

Q. Coach Drew has been at this a long time, like you said, 18 years. He's been trying to get to a Final Four and obviously the story of the program has been well chronicled. Why does he connect with you guys? He's a really nice guy. He's maybe a little bit of a corny guy at times. But why does he sort of connect with this team?

MACIO TEAGUE: I think he connects because he cares about us. Like when I first got here, I, honestly, I was unsure of the guy. When you get recruited, college basketball players will tell you this, when you get recruited, coaches, they kind of switch up when you get to a school. It's like they show you all the good stuff. When you get to the school they're not really catering to you as much and things like that.

And I mean he wasn't really catering to me as much and I didn't expect him to. I was 21 years old when I got here. Maybe I was 20, I'm not really sure. But when I got here I didn't want him to be one to cater to me or anything like that. But I was kind of iffy about it when I got here. But as time went on I truly understood that Coach Drew truly cares about his players. He asks you how you're doing. Like he tries to get to know players. He tries to keep the connection. He tries to, like, pull you aside, just to continue to build a rapport with you, because he knows that on the floor, like, we're like the leaders on the team are an extension of him on the floor.

He just tries to just tries to build the trust in the relationship and it's just not for basketball. He really cares. I saw that Baylor sent, I think, it's Matt Sayman, I think that's his name, I'm not really sure, I don't think I met him, but Baylor sent a care package to one of the former players who I don't even know. He probably played here like in 2007, and he's just staying connected with guys.

He truly cares about the people and the program, truly cares about people and trying to put people in the best situation as possible. And I feel like that's the reason that Coach Drew connects with people, because we feel that he cares about us.

Q. You guys were so ridiculously confident in kind of an unassuming way. Was there a moment in this season where that confidence wavered, or were you at 100 confidence from the jump of the season all the way down?

MACIO TEAGUE: No, I don't think we ever lost confidence. Who did we lose to first? Kansas. When we lost to Kansas, at Kansas, it was just like, we had to lose eventually. Then we lost -- but we felt like we weren't at our best. We felt we had to diagnose some things, correct some things going forward. And we felt like we would continue to get better as the season went on and we didn't want to peak in January. We want to peak at the time we're peaking right now. We want to continue to get better even going into this last week.

Q. Villanova tried to slow you guys down. Arkansas tried to speed you guys up. Didn't really seem like either style ultimately worked. What does that show you, kind of say about your team and what you guys are obviously capable of?

MACIO TEAGUE: I feel that shows we have real hoopers on our team. We can play any style of basketball. And we can adjust in certain situations and we can overcome it all.

Q. This was the closest game you had in the tournament, nine points. At the same time, it doesn't look like you put a complete game together just yet. Do you think you've played your best basketball in the tournament?

MACIO TEAGUE: I think we've played better games, but as long as we continue to win that's all that matters to us. We've got to get better going forward, going into our next game Saturday against Houston. A tough team. And we just look forward to that matchup coming up soon.

Q. Obviously a big win today. Congratulations. But are you guys still able to approach every game just like another faceless opponent, or do you feel it building and getting bigger and bigger each week?

MACIO TEAGUE: I don't think there's any more pressure going into these games than another game. I feel like today was like a game that we played on January 30th. Big 12 versus the SEC matchup. And I feel like that's all it was today. And just going forward we've got to be locked in, not get caught up in the moment.

Q. You guys were in a position last year where you could have been in this position last year. So what does the feeling of appreciating this moment now mean to you guys, that you're finally here going to the Final Four?

MACIO TEAGUE: That means the world. But all glory goes to God in these situations, win or lose. God still brings us here. And we're here for his glory. And we're just really happy that everything is working out the way it is right now. Got a good group of guys in the locker room, guys who sacrificed a ton for the greater good. And everybody, like I said earlier, has just bought into the program.

Q. Wanted to ask you about two plays. First half, Matt Mayer had a steal, and lobbed it up to you, you had to chase it down before it went out of bounds. Got a layup. Second half after he hit those two 3s, you had a drive for a layup attempt but missed. But Mark slammed it home for an exclamation point. Take me through those two plays. Describe how (indiscernible) everybody has kind of their role on the team, because it's a very evenly distributed game today if you look at the box score.

MACIO TEAGUE: Everybody bought into the role that we all know we have a role to play. It could be anybody's night on any night. With West Virginia, I think Jared had 20-something and Dain had 20-something, Matt had like 20-something. So it's anybody's night on any given night.

Like it wasn't my night. I didn't play well that game in particular but everybody steps up. Everybody has a role the play. Everybody fulfills the role. Mark does a great job setting screens. Flo does a great job setting screens, rebounding. And so does John. Flag, he comes off the bench, gives us a spark every single game he comes off the bench. And guys they're just really bought into the things that we do in program.

Q. You trailed in each of the first three games in Indianapolis. Today you led wire to wire. What was the biggest adjustment you guys made from the Villanova game to tonight?

MACIO TEAGUE: I mean, it was a different style of play. Felt like Villanova competed at a high level. Arkansas competed at a high level as well. Just felt like we executed down the stretch.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports
106204-1-1045 2021-03-30 05:20:00 GMT

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