I think first of all,
we've got a tough road game at Maryland, and I
think they're much improved from a year ago.
Watching film on those guys, I think with Wells and
Len's improvement inside, you've got two elite level
Coach, do you feel any type of
letdown there for Saturday and then going into
a team that's lost a couple of games in a row?
No, we've got four
returning starters that have been through this
league. I think they're very well aware of the fact
that each game counts as one game. Saturday
was fun, but it's one win, and that's it. Now you've
got to go do it again 15 more times. We have an
18-game schedule and we have 18 opportunities.
I think the fact that we've got some veteran players
that have played, that should not be a factor for us.
Just to follow up on that, does your
team play based on where it started in the
rankings? Did they have a little bit of a chip on
their shoulder or is that not part of their
We don’t ever talk
about that. Where we were picked or projected is irrelevant. It comes down to how you play. Last
year we weren't picked very high. It still came
down to how you play so we're just not a team
that's caught up in all of that. Those things are
things that people are weighing in on.
So we just need to concentrate on us, and
it's not something that we talk about ever.
Will we ever see an undefeated team
I think it would be
awfully hard. I think the difference, obviously, is
with television nowadays. Everybody has an
opportunity to recruit good players.
I think years ago the difference was that
some people had more to offer, opportunities to be
on national television, better facilities.
Nowadays it seems everybody's caught
up. Good players go everywhere.
There is a lot
more parity than I think there was through the '70s,
'80s and even the 90s. So I think it would be really
When you look at the Duke team you
saw, how much difference does it make that
they didn't have Ryan Kelly Saturday?
Well, there is
definitely a difference because Ryan is different
from both Hairston and Amile. I thought that they
did very well. Amile played great, and so did
Hairston. They scored well, and defended well.
But Ryan is just different.
So I do think they're a different team. But
we're all different when you lose a good player,
when you lose a starter. Nobody is exempt from
that. There is always an adjustment period when
you have a starter out. Your team has gotten used
to playing one way with a person's style and what
they bring to the table. Now you've got to change
just a little bit. They're not exempt from that.
That's a difficult thing to do at this point here.
Do you feel you're doing things
better than you were in December and
I hope we're doing
things better. You hope your team each year
improves throughout the year. There is always a
period at the beginning of the season where I
believe your team is still learning how to play and
how to play effectively.
Who needs to do what?
What is the best way if your team to defend good teams? What do you need to run at certain times
in the game? Who needs to shoot? That takes a
little while sometimes for that to come together.
So I do think that we're better than we
were early, but we still have to play, obviously.
Is the improvement in one certain
area or two key areas?
Not necessarily. I
just think in our biggest challenge this year was
integrating some very talented young players into a
veteran group that were used to playing together.
We needed to blend that. So I think we're better in
that regard, for sure.
How much does familiarity that
some of your guys have with Dez because
they've actually played with him as opposed to
seeing him on tape?
I think it probably
helps. When players know each other, they
usually know their games sometimes better than
we do. So, yeah, I think that probably works the
other way too with Dez.
He knows our guys pretty
good too. So I do think that becomes a factor a
little bit at times.
Just a follow-up. Was there a time
when you thought that he might end up in
Raleigh after what happened at Xavier?
Well, we certainly
looked into it. I think he's a great player. I think he
made a good decision and it's been working out
well for him. But we certainly got involved in that,
so, turned out good for him.
No. 1 in the nation in field goal
percentage, do you think that's something
that's sustainable over the course of
conference play? What will it take to stay at or
near that level?
interesting. It's another one of those things that I'm
not too caught up in where we're actually ranked.
What I'm interested in is are we executing our
offense well, and are we taking high percentage
shots for each individual player, which I think we
can still improve in those areas. We can execute
better and we can find better shots sometimes for
So I think we'll see at the end of the year
where we finish in our ranking. But I'm interested
in winning games more than where we're ranked in
a category. We've just got to make sure we keep executing, improving our execution and getting the
right guys the right shots. I think that's what's