Cincinnati Press Conference

SALT LAKE CITY- University of Cincinnati Head Coach Bob Huggins and his players spoke with the media Wednesday about their reputation, their match up with Gonzaga, and the impending war in Iraq.

Cincinnati Head Coach Bob Huggins:

On preparing for Gonzaga's style of play:

Gonzaga's extremely well-coached. They have very good basketball players who understand how to play the game. They counter things very well. They all pass the ball well. They are a hard team to prepare for because it's hard to take a lot of things away from them because they adjust so well.

About the war in Iraq and the talk of postponing tournament games:

(Basketball) is just a game. This war is a life-and-death situation. This is about our country and the best interest of our country. It certainly takes precedence over a basketball game.

On the reputation that Cincinnati has earned for being a physical defensive team:

I'm really happy that a lot people haven't watched ESPN this year. Ratings have to be down for people to think we are the way we have been. We try to guard. We're not physically imposing as we once were. We try to play hard, although I don't think we've played as hard as in the past.

Leonard Stokes

On the importance of perimeter defense:

Perimeter defense is big, it's going to be a main focus. We have to allow our big guys more time to get set defensively, stay home and rebound. So perimeter defense is definitely going to be a key.

On Gonzaga's size:

Well, they've got a very big front line with guys 6-7, 6-8, 6-9 and from 260 to 275. So they're a really big team and we're going to have to play hard against them, because they're going to come at us from the inside.

On potential second round match ups:

Our focus is mainly on Gonzaga tomorrow. We're not looking past that at all. We're taking one game at a time.

Taron Barker

On Cincinnati's being known for having a traditionally tough defense:

It does and doesn't matter. If we don't play tough defense, though, it (our reputation) doesn't mean anything. If we come out with that tough style of play, it will definitely help us out.

On the tournament and U.S. invasion into Iraq:

The game is just a game. I have to take my hat off to our soldiers because they're over there doing something for all of us that means everything.


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