"Last year, we were the No. 1 team and went in there and thought it would be a cakewalk. This year our backs are against the wall and we have to rise to the occasion. There is definitely a sense of urgency."
You are going to have the defensive duties against Desmon Farmer again. Do you enjoy it?
"I love it. I love guarding guys the media hypes but that I don't think they are really that good. It'll be fun after I shut him down."
That comment will probably be in the papers and someone will show Desmon that comment.
"I know Des personally, so I'll probably tell him beforehand."
You had a great game against him last time, what was the key to that?
"You force him to his right and crowd him, he won't be that effective. He really likes to go to his left. As far as scoring, I feel I should be scoring 20 points every game."
Is it tough to keep up the offensive game when you have a tough defensive assignment?
"Not if I'm patient and wait for things to open up for me. Then it is easy."
How important is your first shot and whether or not it goes in?
"I feel that earlier in the year if I missed my first shot, or my first couple shots, I would get down on myself. Now I don't really care. If I miss one I just wait for my next shot and keep going."
Do you worry about some of these teams in the tournament since their only chance is to win the whole thing?
"Any team is dangerous. You can lose any game depending on how you come out. We have to come out, not like we did last year."
What do you tell Mustafa Shakur as he heads into his first postseason?
"Keep playing how you've been playing. I think he's been doing an excellent job, not trying to score, trying to pass first. That was evident when he had 11 assists and I think he can do that on a consistent basis."
How does getting Channing Frye involved early help your game?
"I have felt all year that we need to establish Channing in every game, then that will open up things on the perimeter."
How does USC try to guard you?
"They face guard me all the time."
Who usually gets the defensive assignment?
"A whole bunch of guys. With all the twins you don't even know which one is on you."
You played summer ball with the Craven's, is there any extra incentive to beat them?
"Whenever you go up against someone you know, you always want to kill them and take their heart and then talk smack afterwards."
Since this is the rubber match, will there be a lot of smack being run?
"I don't like to initiate it, but if you come at me I'll come back much harder. It makes me play better."
Do you have lines already prepared or is it all spontaneous?
"It's spontaneous, whatever comes to mind. It may not be pleasant things, but whatever."