Coaches Corner: Olson prepares for Purdue

The Cats keep rolling along. Their latest victim was the highly-touted Illinois Fighting Illini. The Wildcats outlasted that Big-10 foe and now get ready for a game against Purdue in Anaheim.

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Question: What are your thoughts heading into the Purdue game?

Lute Olson: "With Purdue, it's a case of them being a typical Purdue team. They are going to play really hard, very intensely, because Gene's (Keady) teams always play that way. It's not a case where they run a lot of specials. Most of it is motion, so it's not anything that is going to surprise us, it gets down to who does a better job of running their offense and getting good shots."

Question: Any recollections of last year's game?

Olson: "When I looked back at that tape, the thing that they did was shoot the lights out. Not all of those were open looks, there were times where we had great pressure on the shooters, but they just (made the shots). I think we let them get a running start and their confidence level got up and then everything they threw up went in. It's not a prescription for success to play in Maui and fly over five time zones to play. As I said over the games, it seemed like our bodies were halfway between Maui and Indianapolis. We just didn't seem to react very well. But on the other hand, they did play very well."

Question: Can you comment on your team's preparations?

Olson: "We've not practiced well over the last two days. That stretch of games with Kansas Saturday and Illinois on Tuesday...normally, you'd be looking at Wednesday as a day off. (Final) exams begin on Friday, so we're going to go really light before we fly out. It will be a lot of shooting. We did not have good concentration this week in practice over the last two days. I don't know if some of that has to do with final papers being due and finals starting tomorrow, but we were not as sharp and energetic as we need to be. By doing a shooting workout tomorrow, I would assume that we will be fresh by Saturday afternoon."

Question: Do you think you'll see more teams try to keep the ball away from Jason?

Olson: "I think Purdue will do that, because they did that last year on Jason. They put a guy on him with no other responsibility...just keep Jason from the ball. We've seen teams come out in a box-and-one, a triangle-and-two, and some other things to try to take him out of the ball-handling role. When teams have done that, we've hurt them a whole lot more than they've hurt us. So we've seen that in almost every game to keep Jason from being as involved. The good thing is that with as good a passer as Luke Walton is, it usually backfires. It allows him to get the ball with fewer defenders involved and helping out. Because of Luke's ability, it's really pretty hard for someone to play a defense like that without creating more openings for us."

Question: Who will be in the starting lineup?

Olson: More than likely, it will be (Will) Bynum and Isaiah (Fox). With Will (Bynum) in the starting lineup, that's really because Salim (Stoudamire) does such a great job of coming off the bench. That ability to come in and be an immediate factor is a special talent. Salim seems to be able to do that. Some of his best games have come when he's come off the bench.


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