Coaches Corner: Bay Area up next

The Cats are coming off of a heartbreaking loss to UConn, but there are reasons to be optimistic. After viewing the video tape, Lute Olson believes the team played one of their better games in a while. In this edition of Coaches Corner Olson talks about the Bay Area teams, the loss to UConn and the club's slow starts.

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Question: What do you take from the UConn game?

Lute Olson: "In looking back at the Connecticut game on Saturday, it was a great basketball game, tremendously hard fought by both teams. We probably played about as well as we've played at any time (this season). The problem was trying to get the ball by their inside guy (Emeka Okafor). He totally changed the game. Obviously he is the best shot-blocker we've faced here in some time. I thought, other than some of the turnovers in the first half, we played extremely well. Some of those turnovers were a result of the quickness of their defense to fill gaps when we penetrated."

Question: What are your thoughts on this week's road trip?

Olson: "With this week, we're facing two teams that have tremendous at home. Stanford is 7-0 at home and Cal is 12-0, so it's going to be a challenging road trip. The good thing is that we have played outstanding teams on the road, so it's not going to be anything new that we'll be facing. We're going to have to play extremely well in those environments."

Question: What can you tell us about Cal?

Olson:"Cal is playing extremely well, and not surprisingly so, with names like (Brian) Weathers, (Joe) Shipp, (Solomon) Hughes, (Shantay) Legans, (Ryan) Forehan-Kelly and (Dennis) Gates. Those are familiar names, many of whom have been key players since their freshman year at Cal. In a lot of ways this year they are more difficult to defend than a year ago when they relied on (Sean) Lampley...a lot, frankly. They've got more guys that you have to pay attention to from a scoring standpoint. They are playing well, as evidenced by their trip to Southern California. They came up with a win at USC and had a chance at UCLA. It was very close until late.

"They have an outstanding three-point shooter in Joe Shipp. He's a guy that can shoot it from long range. Forehan-Kelly is an excellent shooter, plus they have an inside presence in Hughes and Sampson. They can score on you in a variety of ways. They are quick and have an inside presence with their shot blockers. They have a nice combination of perimeter shooters and slashers. Cal plays really, really well at home. The crowd is a huge factor for them."

Question: Midway through the Pac-10 schedule, what are your thoughts on the league?

Olson: "It's really, really a tough league. It's been a long time since I heard national analysts talking about the Pac-10 having six teams in the (NCAA) Tournament. There are at least six teams in this conference that could do very well against anyone."

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