Pre-Game Talk

Arizona had an open practice to start the NCAA tournament Wednesday. Following the pactice the Cat Tracks staff was on hand to get the thoughts from the players and coaches.

Head Coach Lute Olson

On Utah State:

"They play a lot like Stanford when Mike Montgomery was there. And that's of course (because) Stew (Morrill) is from the same staple of coaching with Tom Izzo and Kelvin Sampson and Montgomery, at one time or another all worked under Jud Heathcote. And you can see that how Stew (Morrill) coaches today, how they use that two-three zone that Magic Johnson and that group made so famous at Michigan State. They defend really hard. Their half-court offense is a real challenge. They cut so hard. This is a very experienced team. I mean from an age standpoint, Jaycee Carroll, is a 21 year old freshman. Their point guard is a 28 year old junior or senior, I'm not really sure what he is. There is a lot of maturity on that team. They play very hard and they are very well coached. They do play much more half-court than what Washington (State) plays. They'll get out and run on missed shots, but it's the old Jud Heathcote, hold the sign up and call the play almost like you're in the huddle for a football game making the call. But they are a really good team. They should not be a 14 seed. They should be a 10 or 11."

On the Washington Loss:

"Salim (Stoudamire) was so unbelievable that I think his teammates started standing around and watching him too. That finish is a bit unusual for us because our record in close games is really good. On the other hand I think you have to give credit to Washington. I mean they keep coming at you. They are by far the quickest team any of our teams have ever faced, and I'm talking about ever. But down the stretch they made shots, we tripped over our own feet. It hurt us when we had to sit Hassan Adams for a while because of four fouls. I honestly think that other than getting a lower seed, it made us a better team."

On Playing is Boise:

"We are happy to be up here however. We played Boise twice, and in both instances we've come out of here and gone to the Sweet 16. We have great fan support up here. I'm sure Utah State, being as close as they are, that will be a challenge. But we are counting on people who have been Arizona fans to help us out a little bit."

Senior Center Channing Frye

On the Team's Mood:

"We feel good right now. Everybody got rested. We are very energetic as you probably saw at practice. I think we have a lot of focus right now and I think that is what we need. I think we learned a lot this year and hopefully we can execute that on Thursday."

On Utah State:

"Basically, Utah State runs a lot of great offenses. They have a lot of older players, a lot of skilled players and they pass the ball really well. Basically we just want to put pressure on them for 40 minutes. They are not a team that is going to beat themselves, we are going to have to go out there and be the aggressor."

On Utah State's Style, Compared to Washington State:

"At first we did (think the styles were similar), but after looking at more and more film we are finding out that they (Utah State) take the first open shot which is usually a good one being that they shoot either one or three in the country for field goal percentage. They push the break on the misses and at first it was just an assumption that they did play like Washington State but it is nothing like them. I think it's just they move very well without the ball and their offensive sets just require passing and getting the open shot."

Senior Guard Salim Stoudamire

On His Shooting:

"The key is my teammates, my coach and coaching staff believing in me. Channing (Frye), Ivan (Radenovic) and Kirk (Walters) setting screens for me. Mustafa (Shakur), Chris (Rodgers), Hassan (Adams) finding me when I am open."

On the Team's Mood:

"We are feeling great. We don't care we have the three seed. It doesn't matter what seed you are, its how you go out and execute your game plan. Utah State is a physical team and we have to match their intensity. And like Channing (Frye) said, play Arizona basketball."

Freshman Guard Jawann McClellan

On Having Fun:

"I'm having a lot of fun. My first open practice, McKale is usually locked down. I'm just having a lot of fun with it (the NCAA tournament), but I'm still being serious."

On Maintaining Focus While Having Fun:

"It's very tough because you want to have fun with it. This is my first time in the tournament, but like I said we have to come out of here with a win, and if you keep winning you have more fun."


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