Coaches Corner: Olson on UCLA

The Cats head to Los Angeles for key games against UCLA and USC. The Wildcats are riding a four game win streak, due in large part to great defensive pressure. Coach Olson discussed UCLA as well as how the team has been winning.

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Question: Are you worried about UCLA after the way you won here at McKale this past weekend?

Lute Olson: "As far as the UCLA game is concerned, I am sure they are excited about us coming in, there is no question that they really let this one here get away. We've had, really, some exciting games against them over there, including last year's. They are very good, when they want to be good and I m sure they are frustrated by the Villanova loss, especially when Villanova held the ball so much of the time. They know that it s not going to be that kind of game with us."

Question: What problems do the Bruins pose?

Olson: "The primary problem (they cause) are with the three-point shooting with (Matt) Barnes, (Billy) Knight and (Jason) Kapono. They really spread you out; you just can t let them get looks at threes. And here when they ran up that lead, a lot was fast break situations and they would throw it behind the break and they were nailing it from everywhere. The other thing is with (Dan) Gadzuric inside you have your hands full if he is not in foul trouble. He had the game of his life last year when we played over there. It is a great rivalry and it has been for a lot of years now, it will be a packed house, a great atmosphere."

Question: Are the freshmen ready for Pauley?

Olson: There again is the reason we play the non-conference schedule that we play. Texas was a tough place to play; Michigan State was an unbelievably tough place to play. So we ve been at Oregon and Stanford, I don t think the atmosphere is a problem; it is a plus for us. Our guys tend to play better (in a big-game atmosphere)."

Question: What are your thoughts on last week's wins?

Olson: "In looking back at the two games last weekend, defensively, we ve played the best we ve played all year long, that includes Stanford and anyone else we ve played this season. That's encouraging to see that we re getting better defensively. When you get better defensively you can withstand bad shooting nights. And the big defensive change has been the activeness of Channing Frye inside. The thing that we have been battling there is to get Channing to react quickly. We re just a lot better right now than we were three weeks ago defensively."

Question: What things do you need to improve on in the last few weeks of the season?

"We need to shoot better from the perimeter than what we ve done. We need to get better defensive balance to stop fast break opportunities and that will be a big concern against UCLA. Frankly, our guards have not been doing a good job of giving us defensive balance that we need."


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