Olson on the Tournament

We'll be hearing a lot from Lute Olson over the next week. It's the busiest time of year for college basketball. Olson addressed the NCAA Tournament in the first of many press conferences between now and Friday.

Olson opened the press gathering with a brief statement:

"We will work out tonight as I had mentioned. That is primarily to get Hassan (Adams) back into the swing of things. We will show them the breakdown tape that is being put together by the assistants. Then we will take a day off like Tuesday or somewhere in there where we can use tomorrow as one of our get-ready days. We will treat Thursday as a shoot-around type day."

On Wisconsin:

"I have seen them a couple of times on TV. You watch games on TV but not based on who we would match-up with. I watched them because I was curious to see how Brian Butch had developed."

"They're not like they were under Dick (Bennett). They are still a half-court oriented team, not a team that goes up and down a lot, but there are not a lot of teams in the Big Ten that do that a lot."

On what the Cats will try to do:

"We are going to try to play our brand of basketball. I'm sure our style has been faster than their style. In our league there has been a good balance of both."

On whether they were worried about making the field:

"You always sweat out who you are going to play and where you are going to play. That's the only anxiety that I had. There was no way they could leave us out not with our non-conference schedule and they always look at how you finish late in the year. I wasn't the least bit concerned."

On having to travel so far:

"In 1997, we went to Memphis and Birmingham. It doesn't really make a difference."

On Mustafa Shakur getting to play at home in Philadelphia:

"I think he is very excited about that. We'll just be making sure that he doesn't change how he has been playing because of all of that. I don't think that he will. But I know that we had been talking with him from the standpoint of a game in Philadelphia next year if we can get it."

On playing a more high profile team:

"Many times the only tape you had on them (lower seeded teams) was when they played in their tournament final. With Wisconsin we have probably got ten tapes."

On a comparable Pac-10 team:

"Probably the closest one I could think of might be Cal. Their guards are good three-point shooters and their best player is a 6-7 forward (Alando Tucker), though not as physical as Leon Powe. Our league is really an up-tempo league overall."

On Brian Butch (a former Arizona recruit):

"He's developing nicely. We felt he was going to be a good player once he put some weight on and got stronger. It looks like he has developed his body and he is a good shot blocker."

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On continuing the streak of consecutive NCAA appearances:

"It is an important streak to keep going. It is nice to be able to go in when you're recruiting and tell the kid that we were in the tournament four years before you were born."

Whether or not this reaffirms the tough non-conference schedule:

"It may be a case of where we will lighten up a little bit because I don't think that in the long run that is going to keep you from being recognized. I think that our program now is at a point where we have that recognition. With Virginia and North Carolina, a four-year deal with each of them, we did that to get significant east coast coverage on at least two occasions. We have always tried to get out east for a game like the NIT and that kind of thing to get exposure out there."

On whether Hassan Adams would return to the starting lineup:

"I would think so. We will see how the practices go. We will make some of those decisions (lineup) when we see what our best match ups will be."

On a need to play tougher:

"We talked about that afterwards (the UCLA loss). I said there was a good chance that we could get a Big East team or Big 12 or Big Ten or Southeast Conference team. If we do that we're are going to face a much more physical brand of ball than what we normally face in the Pac-10."

On the atmosphere surrounding the tournament:

"It is an exciting time of year. I still think that it is the most exciting sports event of any of them. Everyone is one and done and you have got the underdogs and the favorites. The road to the Final Four, you talk to anyone who is sports fan and there will be very few who will tell you that it is not the biggest event in sports."


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