Olson on Illinois

The Cats and Illinois have met five times since 2000, all on a neutral court. The two teams meet again Saturday in Phoenix. Lute Olson met with the media on Friday to discuss the Illini.

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Opening statement:

"It should be a great day of college basketball at US Airways. I don't think you will se a better doubleheader anywhere."

"This will be an important stretch for us against really quality competition. With two of the games at neutral sites it will give us the opportunity we try to get every year (to get ready for the pac-10)"

"We hope to continue to make progress, that is our biggest concern right now. We are getting better game by game. I think we are moving much better without the ball. The passing is getting better because we are able to anticipate cuts better."

"Defensively I think we have done a better job of getting pressure on shooter sand keep people out of the lane on drives."

"One of the challenges we have not had at this point, we will get with Illinois, that is in dealing with a big guy inside. He is 6-10, 245, he is very physical and shoots the ball well. We are going to have to do something to limit the number of shot attempts he gets. You look at his stats, it is not a case it comes back out. He has three assists in nine games."

On Illinois' balance:

"I think it will be a good test for both teams. I am sure we will both come out of the game knowing more about our team and being better prepared for what is ahead by playing this."

"Our guys are just like our fans, our guys like to play against good teams. Our fans like to see us play good teams. I don't think there will be a need for motivation for anybody in this double header."

On the need for a good defensive effort:

"If we are not a good defensive team you are going to see it in a hurry. That is the thing about playing against good teams, if you have weaknesses the weaknesses are exposed quickly. If they are exposed quickly then that will give you things you have to work on to get ready for conference play. It will be a good test."

On the game potentially being high scoring:

"I am more concerned about the kind of job we an do on the other end.. I think we can score. I am really happy with the way Mustafa is getting the ball out. I've been happy with the way our entire team is going to the defensive boards now. This will be a real test because this team will be the best offensive rebounding team we have faced to this point."

On the Wildcat Offense:

"I like the way our guys are sharing the ball. I look back at the tape from this last week there are very few shots now that are taken not within the context of our offense. Everybody is giving the ball up. Take a look at the assists, they are spread around."

"I think we will be a very good offensive team, I just think we need to be a good defensive team if we are going to have a shot at being as good a team as we can be."


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