Coach's Corner: A look at L.A.

The Cats head to Los Angeles and for the first time in years the Wildcats will be the only ranked team. However, just because USC and UCLA are down, don't expect the Wildcats to take the two lightly. The Cats know that they have a bullseye on their uniforms and the Trojans and Bruins would love to knock them off. Lute Olson discussed the upcoming road trip.

Coach's Corner is sponsored by Pueblo Inn. With a resort type setting, Pueblo Inn is ideally located for both business and leisure travelers, For more information, click on the banner below.

Question: Have you settled into a regular starting lineup and substitution pattern and are better defensively than you were a year ago?
Lute Olson: "We're expecting that we'll have the same lineup out on the floor that we had on Saturday and start getting people to understand what their roles are. It was pretty obvious with the job that Andre (Iguodala) did on Doug Wrenn (that we're better defensively). When I was asked at the start of the season how I could see this team being better, I said we'll be able to do a better job matching up with three quick guards on the perimeter as opposed to what we did a year ago. If you recall, to try to match the quickness (of other teams), we had to go with three guards and then we got hurt badly on the boards. This time around, that should not happen."
"We'll face that same situation (of Iguodala defending a player like Doug Wrenn) with (USC's Desmon) Farmer in the three spot. He's quick, he shoots the perimeter three and he puts it on the floor really well. And of course you know what (UCLA's Jason) Kapono's potential is when he's hitting. We're hoping that what happened with Wrenn here will be something that we can count on from a defensive standpoint when we'll be able to utilize the freshmen in those defensive situations."

Question: What are your thoughts on USC?
Olson: "USC is a very athletic team. The Craven twins both take the ball to the basket very well. Errick (Craven) is a better perimeter shooter than Derrick (Craven), but Derrick does a nice job of running the point for them. (Rory) O'Neil has been shooting the ball well and the thing is that he's a good face-up shooter like Rick Anderson is. So it's not just a back-to-the-basket thing he does, you have to guard him out on the floor. They are a team that can be a problem for anyone."

Question: Where does this team need to get better?
Olson: "If we're going to reach the goals that are established, we have to have the freshmen not play like freshmen any more. We're not too far from halfway through the season. Those two (Hassan Adams and Iguodala), along with Ricky, should be our best offensive rebounders, but they're nowhere near where they should be. If you do your job and do it well, then we, as a team, will be that much better. It's maturity and concentration on what needs to be done. The reason that they're not good offensive rebounders is that they're not consistently going after every ball."

Question: Based on what has happened at UCLA this week, are the pressures in coaching too high?
Olson: "UCLA is like a Kentucky or a North Carolina where there's going to be a tremendous amount of expectations with those jobs. With the three I mentioned, I can't imagine any tougher job because you're expected to win, and win them all by very large margins."

Talk about this on the BASKETBALL MESSAGE BOARDS

Wildcat Authority Top Stories