Jeff Bzdelik: Well, the first thing is offensively, I think our players know that when we stay disciplined, we execute, we have a chance to score the ball. We shot 63 percent against the No. 3-rated defensive team in terms of field goal percentage, on their home court. And yet, in the first half, we only shot 48 percent on them. And we were only 2 for 9 on threes. We settled on threes and only got to the free throw line once. We took some bad threes early on which bailed out their defense. The second half, we only took 3 threes, and got to the free throw line nine times, I believe.
I think it helps for our players as we go along. Our last five games, we're over 50 percent from the floor. So they're starting to buy in to what we want offensively. On the flip side, defensively, they don't really understand how we want them to move. Their positioning has got to prove. We're not good enough to just rely on scoring the ball.
Q: What's your impression of the Aggies now that you've seen them up close?
Jeff Bzdelik: Well, they're obviously very athleticism and long. Although their athleticism didn't hurt us, they're skill positions hurt us. We shot the ball extremely well, but we allowed them to make six uncontested threes in that first half. But they're deep, they're long, athletic and have some veteran players. They have a great mix to their team.
Q: Jeff when you play Nebraska, will it be nice to have a team you can look in the eye, as far as size?
Jeff Bzdelik: (laughs) Yes. That will be beneficial. But, you know, it's how big you play. All the games are going to be so competitive. Yes, Nebraska's not overly big, but they're very athletic. And, of course, they have a real big guy in the middle who can score (Alecs Maric).
It really is a pretty simple game. Don't turn the ball over, make more shots than your opponent and get timely shots. Hopefully, we can do that.
Q: Are you developing some kind of "take care of the home court" philosophy?
Jeff Bzdelik: We haven't' played very well at home. We've actually played better on the road. Why that is, I'm not sure. We inherited a schedule where we never really had a string of home games. We'd play a home game, then we're on the road for two or three. It never really gave us a chance to develop any continuity or confidence at home. Next year, that will change, but all the other Big 12 teams will play eight out of their first 12 games at home, or whatever.
I think we played the least amount of home games in our non-conference schedule. That's not an excuse. We're not about excuse or explanation. But, we obviously would just haven't' played well at home consistently. That's got to change.
Q: With the students back, do you feel like the crowd might be a little different now?
Jeff Bzdelik: I hope so. We're going to do everything we can to promote that. I think there's a lot of positives. We have a winning record. We've won three out of our last five. There's a lot of positive things as we move forward. This is a work in progress, but hopefully they'll be there for us. That would be a big lift for us.
Q: Is Marcus King-Stockton going to be in the starting lineup?
Jeff Bzdelik: Everybody gets so hung up on who starts. We started him last game. He and Jermyl (Jackson-Wilson) have been splitting time. Marcus has been practicing really well, and I think that's reflected in his play because you do play like you practice.
He gives us much needed size in there. He's done a great job. He understand what we want offensively and defensively, he plays within himself. Nothing Jermyl hasn't done. Both of them are gonna play. I've told them many times: Give me all you've got for half a game. Like last game, combined they were 6 for 6 from the floor. Those are great numbers.
Q: Did it take a little while longer for Marcus to understand the system? He didn't play a lot early.
Jeff Bzdelik: Well, some of that was he just hadn't been practicing real well. He's a very smart young man and he's been practicing very well as of late. I think he's gotten himself in better shape. He really embodies what we look for here. He has a great attitude, he's very unselfish, he plays within his limitations and to his strength. It's really coming together for him very nicely to have a great end to his career here at CU.
Q: Can you give me a little bit of a progress report on Xavier Silas and how he's buying in?
Jeff Bzdelik: He has done a tremendous job, particularly in the last five games. His numbers are really reflective of his understanding what we want offensively. He cuts hard, he plays hard. I think people forget that he's only in his second year here. He's a very intelligent player. He's very strong and physical. He mixes up his game – he can hit a three and he can drive it.
Q: Does he remind you of a taller version of his dad? Did you ever see his dad (former ABA/NBA great James Silas) play?
Jeff Bzdelik: I did see his dad play. I don't know if you can compare anyone to his dad. That would be unfair to Xavier because his dad, obviously, was a great player. Xavier is a really good player in his own right.
I know his dad communicates with him a lot and shares his experiences with him.