Weekly SEC Basketball Press Conference

"This is a conference, on paper, which six, seven or eight teams are good enough to play in the NCAA Tournament." - Jim Harrick on the SEC


Dave Odom, South Carolina: "We are coming off a disappointing loss to Vanderbilt. I thought Vanderbilt outplayed us in every phase and their coaches and players deserve a lot of credit. This is the first time I have been very disappointed in my team. I thought we came out unconcerned and Vanderbilt certainly took advantage of us. It is a hard lesson to learn, but one we hopefully did learn from. I think Tennessee is as athletic as any team in the SEC and that's saying something."

Billy Donovan, Florida: "I think this is a big week for us and we've got some time to focus on ourselves before playing Arkansas at their place which is always a tough test. I thought Udonis (Haslem) played a pretty good game against Georgia. I thought we were very impatient on the perimeter and that was disappointing to me. I would of liked to see him get more touches. I think our team has played well all year long, but you have to give Georgia credit, they played a great game."

Jim Harrick, Georgia: "The think that bother's me about our conference is the injuries that are occurring in this league. This is a conference, on paper, which six, seven or eight teams are good enough to play in the NCAA Tournament. Arkansas' pressing and traps have killed us in the past. We have to take care of the ball and play better in order to win. I was surprised and certainly pleased the way we handled Florida."

Tubby Smith, Kentucky: "At this time, we arte trying to stay focused. When you step out of conference play, you just want your team to stay focused. Auburn is one of the top home teams in the conference and they are a very talented team. We've blown some leads and anywhere away from home is tough to win. We have to make sure we don't get distracted by the crowd, especially at Auburn."

Sharon Fanning, Mississippi State (Women's): "We are going to try and get back on track this Thursday. We didn't play good defense or rebound the basketball over the weekend. We are going to try and re-focus and get back on the winning track at home against Arkansas."

Buzz Peterson, Tennessee: "We are stepping out of league play one more time and hoping to end non-conference play on a good note. We need to replace Ron Slay and we need those who are playing in Ron's play to give us rebounding help and playing an emotional role. Ron has a possible torn ACL, but they are doing an MRI today and we will know what the deal is for sure after that. You sit there and think what else could go wrong. Ron is a leader, he's our second leading scorer and rebounder. We are going to miss him a lot, but then again it is a good opportunity for some of our freshman to get some playing time."

Kevin Stallings, Vanderbilt: "We are happy to be coming off two wins. We had a good win the other night at South Carolina. It was one of the better games we played all year and it gives us some nice momentum going into this week. After having a start the way we did, it was nice to come back and get a couple of wins. Matt Freije just completely dominated the game and had a great game on both ends of the floor. The other night against South Carolina was a little more difficult for him. I don't know if I ever had a guy do more of what the coaches want of them than Matt."

John Brady, LSU: "We're coming off an Auburn win where our team played well, particularly defensively. We'll get two days of preparations and then go to Ole Miss and give it our best shot. If there is one thing that sticks out about that team, it is their unselfishness and how well they play together. I think Justin Reed is very difficult to guard, just like Ronald Dupree is for us. Anybody around the goal presents us with problems because that is our most deficient area. We have to be able to guard them around the goal and get some rebounds for us to have a chance to win."

Mark Gottfried, Alabama: "I think this is a good week for us to get a breather. Last year we didn't have any period off like this so this is going to be good for us and hopefully we'll be ready to play Saturday. I don't know that anybody in our conference is going to beat any other team by 40 as some other conference have had happened this season."

Joe Ciampi, Auburn (Women's): "This team played with more determination and toughness lately and hopefully we are finding the right combinations to compete well in this league. As a coach, you are always looking over your shoulder to make sure you are doing the right thing. You not only have to be good at the X's and O's, but you also have to be a good recruiter. I think the coaches in this league now are doing a very good job. Any young coach coming into this league needs a five year contract just to implement their system and get use to the play of this league."

Cliff Ellis, Auburn: "Kentucky is an excellent ball club which are coming off a couple big wins. Tubby (Smith) has got his team playing well. We feel we are ready to play, but we also know Kentucky is going to come in here ready to play. All of our forwards need to be ready to defend Tayshaun Prince."

Rod Barnes, Ole Miss: "We had a great win at Arkansas and we will have another tough one against LSU. We have got to try and build from that win and we have to take advantage of the few home games we have here. Ronald Dupree is a very sound player who has done a great job in our conference. He can go inside and outside and I thought he was definitely a guy who had consideration for Player of the Year in the SEC last season."

Rick Stansbury, Mississippi State: "I think the off week comes at a good time for us and it gives us a little more time to prepare for Saturday's game. We have a very tough LSU team coming here Saturday. When you go on the road against a good basketball team, you have to limit your margin of error. Against Alabama, we made some bad decisions and it makes it very difficult to win when you turn the ball over. We are just going to try and put that game behind us and get ready for our next game."

Nolan Richardson, Arkansas: Not available for teleconference

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