What does this tell you? Brad Kahler/The Daily Illini Photo
Opening statement: Right now the Illini stand 12-5 overall and 3-3 in the league. Saturday going into the Kohl Center to face a good Wisconsin team was tough. We made a couple of runs at them when the score was 44-40 in the half; we just couldn't take advantage of it. Right now, offensively and defensively, we are not doing well.
Q. Health wise, coach, how are you?
A. James Augustine has a hip-pointer and will be out for three days. He needs time to rest. Hopefully James will be ready to go again on Wednesday.
Q. Coach, do you think the time off this week will be good for your team?
A. Yes. I've been saying all year long we need to work on our defense. If we don't we will have a difficult time competing. We must play better defense.
Q. Coach, when you played Wisconsin this weekend do you think it's a combination of their players or their system?
A. Well, I think it's both. All my years as a Purdue assistant we had shooters, rebounders and defenders. You must have guys willing to play roles. Harris and Wilkerson from Wisconsin played well against us, but their role players contributed a lot too. Their players believe in their system and they run it. Wisconsin's system is very good; they do a good job of getting their "bigs" open and screen for them. Right now Wilkerson is one of the better players in our league.
Q. Coach Tom Izzo said the same thing today. It's very hard to get today's kids to buy into what you are trying to do. Why is it so hard?
A. Like I've said before, it is the day and age of PlayStation. Just finding a kid who will just play defense and rebound is tough. On our team we don't have one guy that's a defensive stopper. You look at some of those Wisconsin kids who were not highly recruited. They develop into better players because they believe in what they are teaching them.
Q. Coach Weber, do you have the players to fit your system?
A. Right now we need to find a player who will step up and guard someone. Also, right now we need someone who can become a consistent low-post presence. Someone that can get the basketball and make something happen; if not, get to the free-throw line and make two in a row. Roger Powell is the best we have right now at that. We run plays to get him open on the blocks.
Thank you coach, good luck against Michigan.
Jim O'Brien said today, "Wisconsin's Devin Harris is the best player in our league and Mike Wilkerson is probably the most under-rated player."
Could Nick Smith be that low-post presence? AP Photo