Bruce Weber's Press Conference

<p>Today Bruce Weber addressed the media as the Illini get ready for their first round match-up with Murray State.

Q: Coach, how is Roger Powell doing today?

A: He's doing fine. He just needed to get some rest, and not practicing today should really help him.

Q: Coach, is this a team you feel you can press a little?

A: Yes, we hope so. They have a lot of combo guards. They do have a transfer that played high-level D-1 hoops. This game will be a challenge for our boys. They have to be ready to play.

Q: Coach, you went through some off the court dealing. Now Murray State appears to have some problems. What are your thoughts on that?

A: We've gone through similar things here. It's too bad because they have their shining moment and then something like this happens. We don't know if he's going to play the kids or not; we'll just have to wait and see. There's no doubt this will be a distraction to their team. Never is a good time for this to happen, but right now during the NCAA tournament has to be tough on them.

Q: Do you know their coach at all?

A: No, not really. I've seen him recruiting players but that's about it.

Q: Will the players be focused this week after the long weekend?

A: I hope the focus will be there. We need that zip in our step again. It's been a long twelve game stretch for us. How many teams in the country can say they've played that many road games at the end of the season? Not too many. Coming home last night my daughter said to me, "Dad, aren't you tired of all this traveling?" So this has definitely been a long stretch.

Q: Did James Augustine make strides this weekend?

A: Right now James is happy he made a jumps hot outside the lane. I would have rather a put-back dunk got him excited. However, yesterday no one played well except for Dee.

Q: Coach, can you comment on your post play?

A: I've told people for months now that we have good guards but we will go as far as our post players can go. Yesterday was tough for Nick. He was trailing the plays all day. They were a step behind.

Q: Even though you have a young team they are tournament tested. Do you think last year's experience will help them?

A: Hopefully it will make them hungry. When I first got here we talked about that. They know Western Kentucky was a tough game and you can't take teams for granted. I told them I didn't think they should have lost to Notre Dame and they didn't seem ready to play.

Q: Coach, can you talk about the 12-5 match-up?

A: 12s are tough because you get the top Mid-Major schools and the 13s, 14s and 15s may not be at that level. ESPN's Jay Bilas said we were going to lose anyway.

Q: Coach, yesterday there was a lot of talk about starting the Big Ten tournament early and finishing on Wednesday. How do you feel about that?

A: We couldn't believe how quick the show was on yesterday. Our boys didn't have time to take a shower. They felt last year beating OSU and winning the tournament would help their seeding, and it didn't. One of my assistants told me that the selection committee had already made their decision on Saturday. If that's the case why play the games. Are the kids just waiting around to get t-shirts or something? That's really not fair to the kids and I hope that's not the case because that's not fair.

Thanks Coach.

Illini Inquirer Top Stories