AllHoosiers.com is in Omaha for Friday’s game between No. 7 Wichita State and a No. 10 Indiana. Here is a transcript from when four IU players were at the podium earlier Thursday talking about their own team and the Shockers./p> p>THE MODERATOR: Nick Zeisloft, James Blackmon, Jr., Troy Williams and Yogi Ferrell represent the student body of the Indiana Hoosiers. They're the No. 10 seed in the Midwest region; they're out of the Big 10 conference, they will play No. 7 Wichita State in Friday's second game.
Q. Yogi, as you look at Wichita State, what are some of the things that they present that make them a difficult match for you guys? What makes them good?
YOGI FERRELL: One thing about their team is they're a very solid team. They've got basically five solid positions, and that's what makes them such a great team. They start junior and seniors, so they're obviously a lot more experienced than we are. They've got great 3-point shooters; they've got great post presence. Like I said before, just a great experienced team.
Q. Nick, you have played against Wichita State several times. What do you try to impart to your teammates about what it's like to play against them?
NICK ZEISLOFT: Like what Yogi just said, they're a great team, very tough, and they know their roles on the court and they do those very well. They're much more experienced than we are. We can't let that affect us at all. They've been in this stage for plenty of years now. Their program is very well known and they are a winning program.
Q. Nick, from your firsthand looks at Tekele Cotton, how do you describe his defense and help teammates prepare for him?
NICK ZEISLOFT: He's one of the toughest players in the country. His strength and leadership and toughness is very tough to play against. He's one of the best defenders I've seen, and we're going to have to do a great job of putting him in areas that we can attack him on and know that he's a great defender out there and still play offense how we can.
Q. Yogi, what do you remember about Fred VanVleet from the AAU Circuit a few years back, and did you kind of see then the level of player he's become now?
YOGI FERRELL: Yeah, I definitely see that now, him being a great guard, leading; can definitely knock down the big shot. One thing I remember he's a great facilitator, so that's one thing he does very well, gets his guys involved and makes his teammates better. That's what I can remember from playing him at AAU.
Q. Seems like everyone is talking Kansas/Wichita State on Sunday. You guys hearing any of that? You feel like you're being slighted at all?
JAMES BLACKMON: We haven't been paying too much attention to that. We're just trying to read into what we can do on this game and we're focused on Wichita State and we want to get the win and play against Kansas.
Troy WILLIAMS: We heard about it, Coach told us about it. We don't see each other as a local team or a local act, so we're just going to put up a great fight against them.
Q. Yogi, problems in the off-season and this season. In what ways do you think your team has grown up and become more accountable to one another?
YOGI FERRELL: I think one of the ways we have grown up is when we took that trip to Montreal, I felt like as a team, getting to know each other and getting to know each other better, coming together. We have had our off-the-court problems before, but I felt like we've came a long way from that. When I listen to all the outside really, we're just all staying together as a team, not reading articles with our names in it, not listening to what anybody says. Just listening to our coaches and teammates. That's the only people that really help us.
Q. Yogi, Wichita State's mantra is to play "angry." If you had to describe how Indiana plays and how you need to play tomorrow, what would it be?
YOGI FERRELL: The way we want to play is the Indiana way. I feel like we know what we can do. We showed it in the Big Ten Tournament. I felt like those two games we played desperate, so that's what I'm giving off to these guys is to go out there and play desperate. We have to take every possession by control, because the game can come down to one possession. We just gotta go out there and play desperate and play our hearts out.
Q. Nick and Yogi, both of you mentioned Wichita State's experience in the NCAA Tournament. How much of a factor is that? How much is that going to matter what you start playing?
NICK ZEISLOFT: It's going to help them, as they've been here. But we're excited to be here right now and we're ready for them tomorrow. It's not going to be a big deciding factor, but we're ready to go. I think experience at this time of the year is going to be a huge key.
YOGI FERRELL: Definitely them being in the Tournament the past couple of years, that will help them, they got more feel to the game and a little bit more feel to the big stage. We've only got two players that have been to the NCAA Tournament, me and Hanner Mosquera-Perea our freshman year, so we've gotta just come out the gate early and swing hard, not get to hyped up about the big stage, just go out there and play the game like a normal game.
Q. Yogi, you mentioned the trip to Montreal. What was it about that trip that you said brought you guys together? Were there times you were worrying about those problems defining you guys and maybe talk a little more about how you kept that from happening.
YOGI FERRELL: The trip to Montreal was about a week. We just played a couple of teams, just to get to know each other better; basically had kind of a brand new team. I felt like at that time we kinda knew each other's games, learned about each other, about each other's background, and each other's basketball games. A lot of people were scrutinizing us about off-court situations, and like I said, we didn't read the articles online. We stayed together as a team; Coach was in our ear saying that people were going to down-talk us, but I felt like we kept each other's spirits up.
Q. Nick, when you came to Indiana this past summer, did you expect you would have the type of role that you have had and did you think that you were joining an NCAA-caliber team?
NICK ZEISLOFT: I could tell from the first week coming in and seeing the pieces that we had that we were capable of doing something special. We did have some ups and downs, but we've kept it even keel the whole year, despite the downs. We have rallied together, and I could tell that would happen in the first few months where we would just stick together through any adversity, I could tell that we could be a real great team.