Davis Talks Tourney

IU Coach Mike Davis talked Monday about his team's late-season turnaround and the team's prospects as it gears up for this week's Big Ten Postseason Tournament.

We had a good week last week winning two road games. This is a big week for us. We're definitely looking forward to it and hope to be successful.

What's your thought on conference tournaments? With so many big-conference schools getting at-large bids, would you prefer to just use the extra week to get ready for the postseason?
I think the tournament is definitely important because some teams might struggle and you never know how hot you might get during this time. You can come in and win three or four games and win the tournament and give yourself a chance to make the tournament.

Also, if you don't have a lot of teams that might have a chance to go to the NIT or NCAA they might just stop playing for you. I think it's very important.

Having been a team that played in the Sunday final, does that take a lot out of your team? I think you have a couple of days off before you have to play gain. At this point of the season you should be in great shape.

You said that there's something different about your team since you announced your decision to step down at the end of the season. What's different?
They're having fun again. There's no pressure on them. That's one reason I stepped aside. I want to see them enjoy their final run of the season. It got to the point that it wasn't fun. They had so much on their minds about me, and it just wasn't fun for them.

Now that there's no uncertainty about me, they are just coming out and having fun. When you see us play you can see it on their faces. The last four games we've won in a row, we've been behind in every game at some point. A team that wasn't having fun might have folded during that stretch.

I'm enjoying it, and they are definitely enjoying playing right now.

Where is your team right now as you get ready for the Big Ten Tournament?
We're right where we need to be. I feel like we have a chance to do what we set out to do, and that's to try to make it as deep as we can in the tournament and try to play for another championship.

Without any injuries, I feel like our mindset, our attitude, everything is perfect right now. So what we have to do is come out and just play the games.

A couple of weeks ago you said that it didn't matter to you whether the Big Ten Tournament was played in Indianapolis or Chicago. Now that it won't affect you any more, what are your thoughts?
From a family standpoint, I think Indianapolis would be better just because the hotels are right downtown and you can walk to the arena from the hotels. Sometimes I think it puts a strain on the families when they have to get transportation back and forth to the arena.

Chicago is definitely a great town. But if I was a parent and I wanted to go see my son play, I definitely wouldn't mind being 2-3 blocks away from the event.

Is there still a sense of urgency for this bunch, something to prove?
There's nothing to prove, it's just that we set goals before the season, and I think their mindset right now is pointing toward that direction and they know that we can go out and do it.

You've seen us play the last four games. It's a different basketball team. It's the team that you saw against Kentucky and all those teams. Their minds are free.

What we want to do is just go out and do our best. Just take one game at a time. That's the way it is now. You lose one game either in the Big Ten Tournament or the NCAA Tournament and you're done. So we're not going to add any pressure. We're just going to go out and have fun.

How many teams should qualify for the postseason out of the Big Ten, either NCAA or NIT?
I think we have about 10 teams. I think the only team that might be under .500, and Northwestern is right there at .500. I think everyone who is .500 and above should definitely be in something, because if this is the best conference in the country, and we have the strongest RPI in the country, that means we play tough games home and away.

If anyone is .500 or above, they should definitely be invited to one of the events.

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