Morgan Big 12 Teleconference

Men's basketball's head man Wayne Morgan discusses the state of the team following the great victory at Kansas and how his team is dealing with its newfound publicity.

Publisher's note, we joined the teleconference late (sorry, I'm sick and moving sluggishly today) so this is just a partial transcript of Wayne Morgan's segment.

Now that Iowa State is getting plenty of publicity and attention, is it harder to keep your kids focused?

Our guys are pretty regular kids. They don't have inflated opinions of themselves or big heads. They understand they've only gotten here by working hard and playing together. Like Tasheed Carr just pointed out, we've still got our backs to the wall.


What did you think about Curtis Stinson going after Damion Staple the way he did during a timeout on Saturday?

That is the personality of our team. Our guys go at each other. I used to worry about it back in the preseason, but they told me to stay out of it and that when the game is over they'll be fine, and they are. They will jump each other hard during the games, and then afterwards they'll hug each other. It was something I was worried about, but that's just how they are.

Can you talk about why your zone defenses are so effective?

It's not a passive zone but an attack zone. Every defense we have we attack out of it, even on the rare occasion when we play man-to-man defense. No matter what defense we play all the basic concepts are the same. It takes a lot of work to learn. Every day in practice we work on man-to-man defense, even though we don't play it that often, because our zone is based on man principles. That's why our zone is good. I've had people who have watched us play defense like that for 10 minutes and practice and then wondered how long we could keep it up. Then they're shocked when we can play it for 40 minutes.

How is your team dealing with the increased expectations as a result of the winning streak?

Our highest expectations are the ones that we have we put on ourselves. I really try hard not pay attention to expectations from the media. When I was at Syracuse I was able to coach Pearl Washington, one of the greatest college players of all time. When he didn't always have success, or had a bag game every now and then, the media would criticize him and that would bother him and I thought it was unfair. So we go by our expectations, not media expectations. Believe it nor, I only mostly read the USA Today and I hope our kids are the same way.

Is your team talking about returning to the NCAA Tournament?

Our kids are talking about the NCAA Tournament but we've tried as a team to take it one game of a time because if we do that we'll make it to the NCAAs. Our focus right now has to be on Texas A&M and only Texas A&M.

What did your team learn about the way it came back to beat Kansas in overtime after missing those free throws down the stretch in regulation?

I think that what it does is it tells our kids is that if you never give up you have a chance. When my kids came out of regulation their heads were down and told them to get their heads up, because they had come too far to lose now. They picked their heads up and we were fortunate enough to win. I think we also learned a lesson because at Texas when we went to overtime their heads were down and we were excited, and I think that played out in overtime. Our kids learned from that.


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