Morgan Big 12 Teleconference

Iowa State head coach Wayne Morgan spoke with the national media about his team's upcoming matchup with Minnesota on Friday in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament. Here is a transcription.

On Big 12 getting six teams into Tournament this season:

"I think it is a reflection of the strength of the conference. I have said all year that I thought our conference, top to bottom, might be the strongest in the country. Maybe a couple of our teams at the top in games with teams from other conference's top teams might lose a couple games. But if you go 12 schools against 12 schools, top to bottom, we'd prevail most of the time."

On how much the team knows about Minnesota:

"They're geographically close, but we're not paying close attention during the season. They're a team that's not normally on our schedule, but our two A.D.s have been talking about starting a series. We have gone about getting tape and watching tape. We had five games by the time we got back here yesterday, and will probably have five or six more by the time tonight comes. By the time we play them we'll probably have seen their last 20 games."

On Vincent Greer and other Gopher players:

"Vince is a good player and very good scorer. Jeff Hagen is 7-foot tall, is formidable, and works hard to get up and down the court. They've got other good players. We'll have to make the adjustments we have to make, in terms of what they do as a team. The guys that play a majority of the minutes – we'll focus on what they do and how they play."

On career paths crossing with coach Dan Monson:

"We know each other cordially and say hello. We're not close friends or anything like that. I haven't coached against him."

On how accurate the ARCH-PI was:

"It was very accurate. I told him he should start his own website and sell it."

On how confident team was when selection show came on:

"I didn't know, but thought we had done enough. When you look at winning 10 of the last 13, and four of those wins being against top-20 teams. Winning at Kansas – no other conference team had done that. When you look at some of the things we've done against tournament teams, it would have been tough to keep us out. But playing well down the stretch and beating top-20 teams was still a key. The only other teams that did what we did were North Carolina and Illinois."

On what it says to get three teams from state of Iowa in:

"I think that's great. This state is a hotbed for basketball. Everybody in the state loves it. It gives this whole state an opportunity to come together and root like crazy for March Madness. I think it's great that Northern Iowa, Iowa, and ourselves are in."

On where he saw program in two seasons when he took it over:

"I don't know if I thought of an NCAA Tournament two years later, but I saw us in the NCAAs as we built the team. Our objective now is to get to a point where we could build our program where we're perennially in the NCAA. We take that almost for granted and get to a point where we compete to win that thing."

On what the keys have been to get to program's current level:

"Obviously, recruiting has had a lot to do with it. But we've had to play hard, play together, get better as a team, and understand what we're trying to do as a program. All of those things have been helpful."

On his reactions when he saw the Syracuse bracket:

"I kind of look at it like this: it's like a lottery and you've got to play to win. All 65 teams in the NCAA Tournament are pretty good teams and you've got to beat somebody to win. You've got to play somebody hard sooner or later. Whoever the competition is, that's who they are and you look forward to it. You try to get to the point where you hope you can be successful and win that game. Are kids are motivated to win and try to do everything they can to win."

On atmosphere in program when he took over:

"When I first took over, it was like the Civil War. I was like a guy who they found that nobody knew who he was. The year I worked here I was on the road the whole year. I tried to get the fans, players, and everyone associated with the program to have a feeling that we'd be OK and that I knew what I was doing. I tried to get the fans to feel that they could look at their program and see what was going on, and that we'd be fine.

"I was able to calm things down, then once the first year came and we started winning some games people realized we do have a chance to be OK. Doing OK during the regular season kind of eased everyone's feelings. Getting to the Final Four of the NIT last year had everybody feeling we'd be OK. We're on the right path."

On how he would describe his defense and the philosophy:

"We play two or three different defenses and they're all attack defenses. They try to attack you out of them. None of them are passive. We will trap you if you go to certain places on the court or trap certain people if we want to take them out of the game.

"I've developed that philosophy from the time I spent with Jim Boeheim, the time I spent at Long Beach State, and the time I spent at Xavier University with Bob Stack who changed defenses. That's where I got the tape of defenses from."


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