MATT PAINTER: Well, I thought the key for us coming out to play
Iowa really had nothing to do with the Big Ten Tournament or trying
to get into the NCAA Tournament. We played Iowa once this year
in Iowa City and they embarrassed us. They just flat man-handled
us, took us to the woodshed, and that was the one thing we tried to
talk about all week was just trying to play good basketball against
Iowa and redeem ourselves, similar to what we did against Indiana after
they embarrassed us in Bloomington, and I thought our guys responded.
I thought they were aggressive. They were quicker to the basketball.
We won the battle on the boards, and I'm just proud of our players.
I thought they, in a big-time game, played very well but played very
hard, and that's what we have to do. We have to scrap and claw
for everything, and our guys just did a phenomenal job today being ready
to play and going out there and playing hard.
Q. Dave, you picked up a couple of quick fouls and then Kramer came in and just locked down Haluska. He was one-for-five from the field, and two games against you he was 8 for 28. Can you just talk a little bit about what you did to him, but also specifically the job Kramer did on him today?
TEAGUE: (Chris) Kramer did a good job. Kramer has been one
of our defensive rocks all season. We had all the confidence in
the world in matching him up with (Adam) Haluska because we knew Kramer
was tough and he could do a good job of keeping Haluska out of his rhythm
and making it tough on the shot attempts. When I got in foul trouble,
I think Kramer just took it upon his shoulders not to let Haluska get
going because he's the type of player that can handle it and bring those
guys back in and take over the basketball game, and he just did a phenomenal
Q. Carl, what was the difference for you this time against Iowa as opposed to the time you played them last time?
LANDRY: I just tried to play hard, tried to stay aggressive.
The first game they were double teaming me from the top, from the bottom,
from the side. I was expecting it this game and tried to stay
as tough as I could with the ball and tried to find my open teammates
and that's what we did tonight and came out with the win.
Q. Dave, as Matt just talked about, it seemed like you guys definitely came out with a sense of urgency. Was the impetus behind that the fact that you guys have been beaten so bad by Iowa before or was it starting the Big Ten Tournament, obviously the NCAA Tournament? Just what was the crux behind the emotion you guys came out with?
TEAGUE: I think it was, first and foremost, being embarrassed
down in Iowa City. We only had one chance to play those guys in
conference play, so we knew this game was big from a revenge standpoint,
and then it being the Big Ten Tournament kind of added some fuel to
the fire. We knew this was a big game for us and to avenge that
loss we knew we had to come out and be aggressive but be smart on the
defensive end and take some things away and just be ready to play, something
that we weren't ready to do in Iowa City. We made drastic changes
I think from an effort standpoint, and it showed early in the ballgame.
Q. Tarrance, it looked like you were able to get in transition so much. Obviously I know what you love. What was going well for you this game that did not go well in Iowa City? What did you guys see and were able to break down?
CRUMP: I just tried a little harder and tried to take it to our
advantage. A couple times I got the ball on the break and I saw
things and I just tried to make plays and tried to help because they
went down to two fouls. We had to step up on the defensive end
and I just took what they gave me.
Q. Carl, looking ahead tomorrow you'll probably get the task of guarding Greg Oden. Can you tell us what that will be like?
LANDRY: He's one of the best players in the country and he's one
of the best low post players in the country, a great defender, an all-around
good player. It's just going to be tough. So tomorrow I'm
just going to have to be hooked up, try to take away some of his strong
things that he does and make him go to his weak points.
Q. Tarrance, when this team has been good this year the bench has been good, and today you did some good things defensively, but to provide 24 points on 10 of 13 shooting, could you just talk about the collective trio off the bench, how big it was today?
CRUMP: It was very big, especially when Dave (Teague) went
down. We knew someone had to step up. We had prepared to
play very hard, harder than they played. They gave us some open
looks and we made some plays.
Q. This is for David and Carl. How confident are you guys now that you're in the NCAA Tournament, and do you belong, maybe lobby for that?
DAVID TEAGUE: I feel like we've got a lot of work to do. Our goal was to come here and win the tournament. We really can't look past Ohio State right now and look to the NCAA tournament until our business is finished here.
still feel like we're in a good position to have a chance at winning
this tournament, and then from there we'll be a lock. If we win
the tournament we'll be a guaranteed seed in the NCAA Tournament.
That's our main objective first and foremost.
Q. Carl, it seemed like in the first half you were seeing kind of the swarming sort of defense that you saw from them in Iowa City, but then in the second half it seemed like maybe you had a little more room. Did they change something in the second half because you guys were shooting the three pretty well?
LANDRY: Yeah, we started knocking down shots from the perimeter.
David (Teague) did a good job in the beginning, the first half, so did
Chris Lutz and the rest of my teammates. They have to focus on
them guys more, and I was able to get some position down low and get
Q. David, will it feel odd rooting for Illinois tonight because Illinois is another bubble team?
DAVID TEAGUE: No, I'm still not rooting for IU (laughter). It'll be good if they won it and our chances were good, but I still can't root for IU no matter how it shakes out. We just know we have to do what we have to do to take care of our own business, to take care of business, but I still can't root for the Hoosiers.
MODERATOR: We'll finish up with questions for Coach Painter now.
Q. I asked the players, but obviously David gets those two fouls and that part of the game was maybe the key part of the game. Haluska, just he couldn't do anything against him. Talk about how important that segment was and the job that Kramer did on him.
COACH MATT PAINTER: (Chris) Kramer started on him even when David was in the game, so it wasn't like David got in foul trouble and we had to switch up. We had David guarding in Iowa City and he did a good job and everybody else just killed us. So we thought it was better for Chris to guard him and just to stay with him the whole time and wear him down, similar to what we tried to do with (Michigan State's Drew) Neitzel, just stay with him at times and don't give a lot of help.
There's some risk to how we defend players like Adam Haluska and Drew Neitzel. I think Chris (Kramer) just has a strong will and a lot of discipline and knows what's going on and when to go for steals and when not to go for steals. I thought he did a good job on him. But I think that the key to our game was just being aggressive and not letting those other guys go wild.
Tyler Smith is a very good player. He scored points against us the first
time. But the key was not letting (Tony) Freeman and (Mike) Henderson
and (Seth) Gorney and Cyrus Tate combine for 40 points like they did
in the first meeting.
Q. Talk about the importance of this win in terms of your NCAA tournament resume. Do you belong in the tournament now do you think?
COACH MATT PAINTER: Well, I felt that we belonged in the tournament before. It doesn't necessarily mean you're going to get in. There's always a handful of teams that get left out that deserve to be in it. I felt that we were one of those teams, right there, either a little bit in or a little bit out, and hopefully this helped our chances.
can't control that. The only thing you can control is how you
prepare your team and get them ready, and we're just getting ready for
Ohio State, and if it's enough, it's enough. If it's not, then
there's not a whole lot you can do about it.
Q. Just to clarify then, your game plan, I know in some games you kind of rotate guards on people like Neitzel and stuff, but do you really envision Chris being kind of the guy in this game keeping him on them most of the time?
MATT PAINTER: Exactly, yeah.
Q. There was a time you got off to a good start and there was a time in the first half where you lose David, and they were into the line a lot, which as you know Iowa usually strokes it and they missed a bunch of free throws. Were you thinking maybe then, maybe we dodged a bullet a little bit and the game is kind of going our way?
COACH MATT PAINTER: We were fortunate they missed some free throws in that stretch. Our pressure was a little counterproductive at times because they were getting some free points by us putting our hands on them. But with us, when we've done that before and people went to the free throw line and we'd back up, it's not been good.
We lose our aggressive style and how we play and how we get after it and pursuing the basketball and making that next play, and so we just tried to stay with it and just kind of regroup a little bit and talk about playing more with our feet and still putting pressure on the ball, and then at times give it a little bit more help off non-shooters and talking to each other out there.
I thought that was the reason why we got our lead, but it was also the
reason why they were cutting it, chipping away at the lead at the one
time. We just tried to stay with it and play a little bit smarter
than we had before.
Q. Marcus Green has obviously been spotty for you guys this year, but he played pretty well.
MATT PAINTER: Spotty is a good word.
Q. He played pretty well tonight, and then obviously Tarrance, and Chris gave you some things when he was on the court. Can you just talk about that package?
COACH MATT PAINTER: Well, I thought Marcus Green gave us a boost and was able to score the ball for us, and that's what we need him to do. He has struggled with that. It's tough. It's like a pinch hitter in baseball and trying to get some consistency. It's just a tough role to play when you're a shooter because you never really get that rhythm because you don't play a lot of minutes. But tonight he was great for us and I thought he did a pretty good job defensively.
when Tarrance (Crump) is able to break down the defense it gives us
another look, and he did that tonight and made some plays, especially
in the first half, and then (Chris) Lutz got into foul trouble but he
hit a big three, and then he gets three assists, no turnovers, which
is very important.
Q. It seemed like in the first half he got that kind of swarming, trapping defense that he got in Iowa City, then maybe it looked like there was a little bit more room for him in the second half. Is that a product of these guys knocking down some shots or you spreading the floor a little bit more? Did you change anything strategically?
COACH MATT PAINTER: No, I was just trying to tell them to pass the basketball and not shoot it so quickly. David (Teague) hit two right away, Carl (Landry) hit one right away. There's half of them in the first five minutes.
Keaton Grant hit one in the first half, Marcus Green hit one in the second half. We had one three we hit in the second half. It didn't really have anything to do with our ability to make perimeter shots. I thought if we were patient and moved the ball and hit spacing on the defensive end we could do things. If we rushed things or forced things or tried to pass it into him after two or three passes they are going to be able to swarm him.
thought at times in the second half we didn't play really smart.
I thought if we could put them on defense we were in a great position,
and when we did that, we either got to the free throw line or we got
a good look.
Q. When last you saw Ohio State in Columbus, you kind of got them into a grind-it-out game, was pretty low scoring. Is that kind of what your hope is for tomorrow, or are you feeling pretty good about where you guys are with your up tempo where maybe pace is not a big deal?
COACH MATT PAINTER: I don't know if pace is a big deal with us. I think at times we have to steal points, whether that's in transition or on the glass. We have to be able to steal points and we have to be efficient from the free-throw line. I think that's more important to us than the pace of the game. I don't know if we have enough guys where we can dictate that, either, for how they play.
They are similar to how the fab five were when I played in the Big Ten. A lot of people didn't realize how good they were in the half court. When you think of the Fab Five and you think of up and down, running all the time, and I think Ohio State, they have a lot of weapons, a lot of talent, but if they don't get in the open court and they bait and they let the big fellow come down or (Othello) Hunter come down, they're pretty good and they spread you.
it gets up tempo or it stays in the half court, I think Ohio State has
proven they have a lot of success no matter how the game gets played
Q. That's kind of what I was going to ask you. Is Ohio State as good as advertised, and what would it take for you to be successful against them?
COACH MATT PAINTER: I think they're very good, and I think some of the close losses they've had at home, whether that was to us or Penn State, to Michigan State, especially the fashion how Michigan State unfolded with them being up 20 at the half and Maurice Joseph having a three to win it, I think it strengthens a young team because they get in those close games where they've had big leads, or they beat us by 18 points and they turn around ten days later and play us again and now with five minutes to go it's a possession game. So I think that strengthens Ohio State.
They're very good. They're very talented. For me to gauge them against the other teams in the top ten that we haven't played, that's hard to do.
I just think Greg Oden is very good. He's a game changer. Regardless if he makes a shot or not. He's a game changer. He makes you adjust what you're trying to do at all times, and then when you bring in Hunter as a backup, I think if he played probably for anybody else and got touches, he'd be an all-conference type guy. I think he probably will be next year.
bring Daequan Cook off the bench and that says it all for me because
I think the world of him. He's very talented, and we'll see in
the next few years how talented he'll be.
Q. Your message to your team tonight, will it be in part, guys, this was a great opportunity, you're on national television, playing the No. 1 team in the country, used to play in these games, haven't played in one in a long time and this is a great opportunity not just to polish up your resume but it's a great opportunity for the program. Will you mention any of that to them?
COACH MATT PAINTER: I'll just mention the same thing that I mentioned about playing Iowa. Iowa embarrassed you. Now we have to kind of get back and get that respect back and prove to Iowa and their program that we're pretty good. I think that's first and foremost for us. We've been down and out a little bit, and we've had some tough times. We've had some tough years, and now I think we're going in the right direction, but we still haven't beaten Ohio State.
just ask them to work hard and be efficient and play smart and play
harder than them and put themselves in the same position they did in
Columbus and then don't play like your hair is on fire the last five
minutes of the game. For us that has a lot to do with Ohio State.
I thought they stepped it up, but we put ourselves in a great position
there and we weren't able to convert. You only get those opportunities
so often to play a team of that caliber, and now we have that opportunity
again, but we have to put ourselves in that position first before we
can talk about it.