Louisville players discuss Arizona

Louisville's Terrence Williams and Andre McGee met with the Media Thursday in Indianapolis to talk about Friday's Sweet 16 game against Arizona.

Q. Terrence, you seem to have this gregarious personality when you're on the floor. Have you always been that way? Why do you think that's the case?

TERRENCE WILLIAMS: I always been that way. I think it's a case 'cause a lot of people take basketball too serious. Even though it's a serious game, you want to win, but you can still smile while playing hard, by trying to win the game.

So I want to be a rare guy that smiles all the time. There's a couple of us in the country still. With you I just like smiling, having fun. It's me, DeJuan Blair, Johnny Flynn smiles a lot. Those are the guys with the good smiles (smiling).

Q. You're playing a team that by most accounts slipped into the tournament with their record. I know you've seen film that shows how good they are. What motivational techniques has Coach Pitino used to get you beyond their record to take a look at the team and how to prepare for them?

ANDRE McGEE: He doesn't really have to motivate us. We watch film. We can understand, you know, who's good players and who aren't good players. If you watch Arizona, you can tell they're loaded with talent. They have three potential pros on their team, great guys that know their roles. We don't really look at their record. They're in the Sweet-16, just as we are, and 14 other teams. They're here for a reason. They showed that by the way they've been playing in the tournament.


Andre McGee talked with media about
Louisville's Sweet 16 contest vs.
Arizona Thursday in Indianapolis.

BILL BENNER: Terrence, do you care to respond?

TERRENCE WILLIAMS: No. Andre took my answer (laughter).

Q. You both made big free throws in this last game. A lot has been talked about struggling from the line. How much has that been a discussion among players? What's been done over the last day or two to work on free throws?

TERRENCE WILLIAMS: It's not really been a discussion from the players, 'cause we don't really know. But when Coach P writes it on the board, you're shooting this percent the last five games, shooting this percent the last five games. You're like, Wow! We can end up losing because of free throws. Our last couple days in practice-wise, we've been shooting a lot of free throws, everybody. Usually some people get to go shower early. Now he makes everybody shoot free throws for like 20 minutes, then you got to make like 15 in a row before you can leave. We know that it may come down to free throws and we just got to be prepared to step to the line and make them.

ANDRE McGEE: Like he said, really numbers don't lie. If you look at our numbers from the free-throw line, it's pretty poor. So guys understand that, look at how much emphasis is put on it, especially the last NCAA tournament, being put on Memphis as far as everyone saying one of the main reasons they lost was due to free throws. So with such a small thing, that can really be changed through repetition. Guys got to really look at the importance of it, especially take a lot of time out, we take a lot of time after practice, guys come in, make a certain amount in a row, try to make a certain percentage out of a hundred. It's about everyone taking their time. We press so hard in the game, so intense, that time spent on the free-throw line, those are gimme shots, so they are valuable.

Q. Do you expect anything different the way Arizona might attack your press, what your impressions are of their personnel?

TERRENCE WILLIAMS: We know they're a great team. On paper they're one of the most talented teams you see in this tournament and in the country. You know, with three future pros on the team. As far as attacking our press, last game against Siena, that point guard, I think, did the best job against our press, only two turnovers, 10 assists. He played at his own pace the whole game. So this game we know they have a great point guard in Nic Wise. All we can try to do is try to slow him down, hopefully turn them over. They play like a carbon copy of us as far as pressing zone, man-to-man. He'll be more comfortable against our press because he goes against it probably every day in practice.

Q. I was in their locker room, and they said they do press and plan to press you the whole game. Do you prefer to go against a team that presses you or do you like it better when they don't press?

ANDRE McGEE: You know, like they said, they also press and we press. The great thing about it is like going against each other in practice. It's really nothing to adjust to because, you know, when you're a pressing team, you have to press each other in practice to get used to it. It will just be like another day of practice. That's the fortunate thing about it. We go against it every day, as do they.

Q. Terrence talked about Nic Wise. Can you speak about him, how he handles the ball, may be able to handle pressure in terms of pace and stuff like that.

ANDRE McGEE: Yeah, being in the Big East, we don't really get to catch a lot of west coast games, PAC-10 games. What I've seen from film, he's a great player. His change of speeds, he is a guy with different gears, a great ball handler, great vision guy, and also a great scorer. I think he's averaging somewhere between 22 and 23 points in this tournament. He's one of those guys that can do it all for them. He's the heart of their team. He gets everyone going. So we must slow him down, which is going to be a difficult task. But it wouldn't be the first time. We've been playing against great guards all through the Big East and all year.

Q. Did Arizona recruit both of you and did you consider going there?

TERRENCE WILLIAMS: I was close to going there. I considered there. But my whole main thing, the reason why I didn't go to Arizona, I didn't know how long Lute Olson would continue to coach. That was my main thing of why I didn't go there.

ANDRE McGEE: I wasn't recruited by them as much. You know, over the years, Lute Olson already had so many great guards. I wouldn't say they were the big dog in the West Coast. It was a couple schools in the L.A. area that were pretty good at that time. They always had the rivalry game against Arizona State. But Arizona I always thought was a great school, with a great tradition, legendary coach. So definitely I watched them a lot.

Q. Last year and this year is Coach Pitino's approach any different this second week of the NCAA tournament than it was the first week?

ANDRE McGEE: No, I think he approaches it the same. This isn't something new for him. He's been around the block a couple times. If you ask him, he's probably giving the same speeches he did 10, 15 years ago, it's just a different color jersey and different players. He has the same formula for winning, the same expectations for hard work. We just try to follow everything he tells us.

TERRENCE WILLIAMS: I agree with Andre.

BILL BENNER: Coach Pitino's approach from last year to this year, first round to the regionals. TERRENCE WILLIAMS: He does everything a hundred percent hard, whether it's October or whether it's now. It's the same. It's just the practice may get shortened by 15 minutes, a little lighter, but it's more pressing and he's more aggressive. But it's the same in terms of winning and the same time of elements of keys to winning, all stay the same.

BILL BENNER: Thank you, gentlemen.


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