"We had that great rivalry last year splitting those two games in the conference. We know it is going to be a tough one on the road but we know we can go on the road and get wins."
On improving his three point shot:
"I am taking the same shots but my confidence has improved a lot. The guys are doing a great job of screening for me, getting me open, driving and kicking, so I am getting a lot better looks."
On beating a ranked opponent on the road:
"Wherever you go in this conference is going to be a tough place to win but Pitt is one of those places with a real hostile environment, a great team, and great fans. When you have fans like that and the challenge is in front of you, we will be ready to play. They are a great team, ranked #6, so it is something you look forward to as a competitor."
On the cheap shot he received in last year's game at Pitt:
"That's just the way the league is. There are going to be a lot of battles, very physical play and things like that. That is something that you almost expect in a league as tough as this one. You have to be ready for that kind of stuff physically and mentally."
"We really want to get this one at their place. We played them tough last year but when Dominic went down it was tough for us to bounce back. We look forward to every game and Pitt is definitely one of them."
On whether Pitt is a rivalry or not:
"We do consider them a rival. But I think we look at a lot of teams like
that because every game is played tough in this conference. There are no easy
games. Every team is tough; every team feels they have the potential to win.
They are right up there with DePaul, Notre Dame, and even
On the Big East win streak:
"We are playing within our system and what we do. We took too many tough shots in our first two games, too many shots that were uncharacteristic for us. The last three games, we have played how we are supposed to and played with what works for us. What works for us is getting wins."
On strategy to beat Pitt:
"Hopefully, we can go to Pitt and get things started defensively and really work on shutting them down to get our running game going."
On being a candidate for Big East Defensive Player of the Year:
"No, I haven't really thought about that. I am concentrating on the assignments that coach gives me night in and night out and shutting my man down. We just have to stop the other team from scoring points, that is the main focus on this team. We all give each other so much help and we shut other players down together. As long as we are winning, I am fine."
On the importance of a win against Pitt:
"For us, it is almost a must-win game because one of our goals this year is to win the Big East championship. To win that, we need to chase the leader and they are at the head of the pack. We need to bring them a little closer to us and get a win."
"They are experienced, as old as anyone in the league and have amazing chemistry.
You can't go in there and make a ton of mistakes and think you are going to win; we have to be not flawless but as close to that as we can in order to win. You also can't go in there and win unless you have real participation in the rebound battles."
"Aaron Gray probably does two things as good as or better than anyone else in college basketball which are passing the ball out of the post and following his own shot. He does so many things well, that it is hard to prepare for him. The best way to defend Aaron Gray is to keep him as far as possible away from the basket and not let him get too comfortable out there. We have to mix up our coverage and not let him get too comfortable. We have to take away those cutters."
**Game Notes and a look at the line-up:
Conference: Big East
2005-2006 Record: 25-8 (10-6), appeared in the NCAA Tournament, making it to the 2nd round, where they lost to Bradley.
2006-2007 Record: 17-2 (5-0)
Coach: Jamie Dixon, in 4 years as head coach has compiled a 93-24 record.
#2 Levance Fields: a 5'10" sophomore guard from
Graves: a 6'3" senior guard from
Cook: a 6'4" junior forward from
#14 Levon Kendall: a 6'10" senior forward from
Gray: a 7'0" senior center from
#4 Ronald Ramon: a 6'1" junior guard from the
**Andrew Phillips is a senior majoring in Political
Science. He is also President of the
**Pat Barry is a senior majoring in Accounting.
**Andrew Sharos is a senior majoring in History and Secondary Education. He is also the Head Student Writer for Marquettehoops.com