Novak & Company Look Forward to Purdue

After a tough loss in Madison Wednesday, Wisconsin, Michigan sophomore forwar Zach Novak says his team has a chance to get back on course and continue to build its tournament resume at Purdue today. 

Question:  Are you looking forward to playing at Purdue?

Zach Novak:  "I've only played there once before with the Indiana All Star team, but this will be a little different this time.  I'm looking forward to it.  It should be fun."

Question:  Do you have that same chip on your shoulder for the Boilmakers as you do for the Hoosiers just because they are from your home state?

Zach Novak:  "I try to keep the chip on my shoulder for everybody.  It's going to be a fun game.  I'm going to have a lot of friends and family there.  It will be a good one and hopefully we can get a win."

Question:  How frustrating was it to be so close against Wisconsin and just fall short by a play or two?

Zach Novak:  "That's a really tough place to win and like you said to be that close.  Really would have liked to get it done but that's the good thing about the Big Ten this year, you lose one close one, you're right back and we got another opportunity to get one on the road now tomorrow."

Question:  A lot of people are putting so much emphasis on this four game stretch with UCONN, Wisconsin, Purdue and Michigan State; do you guys feel that you need to perform well in this to make the tournament?

Zach Novak:  "Yeah definitely.  We need to play well but it's not just these four games we got to play well throughout the season.  When you're playing four ranked teams like that back to back to back to back, you got an opportunity to put yourself in a good position and hopefully we can do that."

Question:  Do you sense that this team is starting to figure out as a whole with what it takes defensively to win in this league?

Zach Novak:  "In Madison, I thought we played pretty good defense for the most part.  There was a few miscues but almost the whole game we were on it and if we keep doing that then we're going to be in good position."

Question:  What are the elements of that you are doing better from the first of the year.  What are the things that you've picked up on that you've changed?

Zach Novak:  "I think guys have just bought in to playing hard and people are starting to get it.  You've got to talk and know when you're switching almost before it happens and rebounding.  You got to block out every time.  A lot of guys are starting to do that more.  We're getting the stop and then you get the rebound and they do not get another chance."

Question:  How difficult is it to go from playing a team like Wisconsin that likes to play tempo defense and then go play Purdue in a couple days when they are the highest scoring offense in the league?

Zach Novak:  "We've played both sorts of teams already probably a couple of times this year each now.  So there is not going to be any surprises.  We've played against Purdue twice last year.  We'll be ready." 

Question:  Do you know any of those guys on the Purdue team personally?

Zach Novak:  "A few of them."

Question:  In AAU ball and stuff?

Zach Novak:  "(Robbie) Hummel was in my conference in high school, so played against him for three years, E'Twaun (Moore) the same thing.  He was from East Chicago that was only a 20 minute drive.  Our preseason scrimmage was always against them."

Question: You talk about just talking out there, it seems like you guys got a ton of leaders that lead kind of by example, but do you have that one vocal leader and do you need a vocal leader?

Zach Novak:  "We got guys out there that are talking.  Sometimes there are different guys speaking up when you need to.  There is not a CJ Lee out there per se.  I do not think we need something exactly like that but guys are stepping up.  Guys are talking, people are taking on that role."

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