Quotes and Audio: Tubby Smith

MINNEAPOLIS -- During Tubby Smith's pre-game media availability, he fielded questions about Al Nolen, Northwestern and the possible starters for Wednesday's game.

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Tubby Smith on the loss of Al Nolen:
"The loss of Al Nolen, you know it creates another challenge for us. Al will have surgery tomorrow morning. Hopefully things go well. Supposed to have a pin put in his foot. We're not sure of the time table. And everybody heals differently. Hopefully he'll properly and heal quickly."

On playing a tough Northwestern team on Wednesday:
"We know Northwestern will present a real challenge. They always have. They're one of the best three point shooting teams in the league, shooting almost 40%, with Shurner and that group. You know he's a guy that is a tough guy to defend."

On the starting lineup against Northwestern:
"We're looking at probably starting Blake at the point. And outside of that, Rodney, Ralph and I'm not sure where we go from there if we go big with Colton and Trevor. Or if we go with small with somebody like Maverick at the point and Blake at the two. Or with Chip Armelin at the two and Blake at the point."


On Northwestern:
"They've beaten Iowa, they've beaten Michigan, they've beaten some teams and beaten worse than we have. So they're very capable of beating us. Again, an overtime loss against Michigan State, they've beaten Indiana. We know they present a real challenge in their 1-3-1 zone."

On the team becoming closer through hardship:
"I've seen that and I've all along they've persevered all year long and that tells me about their character…"

On Maverick Ahanmisi and Chip Armelin's maturity:
"That maturity is a big key to us straying focused, staying stable, staying balanced, not getting upset or disappointed."


On Blake Hoffarber playing more minutes:
"He's been averaging 37, ya know, 35, so that's more than anybody's ever averaged, I think, in my coaching career. So he's done a very good job. I don't know if he'll play 40. He will never have to play 40, I hope not but if he does, I'm sure he's capable."

On the possibility of Ralph Sampson, Colton Iverson and Trevor Mbakwe playing at the same time:
"That gives us some size I know that."

On playing more zone with Al Nolen being out:
"Probably looking at doing a little more zone because of that, because Al is unavailable. Because he's a guy, that's what he did best is attack the ball, put pressure on the opposing team's point guard, create havoc. He's one of the top steals guys in the league. We are going to miss that."

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