Conference call thoughts: Jan. 17

Both coming off disappointing losses, Missouri coach Quin Snyder and Nebraska coach Barry Collier spoke with the media Monday morning during the Big 12 Coaches teleconference. Snyder was frank about his team's deficiencies after its 20-point loss at Kansas State. Collier looked ahead to the Cornhuskers' road matchups this week after falling to No. 9 Texas on Saturday.

Missouri coach Quin Snyder

On his team playing up or down to its opponents: "I'm concerned about that trend. I think it's a sign of a lack of maturity on our team's part. We had a full-on, floor-burn practice on the day of the game. There were a lot of things said to our team about how tough of a game it was going to be. You've got to hate that that's where you are.

"When you come out and turn the ball over three out of your first four possessions and you're not making open shots, how do you respond to that? I think a mature team realizes they should do some little things even better. I think our guys are lamenting the last play and not doing some of the other things they can do to impact the game. Our guys have to have enough focus to bring that effort on every occasion, on every play in every game. That's something that has to improve."

On Missouri's perimeter struggles: "Different from November, those are just wide-open shots. At the same time, if you're not making them, how do you react to that? That, to me, is a big thing. We didn't get to the free-throw line. When you're not making them, can you adjust and get to the line and put pressure on the defense another way? Also, when you're not making them, the other aspects of the game become even more important. That, to me, has been our challenge. Some guys really identify, I think, with making shots…

"I don't believe we're back in November. I think we've come a ways. … I think our team has been consistent with being strong and better in those other aspects of the game when we're not scoring as well. I think you've just got to keep pounding that as a coach."

On if his team lacks confidence in their perimeter looks: "I don't ever think we've been really lacking confidence. I think we felt, ‘Why aren't we making shots? We're better shooters than that.' Maybe we're not making shots because it's too important to us individually and we need to be focused on something else as a team.

"I think our guys can get easily satisfied, even during the course of the game. We get a 12-point lead and it affects our level of commitment and our awareness to the right things. I'm not really worried about their confidence."

On the importance of Wednesday's meeting with Texas Tech: "This is about the sixth game this year (that) is like a do-or-die game for our team. You've got to win at home. If for whatever reason you don't win at home, you have to win a game people don't think you're supposed to win on the road.

"Texas Tech is playing very well right now. We've got to adjust and we've got to be different than we were the other night. They put too much pressure on you to be alert. That's the thing we've struggled with at times. … Our guys, there is more there for them as far as their urgency and their mental focus. We have to have that there for Texas Tech, because it's one of those must-have wins."

On what worries him most about the Red Raiders: "I think what has you worried is balance. They're so balanced that you've got to guard all five guys. There's no way to play off certain guys…

"They have excellent team quickness. Last year, we couldn't stay in front of them. That was one of the things that disappointed me about Kansas State

"Obviously, coach Knight is one of the all-time greats and his team defends. I think they're playing with a lot of confidence. They seem very comfortable with each other on the offensive end and they're scoring a lot of points."

Nebraska coach Barry Collier

On the popularity of freshman guard Joe McCray, who leads the Huskers in scoring: "Joe is a basketball junky that loves the game and loves to play, loves to be in the mix in the games. I think his enthusiasm is pretty obvious, and his skill level is the same way. He can put the ball in the basket with a fair amount of regularity; that will make him popular with anybody.

On his teams' trips to Lawrence, where the Cornhuskers will meet Kansas on Wednesday: "Every season has been a little bit different because of the makeup of the two teams. In general, the Kansas teams have been very well-coached with excellent personnel that stuck to the system. We've had some success at different times, but there has always seemed to be a run that the Jayhawks go on that really put us in a bad state of affairs."

On his young team learning to play on the road in Big 12 play: "It's something that you better get used to in this league. All the places that we play are really tough situations. I think we helped ourselves by playing on the road a few times already."


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