Gottfried: "We Have A Big Challenge"

NC State head coach Mark Gottfried fielded questions from the media on his weekly teleconference.

Opening Statement:
We have a big challenge. I think Wake Forest, we all know they play extremely well at home. Watching their North Carolina win, they were very, very good.

We have to get re-grouped after a very difficult day Saturday and get ourselves ready to play on the road Wednesday night.

When your team comes off a really bad game, do you just burn that game film or do you show it to them? How do you approach that?
I think there are a lot of things to think about. What kind of a team do we have? We're a young team... this isn't a veteran team.

No. 1, we have to stay and get our team into a confident place. We're going to be really positive with our team. That's my approach.

You have to remember, just one game ago we went on the road and beat Notre Dame, so let's not push the panic button.

And on the other hand, you want to teach. I think it's important as a coach to teach your guys what went wrong, so we do want to watch some of the tape. We want to watch certain things and show our guys what happened so they truly understand what we failed to do offensively and defensively in that game.

I'm not the kind of coach that beats my team down and berates them. I've never believed in that. These are my guys. I recruited them. We had a difficult day. We have to get ourselves back up, and we have to get ourselves ready to play on the road.

Did Virginia do anything against T.J. that other teams have not done? What made them so effective defensively?
I thought they were extremely physical, and T.J. did not play through that well enough. They made it a point to step in the path every time he made a cut, even when he didn't have the ball in his hands. They made it a point to, away from the ball, be physical with him.

He has to learn that teams are going to defend him different ways, and that's one way they tried to really bother him.

I think Wake Forest has won 11 straight home games. You've been a good road team... what's the mentality about paying on the road?
We seem to play very sound basketball, and we have had a great togetherness on the road. We've played with great purpose and that's something we need to continue to do. We have to do it on Wednesday night.

We're defending as a team, five guys working together... the things you want to do every night. We've been able to have some poise, some resiliency, and bounce back when people make runs.

You have to continue to do that to have a chance on Wednesday night.

Coach, I'm struck by the volatility in the league this year. Can you give me a sense... what causes the wild swings we've seen all over the league?
I don't know if there's one answer, so I'm guessing, but a lot of times when you have a lot of young players, and you look around the league, even Duke, they have young players. People forget that Parker is a freshman... watching North Carolina, they are playing young guys. We're playing young guys.

Sometimes you can be very high and very low. I don't know if that's all the reason for it, but I believe it's a contributor.

Virgina, are they maybe playing as well as anybody in the league right now?
Well, here's what happens I think in college basketball.

Pittsburgh has the same thing that Virginia does. When your better players are seniors or fifth-year seniors, it changes your team. Your team has a maturity that some other ones don't.

When you look at Patterson and Zanna for Pittsburgh and you look at Harris and Mitchell for Virginia, you're looking at upperclassmen playing the key roles. Those guys have played 120+ basketball games at our level, and when your best players are upperclassmen it changes the makeup of your team. Virginia has that right now.

Can you access the way Anthony Barber has played to this point in the season? Is he having the ups and downs that most freshmen do? What has he done really well and where can he improve?
I think he's played pretty well this year. I do think in the last four or five games he isn't shooting the ball at a high percentage that he needs to. Some of the time he's trying to force the action and trying to find opportunities to score. Sometimes they aren't there.

He has to learn when to look for his shot and when not to, but overall he's had a good year so far. But, we do need him to shoot the ball at a much higher percentage than he is right now.

With T.J. is this just part of the process with him becoming the go-to guy on your team?
He is human. The guy has been pretty consistent for our team, and he had a tough day. It is a different role for him... teams are keying on him.

Last year when we had Leslie and Howell, Scott Wood and Brown, he was a guy that maybe they weren't paying as much of attention to every night. Now teams are gearing their entire defensive gameplan around him so it is a different role for him.

But he has been pretty good and pretty consistent for us this year outside of this last game.

It's much diff. when you're that player and you have to realize that. Our team relies on him to score, but we have other guys that haven't stepped up and scored when they try to take T.J. away. But, yes, it's been a different role for him this year.

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