Thoughts on what he saw from the New Orleans film and the game:
It was pretty much what we saw happening out there, which was really just a lack of concentration on our part. In terms of things we were suppose to do gameplan-wise, knowing the personnel... we didn't focus on that well that night and I think it cost us down the stretch.
I don't like saying this, but it seemed like one of those games. It was just one of those times that it happened... you don't like to say one of those times because one of the things about basketball or any sport is you can always play hard or be in the game mentally. I don't think mentally we were there for the full 40 minutes.
Thoughts on the starting rotation and Ben McCauley coming off the bench:
The thing I've told our guys is we don't have a set starting lineup. All the positions were open and they are still open. As Ben progresses and works and continues to be the Ben that we know, certainly starting is in the picture for him. We're going to put the best lineup out on the floor. I didn't promise any of these guys anything except I want to win. I want to win. The guys that are playing well, playing hard, playing the right way, those are the guys that are going to play.
Having said that, sometimes that sixth man is more important coming off your bench than starting. I don't know who that guy is. I'm not saying that's Ben's role or is going to be his role. Right now, at this point, it is, and he has to play the way we know he is capable he can play. He will... I'm not concerned about Ben at all because he plays hard every night. Certainly starting is there. If he works his way back in there... and that could be at four or five. It doesn't matter. We're just going to try to put the best lineup on the floor.
What does Ben need to improve on?
Ben is a solid player. I think he's making the adjustment to coming off the bench and not trying ot put too much pressure on himself to get it going right away. He knows that when he comes in the ballgame we're going to look to go to him. He was our major guy inside last year, he's an excellent passer, he works hard on the defensive end, and we just want him to play the same way. He was very successful at it last year, and I think he'll do the same this year.
Is going to the bench after starting a lot of games difficult?
It's a tough adjustment but it could be done very quickly. You start to now focus on the team aspect of it. Initially, absolutely... I totally understand that, but then it's about the team. How you can help the team. I think that's where [Ben] is... what can he do to help the team. We talked yesterday and he worked hard yesterday in practice. He understands, opportunities are there. I understood too that it was an adjustment for him, but in the big picture it's all about the team. I told him, it's not about me, it's not about any individual player... it's about this team and winning. When you do that, everybody is going to go uptown together. That's the way we've got to approach it.
How is Ben handling it?
He's doing okay. He's fine... I think the first few days it was an adjustment for him, but I think once he started to understand what we were looking for and what we need. I think that loss, it really bothered him, so he knows it's all about winning. It's not about individuals, it's about winning and being on the floor when the game is on the line and doing what you can do to help the team win.
Did he approach you after practice or did you go and talk with him?
You know, I went and talked with him as I did some of our other players. This thing with Ben is starting to take on a life of its own here, and this is not about Ben it's about our team.
Ben is fine. I talked to him, I talked to Gavin, I talked to Courtney, I talked to Brandon, I talked to Farnold, so he wasn't the only one that I talked to... it's not that I'm paying extra attention to Ben because he's not starting. I spoke with all the players yesterday, just about what we need to do.
Do you think this trip will be a good test for your team's maturity to not look ahead to teams like Kansas State or Villanova?
If they think that way they'll be thinking on their own because they won't hear that from me. We have to take one game at a time. It doesn't matter who you play or what it looks like on paper, if you don't play the right way you're going to lose the ball game. We're not looking ahead to anyone, and hopefully our guys aren't. Certainly it happens, but we need to go down there and take care of that first game.
Thoughts on Rider's Jason Thompson:
We're going to have our hands full. He's a load. They run things for him, and we're going to have to defend him... keep him off the boards, just make it tough for him.
Thoughts on Gavin Grant's play:
I actually told him that I was proud of him for how he came out in the second half. He played better... more aggressive, more active. You expect that. Not because he's a senior, but because he's Gavin. There's a lot of things about Gavin you might question or you might say, but when things are on the line, he's going to go after it. He did that in the last ballgame.
Thoughts on Fells needing to be more aggressive offensively:
Courtney is such an unselfish guy, he was trying to concentrate on chasing Bo. That was really his contribution, what he was trying to do, just make this guy work for everything.
Certainly we do need him to make shots, score some points for us, but he's such an unselfish guy. He doesn't want to take bad shots. We talked yesterday with all the guys and we talked about those things... being patient, taking the good ones, and giving me the opportunity to call some of those numbers and go at those guys a bit.
If Courtney is going, he can get the crowd going, he can get his teammates doing. We need him to score the ball, but he's not going to force anything.
More thoughts on the previous game:
I think definitely this last ballgame certainly opened some eyes... made them realize that just because we have the talent doesn't mean it's going to be easy. We still have to play together, play the same way, play hard, play smart... not turning the ball over the last five minutes of the game. Those things we still have to do to win.
To hear this audio, you will need Microsoft Media Player. Click here to here download the most recent version of Media Player.