"We were able to go small which helped us and I think that we can do that and P.J. gets hurt yesterday and we don't know what the crap is going on and right now I don't think he's going to practice today and if he doesn't practice today he probably won't play tomorrow. That takes out part of our opportunities to go small because he's the only guy that has worked at the four. Nobody else has, but we did learn that [we could go small]. I think it was something that was good for our team. We learned that we didn't play with a sense or urgency early. In 28 minutes we were down 29 and then all of a sudden we play with a sense of urgency for 11 minutes and we outscore them by 23 and so we learned that and now can we change that behavior? That's the biggest thing, because we did have a tremendous sense of urgency during that time period.
"The other two games we won, but we should've won. We were more gifted than they were so it's not the best feeling to know that the only team that should have a chance to play against you beat us. We've got to put that behind us and learn from those mistakes and hope that we don't make those mistakes again. As I said, we learned that you have to play with a much greater sense of urgency than we played."
What is P.J.'s injury?
"Knee and I have no idea. He's at the doctor right now."
Is Marcus Paige healthy?
"Yes. His back was bothering him down there, but he had tweaked it late in the Butler game and he could have played, but it's a 30-point game so why keep him in the game? We just decided to hold him out. I don't think he played in the last 16 minutes or something like that, but he's practiced both days and been fine."
In regards to Cody Zeller, did you think you had a shot of signing him?
"Yeah we had a shot for sure. It went right down to the final day, but we recruited him like crazy. I loved him to death. His whole career was very similar to Tyler [Zeller's]. He was a good prospect and everybody thought he was going to be a good player and all of a sudden the summer after his junior year he just exploded and that's a little bit like what 'Z' did. We liked 'Z' and then the summer after his junior year we fell in love with him and Cody was a little bit of that same path and same timetable.
"He's a remarkable player. He's got 'Z's' size but does some more things out on the court probably than Tyler did for us and maybe a little more flexibility to his game, but he is the one, but they have five guys averaging double figures and you guys have heard me say before that that's the most difficult team to try and guard and so we can't just load it up on [Cody] because those other four guys all average in double figures as well."
How good did you feel about your chances to sign Zeller?
"We didn't know until the last day that we weren't going to get him and most of the time I know it a heck of a lot earlier than that. It was us, Indiana, Butler and I guess it was Purdue, I am not sure, but, in my mind, it was two schools."
Any idea on how to make up for Hairston's possible absence?
"No. Guys, it happened last night at 5 o'clock or whatever time it was so you can't do a lot of things in that time until right now."
Traditionally, your teams get to the free throw line a lot. That has not been the case this year. Is that something the team can improve upon or is it the makeup of the players?
"It's a little bit of both. I hope that we can improve on it, but we're a different team. We don't have Tyler Hansbrough, we don't have Sean May, we don't have Tyler Zeller, we don't have John Henson, guys that score around the basket. Our scoring is being done by either James Michael [McAdoo] from medium range or on the break or it's from Leslie [McDonald] and Reggie [Bullock] and P.J. from the three-point line. It's always tickled me the way people in the past say the referees always call so many fouls for North Carolina when their team is shooting 35 three's and we're shooting six.
"We were getting the ball inside, but I do want us to have more balance via inside scoring, but we don't have the experience to score inside right now with Brice [Johnson] and Joel [James] particularly or even Desmond [Hubert]. Those three guys have never played until this year so it's going to be out of whack. More often than not we have made more free throws than our opponents have attempted and that's one of our goals every year and that was one of my goals this year, but I didn't think it was very realistic so we got to go. I think other teams have even shot more free throws than we've shot right now. We haven't made much of ours either, but I think the other teams have even shot more than we have. It's the makeup of the team more than anything."
How firm of a grasp does Johnson have on that fifth starting spot?
"None at all. I was in the mood to start him and it was a better matchup that day. I have no idea who I am going to start tomorrow. I really don't"
What are the challenges of playing in Bloomington?
"Tremendously enthusiastic crowd... We went up there in a very difficult situation in 2004. One of the most hostile crowds I have ever played in, but our team was better. They booed Sean May every time Sean touched the ball and to me that was one the most hostile environments I've ever been in and it wasn't that bad, because we score more points than they did. The crowd is not going to beat us and the whole bit. They're good players."
Have you noticed any extra bounce in the players steps since you are playing the No. 1 team in the country?
"I haven't noticed the extra energy or the bounce, because I've worked the dickens out of them. They act like we need to go to the infirmary and they looked at me like, 'infirmary, what's the infirmary', but when I was a student here that's what we called the place. We've worked them pretty hard the last two days."
What bothered you the most about the Maui trip? Was it lack of execution?
"Toughness. We'd set a screen and they'd run through it and they'd set a screen and we'd stop and start calling for mama."