On last week’s loss to N.C. State: “Tuesday was a tough night. It was a night that I despised about as much as any regular season game that I have ever coached. We just didn’t play well. State did some really good things. Their want-to was bigger than our want-to, their play was better, their coaching was better, everything was better and they kicked our rear ends. But it was a good bounce back on the road [at Miami]. I was pleased with the way our guys played and we had some really good performances. Anytime you can win on the road in this league you should be proud of it.”
What kind of things does Brice Johnson do when he has the 22 and 11 type of game compared to how he played against State?
“He is just more emotionally and mentally into it. He gets to where he is supposed to be, he runs harder, he posts up lower on the floor and gets his rear end down lower and he does all the things that he should be doing all the time. I love the kid, I really do, but we’ve pushed him and pushed him because he has never been pushed like I’m pushing now and I’m going to push harder, because I do think that there is a lot there that we can get and a lot more than he can do. He is just completely into the game. The good thing about Saturday is that he missed his first two and a lot of times it takes him a long time to bounce back from that, but he really went after the ball so much harder on the back boards.”
On J.P. Tokoto being more active at Miami:
It was a nice performance. If you take away that one turnover column it was a fantastic performance. J.P. has had some games where he has been right on the edge of having a triple double, and Saturday was one of those games.”
On having a winning road record for the ninth time in 12 years:
“It is something that we are really proud of. You have to be able to play anywhere. I’ve always told them I’d rather go into your house and beat you there than in my own house, but that doesn’t mean we want to give up the home court advantage. We haven’t played well on three or four nights at home this year and we have to get that changed.”
On UNC’s position in the ACC standings heading into the conference tournament:
“Our goal starting out the season is to win the regular season championship and we can’t do that, so then your next goal is to try and do the next best thing which is to try and finish as high as you possibly can. I explained it to the guys what the four seed meant because other than that we haven’t discussed it. I want us to play well every dadgum day, but we’ve left a couple out there that we are not happy about. The next game is the most important one. Tiger Woods, when he could really play, was thinking next shot, but now he is probably thinking last shot and that might be part of the problem. What we are trying to do is play the best that we can in the next game. In our last couple of years we have played our best basketball late in the season and that is what we want to do right now.”
On Joel James getting better:
“He is scoring the ball. He is trying to simplify his moves. When he gets the ball and he turns right shoulder or left shoulder and bam, shoot the ball, I feel good. When he is over there trying to think it’s magic then things usually don’t happen. He is defending better and he is defending better. I think he is a wonderful kid that has made some strides and I think he will keep doing that.”
On how scouting opponents has changed over the years:
“Well the games have changed. Coach Wooden had Bill Walton or Kareem and I wouldn’t have scouted too many people either. Coach Wooden and Coach Smith had hundreds of things in common, but one of them was that you should be concerned about your team. Right now, we give our team a scouting report. Today, the day before a game, we go over personnel for eight minutes, we go out on the court and do walk through for eight minutes and Coach Smith never did that. We used to visibly go to other arenas and sit there and scout the other team. Coach Guthridge would have a team, Eddie [Fogler] would have a team and I would have a team. Now we give them personnel sheets on the front with three keys on the front and on the back the three plays they run the most often. I have seen a scouting report as big as 19 pages that some coaches give their team, but we don’t do that because I don’t think they are going to retain it. Nowadays, every game is on TV so you can scout somebody as much as you want to. Some teams it helps more than others. Some teams that I’ve had at Kansas and here wanted to know as much as they could possibly know about the other team, some teams wanted less. Eddie Fogler used to scout a lot more and coach Smith scouted a lot less, so I’m somewhere in the middle.”
On playing Georgia Tech so closely on the schedule:
“I wish we didn’t have it or that we should have to have it. You’ve got 15 teams in the league and I think they should be spread out more than that, but it is the schedule and we try and play what they put in front of us. Brian has done a really nice job with his club. The other night they have Louisville down 13 with eight minutes to play, they end up losing by one. They’ve had so many games like that. I hope it lasts for them one more game and then they get lucky the last game. We have to defend the perimeter. They have two big guys in Cox and Mitchell up front that are bigger than Kennedy, so we have to make sure we do a good job all over. It’ll be a big time game for us.”
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