ROY WILLIAMS (including all five players)
PART I (21:32)
PART II (18:14)
On the team's consistency:
"We've got great kids who enjoy playing the game and have a goal of trying to get better. We believe that the best way to get better is work as hard as you can every day, and over the course of time you will be better in January than you were in December, and better in February than you were in January.
"And then the other thing is, I've always -- it's been humorous to me, I'm not that bright, but I'm not the dumbest guy with a whistle around my neck either. And people talk about peaking at the right time, and I always think if we were all peaking at the same time, how would you know who was peaking? So there's a little bit of that with me. We just try to do the best we can every day and see what happens."
How is this team different from last year's squad?
"You know, the kids, you'll have to ask them, I think they used that as a motivation to work hard over the off-season, myself. I don't think necessarily myself that we played Davidson here and the first game of the season and put your hand together and said "final 8." I don't think we played the first ACC game against Clemson and started thinking about Georgetown.
"I do believe that it was motivation for us to work harder in the off-season, but I don't think that's what's driven our club. It may drive our club after last night's game, but, still, you've got to be great on game day. And we could play really, really well and not win. And I guarantee you my players, and the old coach, are not going to jump off the top of the building. The motivation for me is my dream, the motivation for me is not what happened last year, the motivation for me is to have the best team that we can possibly be, and I would think that's what the kids have used it for more than anything."
On the problems Louisville's size presents:
"They do present a lot problems with the zone, and part of it is because of their size and part of its because of their speed that they can close on you. Defensive backs in the NFL they talk about "closing speed," how close either off the guy but on the pass they close quickly. And I think that's what Louisville does a great job of in their zone. Because of their size and their athleticism both, I don't know that we've faced a team that plays this style. Clemson is probably closer but, you know, Louisville may be a little more athletic than Clemson and maybe a couple inches taller at almost every spot, too, so they are a bigger, quicker challenge for us."
Has what Louisville done flown over or under the radar this year, getting the slow start to the season?
"I will answer this question, but you've got five bright young men up here that are dying to answer those questions. They are dying to answers those questions. Ty says I'm doing all right, but I'd rather listen to him. The basketball people don't think Louisville is flying under the radar, because the basketball people that know the game and the coaches -- if I'm not mistaken, they've got nine guys back from their team last year. If I'm not mistaken, they were picked 5th or 6th or 7th in the country in the preseason polls.
"They went through a time period without Padgett, without Palacios, that's their two biggest guys. That's a lot of adversity to face. And even during that time period they lose to BYU by two. They lose to somebody else by one. They lose in overtime. At the end of the season they lose to Georgetown. They lose to Pitt in overtime. All their games, I don't have the stats in front of me, but I think they only lost one game all year long that was a double-digit loss. So to me they didn't fly under the radar. I thought they were going to be an extremely good basketball team before the season started.
"When we were in Vegas with them, you could tell they had some problems because of the big guys that were out. When they got those guys back, I saw them play on TV a couple of times and they were really, really good. The only time I saw them when they didn't play that well is when Rick had on his white suit and he changed at halftime and they played their tails off in the second half."
On the team playing well:
"Yeah, I think a lot of guys have been stepping up. I think Q came in and has been playing really well since Ty was hurt. And I think it just shows our depth. I think last night in the first half I wouldn't say I had my best first half ever and Danny came in, hit some big shots and I think he really stepped up. I think that's the thing about this team is, when some guys aren't playing well some other guys can come in and play well, too."
Does having a balanced attack take pressure off you?
"I think so. It's not like -- we would have pressure if one of us had to score all the points. We know that somebody else can come in and score, and our teammates can come in and help pick us up. There's no pressure on any one person to score."
On Louisville's stong post players:
"It's going to be a war on the glass when we play. Defensive and offensive boards, that's where the game is going to be determined."
How is this team different than last year's squad?
"I think that we just understand at this point that it's the little things that's going to get us over the top. You know, like you said, paying attention to the little details that's going to make this team that much better and get us to our goals. Last year I don't think that we really were as focused on that as we needed to be and I think that's why we felt like we came up short. So this year I think this whole team understands that it's the attention to detail, you know, it's the little effort plays, the mental things that we have to stay sharp on, you know, in order for this team to succeed."
DO you think Louisville's zone will cause problems?
"No, I don't think so. In fact, I think, you know, we like to play against a zone. We worked on a lot of zone offense this year and I think we'll be well prepared."