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Does a part of you wish that this team had played some close games early?
"I've had coaches tell me that in the past, but what we have is what we have. It doesn't make any difference what I want. But I do like that we've been in different environments and we've gone on the road. That was a tremendous crowd the other night – when they score early, it is as loud as it can be and they're thinking they are going to kick our rear ends and our guys just kept their focus and didn't lose their concentration, didn't panic, just kept playing.
"During each course of the game, you're exposed to different things. Now, we have not been exposed to, ‘You've got to make these two free throws,' or, ‘You've got to get a great shot.' But it's what it is. I'm surely not going to turnaround and hand the other team the ball 10 times in a row to get it close. I'm going to let them keep playing the way they want to play."
Can this team still look to last year for some of those close game situations?
"I think so. I think we're feeding off the Nevada game. So what if they go crazy early in the game? We've still got to play 40 minutes. We know we can win in difficult arenas – we've done it in the past. So I think you feed off that experience in many ways. I guess that's the thing that I'm hoping for right now, because we performed pretty doggone well last year down the stretch in games."
On Danny's improvement in consistency:
"You look at the stats and it tells you his concentration is better because of the assist-turnover ratio. Coach [Dean] Smith used to say, ‘Turnovers are either selfish or careless.' And so in both of those, you're not concentrating because you shouldn't be selfish, and if you're concentrating, you shouldn't be careless. Well, Danny's assist-error ratio is far better than it's ever been. Danny has had decent or real good defensive grades in the past, because the value of a blocked shot is so important, because if you block it and you come up with it, you get two good defensive plays out of it. And so that's helped his defensive grade.
"But this year I think he's gambled less. I think he's done a better job of focusing throughout the course of the whole game. The last two games are probably the only games that his concentration has varied with taking care of the ball. I think he's had six turnovers in the last two games, and I think he's had like 20 or 21 through 13 games, so that means that his concentration over the last two games offensively has not been as good as you want it to be.
"But I think he has been better and he's been so much more consistent. And I spend some time looking at stats, because stats, I'm not saying they are the whole story, but they give you information."
Do you feel that you are back to being your old self?
"I think I'm getting back. I think each game feels a little better. My conditioning is getting there and I think the more I play, the better I will feel."
On where this team needs to improve:
"Coach has been talking a lot about defense and rebounding a little bit. He's stressed that from last game. Nevada got a lot of offensive rebounds that Coach wasn't really happy about. But also, I think one of the main focuses that Coach has talked about pretty all year that we really need to improve on is our defense. We started out playing really good, and then we kind of took a step back a little."
On how well this team has performed thus far:
"We have high expectations, but also we realize we're going to get challenged soon. Some of these teams in conference we play are tough. We've been playing well, we know that, but there are some areas we want to improve on, too."
On the need for a tight ball game:
"It would be good for us. It would be good to have a tight, close game every once in a while. In the [NCAA] tournament, I don't think we're going to beat every team by double digits. At some point or another, you're going to have a close game that's going to come down to the final second."
On beginning ACC play:
"No offense to teams that we've played, but I feel like the ACC is going to be a lot tougher than it has been the past couple of games. That's not to say that the teams we've played aren't good, but I think in conference play, it's just so much more physical and teams know your offense, they know your defense, they know everything you're going to do. It's kind of hard and we'll see how well we're going to execute within our conference."