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On Lawson's big right toe:
"We had shooting practice yesterday and he shot just like everybody else. He did not have a lot of swelling after the game. It is sore, and yesterday it was more sore than it was on game day… We discussed it and decided that the best thing for him to do was to take six weeks off. And I told him that would really help my golf game. It's here, it's going to be here, it's not going to go away and it's going to hurt the whole rest of the season until he can take that time off. Everybody that's ever had one of these things – they told us that the very first day… I think he's going to play this weekend."
How important is it to have a person or several people that want the ball in crunch time?
"I think it is. If there's just one guy, then it's easier to build your defense against it. If it's just one guy that you think is going to get the shot, then you try to take it out of his hands. So I do believe that that's important and I've always felt like the most difficult teams to guard were teams like Gonzaga that are well balanced, that have more than one guy that can really, really hurt you on a night. They've had like four different guys – or maybe even six different guys – go for over 20 this year. I think that's a more difficult kind of team to guard."
How do you assess this squad's mentality and the way they're playing right now?
"The number one concern is that you've got to be healthy. We were playing for the Sweet Sixteen in '98 and we weren't healthy at all. It made no difference and that was one of the best teams I ever had. In '97, which was maybe the best team I ever had, we weren't healthy [because] Jerod Haase had just broken his wrist. So that's the number one thing, more importantly than just how you're playing. I might be playing really well, but if I'm not any good, it makes no difference.
"I think this team feels good about itself. I think the comfort zone of having Ty on Sunday is big for our team right now, and thinking that he's going to play this weekend, which I think he's going to play this weekend, as well. So I think that mentally that we're in a good position. But I don't think that anybody in the Sweet Sixteen is bad mentally. If you get there, you've got to feel pretty doggone good about yourself. North Carolina doesn't feel any better than Gonzaga or any better than Duke or any better than UConn."
What do you remember about the Gonzaga game from your sophomore season?
"How tough of a team they were. I remember they came out after us from the gate, and I think Heytvelt had a really good game against us and he was really tough."
How much of a motivator can that game be for you?
"I think we'll look at it, but as far as a motivator, I'm not really sure there needs to be any extra motivation. This is a Sweet Sixteen game. It's a pretty big game for us. We've looked at that and learned from it and moved on."
Does the loss to Gonzaga two years ago make it nearly impossible to overlook them?
"Oh yeah, definitely. They're a great team. They've got a lot of talent on their team. We lost to them in New York two years ago and we're looking forward to the challenge. We've got a bad taste from the last time we played them – that was our first loss of the season, and that was my freshman year, so we owe them."
What's it take to be the type of player that wants to shoot the last shot?
"I think you've just got to be a tough player. You've got to have a lot of confidence. You can't shy away from those types of moments. You can't be scared of them. You've got to take them as a challenge and you've got to step up to it."
How's your toe?
"It's getting better. I'm walking on it better. Hopefully in a couple of days it will be back to 100 percent."
How much did it swell after the LSU game?
"It didn't get that bad. We kept a compression wrap on it so that it wouldn't get any bigger, and the swelling stayed down. So right now, we're just icing it and getting more mobility in it.
Did you stay away from the Epsom salt baths this time?
"Yeah, definitely. My dad didn't come anywhere near me… He's was like, ‘Yeah, I learned my lesson the first time.' He tried to make a joke about it. But yeah, I stayed away from it."