We had a tough game down in Illinois. I thought we played OK, but they played very well, they shot the ball very well and we didn't.People have called the Wildcats the "surprise team of the conference. Is that a compliment or lack of respect?
Now we have Iowa and Michigan and it seems like we played those two teams , you know we opened the season with those two teams on the road, and it seems like an eternity [since] we played them.
Iowa's playing very well, they have 5 guys just about double figures that shoot the ball extremely well, defending well so we have our work cut out for them. They seem to be playing together as team very nicely.
And Michigan - we'll worry about that on Thursday. When we played them earlier in the year we had real problems with them -- they dominated us in Ann Arbor so - - but that's for later in the week.
You know traditionally, we haven't done very well. You know, Northwestern and basketball, so.What kind of physical shape are the Wildcats in? Especially Vedran Vukusic and Evan Seacat.
I'll take that as a compliment . I think our guys are playing hard and I think we've gotten better over the course of -- since October which always makes you feel good as a coach. You know we still have a lot to do...
People were taking a lot of heat for being 7 and 7 and other people think we're doing well because of that. Its just where we are. I think we just made some real strides, and Yeah, we have a long way to go.
Vedran [Vukusic] is fine. He's banged up like every other person probably that's played the whole year is. There's nothing that's stopping him -- he's just got some bumps and bruisesHas Seacat's injury caused you to change the way you coach? Make substitutions?
Evan [Seacat] had the concussion and we're just waiting on that --see what happens. We get the OK, then he'll be ready to practice, but I have not received that yet. We'll see what happens , I should be getting some word from my trainer in the next couple of hours
[This was Monday morning]
I just can't so it simplifies coaching - I don't have to coach, its great, because there's noone to throw in there.Is Jitim Young one of the top defensive players in the league this year?
Its hurt us just because my guys need a break -- everybody needs a break -- I haven't really been able to give my guys the rest needed, but on the other hand when you're short handed, guys know they're not coming out ... you know, you get in a groove and you're playing and remember these guys are 20 years old, 19 years old and they should be able to play for 40 minutes I tell them.
I don't know if they believe me, but that's what I tell them.
Jitim has been pretty much everything for us -- Points and Rebounds and minutes played and steals and sort of matched up with the good guy on the other team, so he's been terrific.What about the Play of Vedran Vukusic and what does he need to do the get better for next year?
And it seems like on every team there's a guy that the coach says that "he's our stopper." Its usually the guards, because it seems like the league is dominated by perimeter guys this year and Harris is one guy at Wisconsin that's talked about and Lowe from Purdue and Pierce probably at Iowa, just go around the league and everyone has a guy -- Torbert from Michigan State - so I think that there are a lot of good defenders and there better be because there are some pretty good guys on the perimeter like I said, so when a coach has that guy he thinks that can stop other guys then you go in with a lot of confidence.
I like the guy a lot, I think he's a very good player, he does everything pretty decently.Next game is Iowa - how have they changed and what does that mean for the Wildcats defensively?
He has to improve in everything, and I think he can, because he's a fundamentally sound kid; he can pass the ball, he can dribble, make shots, and probably around the basket he can post up and... I think that the physical play, he has to improve upon -- I sort of have him down a low post guarding guys all the time. He can actually play guys a little better on the perimeter and he's matched up with a lot of big kids because of our lack of front court depth.
I'd like to see his shooting -- there's no reason that guy shouldn't shoot 50% from 3s instead of 40% and he's still a little careless with the ball this year, just passing the ball, but like I said, he's a fundamentally sound guy and he's a hard worker -- those guys, there's nothing stopping them getting better and better and he is a good worker so I think he will improve.
Well, they lost a couple of their big guys ... we have fewer players, they have fewer players but now your guys know they're probably not coming out and that gives some guys who are on a shorter leash some confidence that "Well if I miss, just keep shooting." And they shot the ball extremely well so I think that helps a lot of guys like that but it was so long ago that we played that the chemistry and the feeling of your team.How are the Wildcats different now?
We're very different than we were 7 weeks ago and I think they are also, so we know their players but their emphasis is a little different than it was earlier in the year.
We're playing to win, I don't think we were earlier in the year.In a physical game, will the officiating determine the outcome?
It sounds sort of intangible and nebulous, but the guys they understand better that it isn't about their individual stuff and now they're making the extra pass, they're defending [with] a little more intensity. It seems intangible, but you can see it, and feel it when you watch the team and I like that.
Earlier in the year we were just out there, and even if we felt we were playing hard we weren't concentrating on how we were going to win this game and how we were going to stop the other team. Now I think we are doing a better job at that.
[Initially talking about MSU vs Wisconsin this Wednesday]
[Laughing] We're about the only team that isn't physical in this conference.
Who you going to look at, Purdue, everybody plays very very hard and there's a lot of banging and knocking going around. I don't think it will effect -- when I look at the two teams -- how its called one way or the other -- they're both used to it, they're both veteran teams and so they can adjust very quickly to any kind of difference in officiating from one game to the next
Coaches talk about that too so, usually you put the onus on your players to recognize that this little bump is being called this way and usually the way things are now, if you start to drive and the guys little bump or the hand check and the emphasis is that the refs are told to call that and I think that's good.
It could probably be cleaned up on the blocks but I think its getting better but I don't think it will make a difference to those two teams.
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