Carmody on the Teleconference - 1/24

<b>NU's Basketball Coach</b> on the Big 10 Teleconference Monday:<br> <br> He talked about: <b>Vedran</b>'s Shoulder, <b>Thompson</b>'s suspension, Changes at <b>Iowa </b>and how they're playing this year, playing without <b>Jitim</b>, Playing to <b>potential</b>, the difficulty of playing <b>Wisconsin</b>'s Swing Offense at Wisconsin.<br> <br> All is revealed in this interview with <b>NU </b>Coach <b>Bill Carmody</b><br>

Starting off with his opening statement...
The Cats are 8-9 overall and 1-4 in the Big 10 going into Wednesday's game with Iowa...

BC: We had a bye week... get back to basics a little bit and then we were at Penn State and lost - a game we just couldn't afford to lose.

Got killed off the backboards and game up too many open looks. Very disappointing and now we have a very good Iowa team coming in so we're going to have to prepare for them.

At different times we didn't have any turnovers really against Penn State but they killed us on the backboard and games before that a lot of turnovers and we sort of held our own on the boackboards. We shot the ball decently. Our defense just has to improve and rebounding is part of that.
Questions? [From various Big 10 Media Members]
Can we get an update on Vedran Vukusic's health and Mike Thompson's status?

BC:
On Vedran, his shoulder - his good shoulder, his left shoulder - its been knocked around a couple of times this year and he felt something move in there against Penn State.

So we've got to see, its very sore as of last night and we'll just see where it goes. We're really uncertain. I think he'll be ready for Wednesday, ... thinks its mostly muscles in there above the tendon I guess, something like that. I might be saying too much, I don't know, the ... rules and all that.

I think he should be ready to go on Wednesday.

Mike Thompson - as I said Saturday - he's been suspended for team rules violations, specifically class attendance issues, so ... I don't want to elaborate any more than that. I guess I'm going to leave it at that.

Has the length of suspension been determined?

BC:
No

NU has handled Iowa pretty well the last year, is there anything about this year's team that might change that? Any Concerns?

BC:
[laughing] How much time you got?

You know we beat them last year at their place and then it was a buzzer basket that one the game here so they played very well here I thought last year. They have virtually the same team back, they're just playing much better.

We have a similar team back, but we're not playing well and so, its like two teams coming in that had hopes and they're going, and they've had a fantastic year starting with they won and it just seems that all their guys are playing like veterans and that's the way we thought we might - we were capable and we're still think we're capable of playing.

I think each guy seems to have improved or playing like veterans. The addition of Haluska [transfer guard Adam Haluska] certainly makes a big difference I think, he's helped them but [Jr. Guard Pierre] Pierce, [Jr Guard Jeff] Horner, and [Jr Center Erek] Hansen in the middle - he's not really scoring much because he's got so many guys out there who can.

Its just a very very solid team. they don't beat themselves, that's what I've seen.

Greg Brunner at 6-7 has been really effective in the Big 10 - what makes him effective?

BC: He's a big strong kid who's got great legs. He always came in like a jumping jack and he's added 25 pounds. He's a tough kid, he goes after it every single night. Like I said, they don't beat themselves and [Iowa Coach] Steven [Alford]'s staff put him in the position to do well.

And now it seems like he's expanded a little bit - he's stepping out a little bit more, maybe he could all along, but he's starting to take a couple of threes here and there and it looks like a nice shot, he's become harder to play.

Has Jitim Young's graduation effected the Wildcats the way Darby's loss hit OSU?

BC: I guess, its, as you're looking back, I didn't think it would - you know, I loved Jitim and I thought he was a terrific player but I thought some of the other guys - veterans -  would have stepped up and learned from him and how to play. We would miss Jitim but we'd be able to handle it and you know we haven't.

Now whether or not that's the reason certainly we'd have been a better if he was here for another year, I just don't think that some of our guys have played as well as they can play so they're disappointed - everyone's pretty disappointed.

Mike Darby, that guy ran the whole team for Ohio State for a few years there and won so many games at the end and Jitim helped us do that. We really haven't had that guy, that leader out there that's able to do that - I think that's a pretty accurate assessment.

Is the problem with the Wildcats a consistancy issue?

BC:
I don't think we've played that well, to tell you the truth. I think you're being nice to us.

I don't think we've won that many - you know we've played 17 or so teams and maybe we've played 4 games where we played up to our potential. I just think we have - you know, we're just not playing well. I don't know what to say.

We trying to stick with basics - do things the right way but I don't know if its any one thing.

When I started out with a little opening statement, sometimes its rebounding, sometimes its turnovers, sometimes its you're not shooting the ball, those things you have to do well to win and we have not done that on a consistant basis.

What we have done on a consistant basis is not play well, for a veteran team.

What is it that makes Wisconsin's Home court so good for them? Is it the crowd, the surroundings? Like Welsh-Ryan is for NU?

BC:
This question is asked every year, no one can be definitive about it but I think all those things are certainly factors.

Certainly just being familiar with the baskets and the court, you've shot there, some guys for three and four years, you've run all your plays there and then certainly the student sections are very important. You don't have to travel.

You don't have to spend six hours in an airport, or four hours on a bus, and you're sleeping in uncomfortable beds or comfortable beds that aren't your own. There's so many different things probably factor into that but Wisconsin has been particularly rough on people and I think the fact that they've got a good team is also a factor and they have for a few years because they've won on the road for a few years also.

Jim O'brien used to talk about how hard it was to beat NU's Princeton offense [Carmody pointed out that he never beat O'brien] and the difficulty of preparing for NU's system twice a year. Does Wisconsin's Swing offense also do that to people?

BC:
Its possible. I would say that the think that makes it a little different, Bo gets a lot of his smaller guys in the pivot - in the post and they're trying to score down there and its a lot of guards and small forwards aren't used to guarding guys in there all the time and if that's true than big guys are also playing big guys out on the perimeter and they're not used to doing that .

Wilkinson is capable of knocking down some threes, and certainly Morley is. Yeah, I think so, I think that that offense is a little different, it causes some problems you know that people don't see game in and game out. You know, just normal motion offenses.

Next up is Iowa, followed by Ohio State on Saturday...


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