NU Basketball Coach Bill Carmody Teleconference

NU's Coach on:<br> + Last Week for the Wildcats,<br> + Scoring from Inbounds-Under the Basket,<br> + Rating the Big 10 against other conferences,<br> + and do "real teams" play Zone?

The Cats are coming off a pair of tough losses last week:

First it was the Golden Gophers of Minnesota who humbled the Cats at home [score] then a big game in Chicago's United Center against the Fighting Illini who came out shooting 92% and held off NU 73-61. Next up are the Nitany Lions who come in Saturday afternoon.

We had a tough week.

In both games we played, Minnesota, and Illinois in the United Center, we fell behind by a lot early. In both games we came back to make it close, but we didn't have enough.

I wasn't happy with the way we played Minnesota at all. Against Illinois, I thought we played a lot better even though we were down early. I just thought that they were playing real well and we had a hard time containing them. We came back and I thought the guys played hard and I just liked the effort there.

Now we have some time off, we have the bye on Wednesday and get ready for Penn State on Saturday.

The guys were off yesterday, and we'll practice today and give them off again tomorrow. This time of year they really need that. Today we'll just work on some individual things and get ready for Penn State.

How do you approach the out of bounds play under the basket? [From Bob Baptist - Columbus Dispatch]
I think its really important...and we spend a lot of time on them.

I know in Columbus, your guys do a heck of job there and ... score on out of bounds plays.

I think its really important because you can basically set your offense up and by doing that you have a pretty good idea how the defense is going to play, so I think its a really good opportunity for you.

The last couple of years we've had here, I thought we had done a perfect job on out of bounds scoring, but this year we have not done as well, although we get some pretty good shots at them, so to answer your question, I think they're really important.

So it entails more than just preparation?
Yes, it depends who the "o's" are.

Just like anything, on the offensive end you have to have some guys who can put the ball in the basket, and you have to be able to score from the inside and the outside. Usually you have a couple of options on those plays and one is to score around the basket and the other is to get the open shot from one of your better shooters.

Speaking for us this year, we spend a lot of time on them and we don't seem to be as productive. It appears we're getting some pretty decent shots, but...

What way do you evaluate a conference's strength compared to other conferences? What do you think is the most valid way?[Andy Bagnato - Chicago Tribune]
[Slowly] Yeah....

I'm not sitting on the fence but guess you have to combine them all and the more you see of teams, literally, you see the teams play, then the better chance you have of knowing that team A is better than team B, regardless of the conference.

I think everyone knows what RPI is, clearly flawed, and I'm being generous saying that, I think you have to watch teams and see them play and say, "OK, this team is a good team and they could play with them, this team, you know," ... they were always talking about this is a good team, or they're not so good, but you have to see them more than once, and that's what the committee has to do.

Its not an easy task because there are so many good teams out there or at least teams that are in contention.

Yesterday on CBS, on the KU - Oklahoma game, Raff, and Packer were basically debating how down is the Big 10 - it wasn't a question of whether its down or not, but that sort of hit nationally in terms of a quick shot on TV, hurt you guys as a conference or does it not make any difference?
Well it makes a difference - I caught the end of Don's call and saying the perception about the league - its very important - last year the Big 10 was supposedly down and they're 9 and 7 and they won't get a bid, and we had a chance to go to the NIT and we're not able to go - we lost at the end of the year, but still, I think we might be an NIT caliber team - so

I think those kinds of things help and maybe as a conference we have to do better marketing or look at our early season games out of conference and say "are these things wise?" or not wise because so much is based on those kinds of games.

OSU Coach Bob O'Brien said that he's seeing more Big 10 teams playing Zone defenses this year. Do you agree? and maybe why? [Bob Baptist - Columbus Dispatch again]
I think its true. Minnesota is playing mainly zone, and they've played that before, a little 1-1-3 zone but this year they're playing it most of the game.

I think Ohio State's playing it, maybe because of injuries a little more, but he likes to play around with changing defenses a little bit. But he's playing that zone of his a lot more this year, and again it might be because of young depth and injuries.

But Michigan State's playing more zone and everyone is.

Maybe around the country its just because people don't think their people can shoot the ball that well. That would be accurate in our case - playing against us, but the shooting is just average - people think maybe there just one or two good shooters, and if you can zero in on them, don't give them good looks, then you certainly gain a lot of speed with the other players so - I see more and more zone.

Some teams that aren't normally considered zone teams - coaches over the years who have played man-to-man a lot and now are just strictly zones - thats the only thing that pops into my mind - the shooters, guys don't make shots any more.

Do you think there's a little "trickle down" now that has legitimized the defense a little bit?
Yeah, that's not a bad point - because sometimes we follow the NBA and sometimes they follow us. It sure makes it more legitimate, there has been a stigma sometimes that good teams play man-to-man and that toughness and responsibility or the accountablility of the individual player, but you see some guys that have done it over the years are all of a sudden saying, "Hey, lets play zone."

You know those guys aren't weak guys. [laughs] or anything like that so maybe it does good...maybe there is something to that and I hadn't thought of it, but its something to consider

[Northwestern Basketball Coach Bill Carmody appears weekly on the Big 10 Teleconference
which can be heard on the Big 10 Web Site each week.]
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