"We certainly ran into a buzz saw last night at Villanova. I didn't think we played that poorly but they played really well. They really hurt us on the backboard and the offensive backboard early in the game to knock us back on our heels. We dug. We fought and we were able to get it to single digits at times but to their credit many different guys hit big shots to hold us off. We get back to regroup and get ready for South Florida here. We got a couple of days to prepare and we'd like to hold serve on our home court here and understand the Big East regular season is a marathon. You can't get too high or too low."
Q: Can you talk about Russell Carter's development from freshman year to now.
"We have a lot of guys like that. I don't know. I have to get my head examined. Russ was always a great scorer. But playing the game with other guys and being easy to play with was something he had to learn. I think he benefited from playing with Chris Quinn, Colin Falls and Chris Thomas. Those were guys that had high basketball IQ's. Certainly, he's much more physically gifted than those guys. There's been a nice blend towards the end of last year of making people around him better and someone we can ride. He's a confident kid and always felt he was going to be a great player. I think he's a great story because he had to wait almost two years. In most cases in a program, that guy is gone before that and going somewhere else to play. He's a great story and become a great leader. I didn't know if he'd ever evolve into that. He's been excellent with (Luke) Harangody and especially our freshman guard Tory Jackson."
Q: Did you expect the consistency of this season?
"It surprised me a bit that he could do it every night. But in practices when he was a freshman playing against Quinn, Falls and Thomas, when he was in a blue shirt playing against our starters, he'd have days where he would crush them. And he'd make a lot of bad shots. He's one of those guys that can hit tough shots and create his own shots. I've tried to get him to use screens more and make it easier for himself. He's evolved into that but he's almost better facing you and taking you off the dribble. It's something he does and we've tried to adjust our offense to take that into account. Again, there's a toughness with him mentally knowing that he was going to succeed here. He wasn't going to get beat up. When we were recruiting him, it was us and William and Mary. We got involved with him because I thought Thomas was going to put his name into the draft the year after we went to the Sweet 16. I was thinking we'd need another guard. We recruited him and it's a great story. I'm proud of him."
Q: What is it on the road?
"I don't know. We ran into two buzz saws and two teams that have really come out. I don't know if it's our defense as it is the other team's defense. Georgetown and Villanova took some things away from us early to make it tough for us offensively. You put so much pressure on your defense. The thing I'm disappointed in our two road losses is our defensive rebounding. People have gotten to their offensive board too easily early and then they're confident getting into our lane. That's an area where we're going to have to be better, not just away but at home as well. When we go back on the road next week, we'll address that in practice."
Q: How do you address that in practice?
"You can drill a little bit. But our guys are sharp guys. I'll show them tape of Georgetown and Villanova getting second shots early in the game and how they kicked us around a little bit. That's my best way to get my point across."
Q: How do you balance Tory being a freshman but trying to get more out him, especially in the first half?
"I think it's a fine line with both those guys. I have to remind myself to be positive with those guys, especially with Tory. He's really hard on himself when he makes a mistake. He wants to please his coaches and teammates. He knows we've thrown him into a big responsibility and so far he's done an amazing job. It's a teaching aspect to get some tape to him and talk to him and teach. He's so receptive. You can't ride him. You can't get on him. You have to teach him and be positive. I don't want his head down when he makes a mistake. His energy is too important for us."
Q: How much did you have to juggle the offense with Tory being in there instead of Kyle McAlarney?
"The biggest thing with one less shot maker around, we've talked to Russ and Rob about being good drive and pitch guys. They both do that. Russ started to do that at the end of last year. Rob gives us a dimension with that now, too. He can put it on the floor and find our perimeter guys. They need to be catch and shoot guys a little more. If they have a shot when guys drive in and pitch it out, we want them to take it instead of John or Tory. Russ had gotten a better feel for it than Rob and that's because Rob is so darn unselfish. He needs to take a shot early and his percentages say he should take the shot. That's how we've tried to tweak it with those guys."