What They're Saying: Xavier

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Xavier head coach Chris Mack and players Matt Stainbrook and Dee Davis met the media Wednesday to preview Ole Miss.

Q. Did you guys stay up and watch the entire Ole Miss/BYU game, and outside of their offense, what jumped out at you about Mississippi?

MATT STAINBROOK: Yeah, we as a team, we watched I'd say the majority of it, if not all of it. Yeah, you saw they could score a lot. Probably the other things that jumped out is they really offensive rebounded really well. They're a team that's really resilient. They get their own misses, put the ball in the hoop, and they were just tough overall getting stops when they needed to when it came to crunch time. They're a very impressive team.

DEE DAVIS: Yeah, definitely. They work hard. And they're very athletic, and they push the pace and they shoot pretty early in the shot clock, so we've got to make sure we get back in transition.

Q. Dee, your thoughts on Stefan Moody and just the three-point shooting and the quickness and everything and what kind of challenge that's going to be?

DEE DAVIS: He's a good player. It's something we've got to prepare for and make sure we're on top of. He likes coming off staggers, and he'll shoot on the break, as you saw last night for a big shot. So we've got to be ready.

Q. Myles, what has it been like for you guys to not know your opponent until about midnight last night in terms of your preparations? Today is really the first day you've had to work on Ole Miss.

MYLES DAVIS: It's definitely a new experience for us, just watching the team and trying to prepare for them a day after. But at the end of the day, you've got to do what you've got to do. We've got to scout them, we've got to go over their actions, and I feel like we'll be ready to play when the time comes.

Q. Remy, as one that often draws the opponent's top players, can you also give your opinions on Stefan Moody and what his strengths are heading into this next game?

REMY ABELL: Yeah, like Dee said, he's a good player. He shoots the ball from anywhere. He has the green light. Like he's very aggressive, so like he said, we've got to stay on top of him. It's not just going to be one guy. It's going to be a team effort, team defense, so we'll be ready.

Q. Matt, can you talk about the size of your front court and how that might be an advantage for you guys against Ole Miss?

MATT STAINBROOK: Yeah, I think we've done a good job of sort of pounding the ball inside and trying to establish it early. And I think that's probably going to be another strength of ours again, me, Jalen, James, a lot of other guys. We're trying to make some easy shots versus spread out the court. We have guys that can knock down shots, and it really helps our team if we can spread a team out or continually pound the ball inside and draw fouls. That's going to be our game plan among other things. It's worked well for us so far, we'll probably continue with it.

Q. Matt and Dee, this will be your fourth game against an SEC team this year. You've had some pretty good success against them. Is there a characteristic of SEC teams that you've been able to pick up on, maybe something that the opponents or the teams you had earlier this year have in common?

MATT STAINBROOK: I'd say they're very quick. A lot of teams like to get out in the passing lane, sort of deny the ball, try to get steals, get transition points. Even when we were playing Alabama and Auburn, they like to heat it up and make it a quicker-paced game. And we're not an extremely slow team when it comes to pace, but we're also not one of the fastest teams, so we'll try to control it at our pace and make it so that we can handle their pressure and everything like that.

DEE DAVIS: Yeah, I agree. They push the tempo in the SEC. Also they crash the offensive glass. That's a big characteristic I've seen watching SEC games. Yeah, as far as that, they hustle. They play hard, just like any other conference, Big East Conference.

Q. Coach, can you tell us your impressions of last night's game between BYU and Ole Miss, and does Ole Miss remind you of any other team you've played this season?

COACH CHRIS MACK: Well, number one, it was a tale of two halves. To watch that first half, get a bunch of people texting me saying, wow, you guys are in trouble playing BYU, and then the second half, those people didn't text me back. Give Ole Miss a lot of credit. They gritted out a tough game; they got way, way behind. That's not easy to do in the NCAA Tournament. Obviously, a very offensive minded game. To score 62 points in a half is almost unheard of in NCAA Tournament play. We're going to have our hands full. Ole Miss is similar in physicality and athleticism to a University of Cincinnati-type team. Offensively I think their guards really, really dictate the tempo, whether it's in transition, coming off pin-downs, getting in the lane, just making plays. Like I said, we have our hands full, and there's a lot of different challenges, games within the game, if you will, that we're going to have to answer tomorrow.

Q. Obviously, it's a stress for them getting in at 3:45 or whatever it was, but how much of a strain is it on you guys not knowing who you're going to play until midnight?

COACH CHRIS MACK: Well, I think it's a balance. Just as their travel was rough, you know, being able to prepare essentially in 36 hours for a team isn't easy, either. But both teams are in the same situation. I'm sure by the time game time comes around tomorrow at 4:00 or so, both teams will be very well prepared. And by this time of the year, you really focus more importantly on what your own team does, not necessarily trying to take away every little play and counter that the other team is running.

Q. This will be your fourth game against an SEC team this year. I'm wondering is there a, quote-unquote, SEC brand of basketball? Is there something that a lot of the SEC teams have in common as far as you getting ready to prepare for them?

COACH CHRIS MACK: Well, I wouldn't necessarily say styles of play are early similar. I think each coach and each program has its own stamp. But I think the caliber of athlete, the size of athlete that you face in the SEC, especially in the front court, is as good as there is in college basketball. We'll be playing against bigs that are big, that are strong, that are physical around the basket, that pride themselves on rebounding at both ends, that are really good in passing lanes, that get steals. That's what I think of when I think of SEC basketball. But each team has their own unique stamp, whether it's an amoeba-type zone, whether it's full court pressing at Arkansas. I think you can go down the line and find a different identity for each team, as well.


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