Weekly basketball luncheon

Texas A&M's head basketball coach, Billy Gillispie, met with the media on Monday. Read his comments on Wednesday's KSU game, putting the OU loss behind them, and more.

On playing at Kansas State Wednesday

Billy Gillispie: "They've got to be playing at an all time high confidence-wise. It had been 31 times they had lost to Kansas in a row, and they won it. They really earned the victory. They got down and had a stretch where they didn't score for 12 minutes in the game and really just hung in there and defended well and made shots. They made a bunch of shots down the stretch…a lot of big shots. They had a lot of different people that made plays that will be playing at an all time high, I would assume, confidence-wise…not just because they beat Kansas, but they have been playing well all year. They have got a really good team. They had a really tough shooting night against Nebraska, but they went to Iowa State and had a great chance to win over there as well. They are a really good team."

Do you talk to a young team about putting a loss like [OU] behind them?

"I really think practice and preparation makes you mentally tough enough to move on, win, lose or draw. I think the most important thing is to try to improve when you're winning…because with the media gratification the way it is in our world today, everybody thinks that once you win you automatically were perfect. I think we're as critical after a win as we are after a loss. But we're not going to neglect the fact that, hey, we made mistakes down the stretch in the last two games. We've made mistakes early in games that put us in situations where we should have had an 11-point lead at halftime instead of five. We're not going to not talk about missing free throws. We're not going to just act like it didn't happen. (We will) talk about it, address it, talk about how we can improve and hopefully it won't happen again. I think honesty is the best way to help guys move on. With players, I think being honest helps you move on. We know we're going to make mistakes. Let's not neglect the fact that we made mistakes, and let's not act like it didn't happen, even though it's a very emotionally-tough thing to handle sometimes. I believe honesty comes back to ease the emotional stress or emotional part of it and lets you move on quicker."

Is it difficult going on the road for two games now, then getting Kansas back here?

"Yeah. That's the Big 12. I'm really excited about it after how our team's doing. We've really improved and I love their effort. I love their practices, they've been good all year. They've become great in the last two or three weeks. They're excited about playing, and we're excited about the challenge. We know it's difficult. If you're going to start predicting and all that kind of stuff, it could be doomsday for some people. We're going to play for 16 games. Our schedule at the start is brutal. If we had any give-up in us, we would have given up at the half against (Texas) Tech. We aren't giving up. We're going to play 16 games and see where we're at after 16. I really believe, in our conference this year and the way the games have looked thus far, it looks like every game is going to be competitive. There are going to be a lot of games that come down to the last possession. The team that handles winning and losing the best over a 16-game schedule is going to be the team that's going to be (left). There may be one or two teams (emerge) as elite, and Texas is probably at that level right now already, but it's going to be interesting to see how it goes. I've always believed that you play 16 games, and it doesn't matter if you start off 4-0 or 0-4. You play 16 games and you see what happens. Last year Iowa State started 0-5 and ended up winning seven in a row, going to the NCAA Tournament and getting a good seed. So, only if you handle it wrong can your start be bad. Our guys will handle it right no matter what. If we were sitting here 3-0, our guys would be approaching this game the same way we're going to be approaching it. We're not 3-0. We could be 3-0--we could also be 0-3. We're 1-2. That's not where we want to be, but I'm confident we'll play 16 games."

With Joe [Jones], is there something you guys are going to try to do or work with him on to try to avoid foul trouble early?

"We've been working with him. He's just got to restrain sometimes. He's got to use his fouls (better). He's improved, but he's got to know sometimes that the reason he gets in foul trouble is because he does what we ask him to do all the time. He has to continue to want to do that, and he won't ever change, but he's also got to understand he's playing with his hands too much. When he gets in foul trouble, (it's because) he's not moving his feet enough and not anticipating. He's always reacting instead of anticipating. He's got to do a little bit better job, but he's also got to do a little bit better job of understanding, 'Hey, Joe, we need you in the game all the time. So try to do it like we want to, but sometimes don't take it to the letter of the law.' He will, because he's a really intelligent player. The other guys that came in the other day played great when he wasn't in there. We want him in there all the time. I think that we have got to do a better job of getting him more shots all the time. He only took 5 shots the other day. That's not good enough. We don't have a great chance for success when he does that. His foul problems are going to be a thing of the past very soon I think."

Before season you hoped that depth would take the pressure off Acie (Law) a bit, but are you still to the point that he's asked to do too much?

"Too much. Offense, defense. I'm mad at him because he doesn't get enough defensive rebounds. Well, I'm not really mad at him. His assists are down, but that's a lot to do with our other guys and not him. He's been playing great, but we need him to play better. Eddie (Smith) was sick the other day. He's still sick now, and I don't know if he'll be able to play a whole lot on Wednesday. There are just not a lot of alternatives. An injury that killed us early in the year was Logan Lee. That was a devastating injury that too many people don't talk about. He's a great shooter from the perimeter. He's a really good backup point guard in this situation. We could move Acie to the point when they play together. I'm not making excuses…"

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