Big 12 Teleconference Transcript: Tubby Smith

Tubby Smith answered questions about the team's mindset following the loss at Kansas over the weekend, the excitement over the program's success and likely postseason inclusion and more during the Big 12 teleconference Monday morning.

Q: Tubby do you think the rule the NCAA instituted before the season in hopes of opening the game up have worked?

Tubby: Yes. Yes I do.

Q: Any thoughts on what's improved and do you think what's improved will continue through the NCAA tournament or the game might slow down and perhaps tournament teams become more cautious?

Tubby: Well they wanted to clean up the post, the physicality of it. I think they have done a good job and given guys freedom of movement so that when you chuck people there's not a whole lot of that going on. That's created I think more opportunities to score. Scoring is up and you're right, if they can just maintain that level, but it just depends on the officiating crew. But, I think it's about as good as you could ask for at this point in time. 

Q: With conference play wrapping up this week and the Big 12 tournament just around the corner what is the mindset of your team?

Tubby: You know, we're coming off a tough loss at Kansas, but I believe our guys' attitude and their confidence has been good. I think we'll see today, we were off yesterday, so we'll have practice this afternoon and see what kind of spirit they are in, what kind of mood they are in. We know we have a tall task against West Virginia, which is senior night (there in Morgantown. That's always a tough place to play. It's tough there even when it's not senior night, so it will be even more of a challenge for our guys. But they are excited, knowing we're going to be playing late, we're playing for something this time of year. The last couple years we were not. 

Q: You talked a bit about the confidence. I know that's something you've really touched upon all season long and how that's important for your team. What did you tell them, I mean being on that win streak and then the tough loss versus Kansas, what did you tell them after the game to get their minds right?

Tubby: Well we have a lot of basketball left to play, we can't allow one game... you know what we usually say after a loss. We just talk about , you know the season's not over with, we still have two games left in the regular season so we need to find a way to play better and improve in the areas we've been struggling in. Against Kansas we really struggled to shoot the ball and I thought we did an adequate job defensively and on the boards, but we just didn't shoot the ball well and that's something you have to do this time of the year.

Q: You guys still appear to be in pretty good shape as far as getting an NCCA bid. How much talk is there about that and in general how exciting is it?

Tubby: That's what I told the team. We have a lot to play for, that's why we have to improve between now and Wednesday because we're playing against another highly ranked team in West Virginia. I think they're a top 10 team in the country, so it's just night in and night out you have to come prepared. We had a tough time getting to Lawrence, Kansas the other night and I think that has something to do with it. We didn't get in until about 12:30 that night, 1 oclock and it was an early game. But, I think our guys, I think fans, administration, myself, we are all excited about our opportunity to play in the postseason. We just need to make sure we take car of business on the court. 

Q: How surprising is it to you that in a league as good as the Big 12 is that the same team keeps winning every year?

Tubby: Well, it's obvious Bill Self and his staff got great tradition and they've got the formula on how to win the Big 12 and certainly it starts with having talented people, talented players and then having an excellent coach like Bill Self. He always gets his kids to play hard and that's tough when you have such a talented group, to get them to instantly buy in and play for each other the way they do year in and year out. It's remarkable in this day and age and in this conference.

Q: Doesn't it seem that one of the other good teams in the league should be breaking through?

Tubby: Well, you know when you have the tradition, no one else has that type of tradition in this league or any other league maybe other than Kentucky in the SEC, UCLA in the (Pac 12). But they have been able to sustain it for such a long period of time even under Roy Williams and then (now). I think a lot of it has to do with their consistency, their coaching staff, their great commitment from the administration and their great fans. 

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