Barnes: 'I really expect our seniors to set tone'

Texas head coach <B>Rick Barnes</B> and seniors <B>Brandon Mouton</B> and <B>Royal Ivey </B>faced the media last night in Denver after their final practice before NCAA opener.

Opening Statement

"We're excited to be a part of the tournament. If you do well in this tournament, it's going to be hard. You never think it's easy because every team that's playing right now has had a great year, capable of beating anybody. We have a great deal of respect for Princeton. We played them a year ago in Austin and the game went down to the wire and that's the kind of game we're expecting tomorrow. It will be a close game and hopefully we can execute well and do what we need to do."

On last year's experience

"We haven't really talked about it. Every year is a different year. Our players have been in a lot of big-time games and in almost every situation you can imagine. We talked about this team and we've always talked about what's in front of us and never looked too far ahead. These guys have been through tournament play for the last four years and I think they understand that this time of year if you're going to move on you have to earn it. All I want for our team is to give it our best effort."

On seniors

"This group of guys has been the foundation of the program since I've been at Texas and this time of year is when you expect seniors to do what they do and that would be to lead so I really expect our seniors to set the tone and they've done that and we need all of them to be playing their best basketball right now. That's what we need more than anything."

On Big 12 competition

"I think with a one-game tournament, I don't know if it matters where you played or who you played because Princeton has done what they've done all year long, they're not going to change, they're going to do what they do and for that reason they're very, very good at it. We need to try to do what we do. I know we've played a tough schedule. I think when you're Princeton playing in the Ivy League, it's a tough schedule because everyone wants to beat Princeton. Every night they walk on the floor someone's wanting to get a little bit of them because of what they've done in the past, their great basketball tradition, so they're tested. Believe me, they are tested. People in the Ivy League know them as well as anybody. A lot more people are running their system which is an unbelievable compliment to them, so when you come through that league the way they have, they've been tested in a different way than we have but they have been tested."

On Princeton defense

"I really don't have a preference (whether Princeton runs zone or man). I would imagine at some point in time coach Thompson could mix in some zone. I'm sure they have it. If he goes back and looks at last year's game, I'm sure he's going to say let's throw it out there a little bit. (But) he might not. They're a very sound man-to-man team. I'm impressed with -- everybody talks about their offense but I think they're a really good defensive team. They don't give you many easy baskets, they give you very few baskets in transition so regardless of what he plays, they're an older group too, they've been around together and they know what they're looking for as well."

Royal Ivey

On postseason play

"It's a whole new season now. This is what everybody has been looking forward to."

"You have to bring your "A" game now, if you lose one game you go home."

On Princeton

"They're a well coached team and they stick to their principles. They run a hard offense and they play good defense."

"I think our team is ready to gel right now in the postseason. We know it's important that we play together, hard, and to our strengths."

On experience

"We have a lot of experience which brings everybody's confidence level up. We all know what it takes to win because we have been there."

On concerns about the Princeton style of basketball

"They're a very good team, they're disciplined, and they run their offense to a 'T'. They know their principles and they know what they're looking for, they play hard."

Brandon Mouton

On Princeton

"Last year when we played Princeton it was a close game. Princeton is a good ball club and it will be a hard fought game."

"Every team is good and capable of beating you. We just need to come out and give our best effort in order to advance in the tournament."

On positive attitudes

"I think our coaching staff does a good job of talking to the team and letting everybody know what the goal is and for us that is winning a national championship."

"We are fortunate to have a team of young men who are all on the same page. We all want to achieve the same goal, so it doesn't really matter who is playing or who is making all of the shots. It's really about winning."

On experience

"This ball club is experienced; all of our guys know what it takes to win ball games. It's about making good decisions on the court to get your team in position to win the game."

Click here for Princeton's pre-game comments.

Horns Digest Top Stories