Howland Friday Teleconference

Ben Howland gives a thorough rundown of nearly every player on Colorado's roster, and discusses the matchup problems created by Andre Roberson and Austin Dufault...

Q: How are things healthwise?

A: Healthwise, I know Josh Smith just came by the office a minute ago and he's got a cold, so he's not feeling great, but I don't know of anything other than that. Jerime Anderson was sick and a had an inflamed throat on Wednesday. But he seemed to be OK yesterday. Other than those things hopefully we're OK.

Q: David Wear came out with ice on his knee, is that OK?

A: Yeah. He practiced each of the days. He actually did a good job in practice, but there's some soreness there, no question. He's gutting through it, which is good.

Q: Last night Jerime and Lazeric Jones had their minutes reduced. How much of that was a conscious effort, and how much of it was just how the game developed?

A: Some of it was a conscious effort, just trying to get them some more rest, and trying to, really, keep everybody fresh in the game and continue to do that. And some of it was that we were up 20 to 25, and we were going to play them less minutes at the end of the game.

Q: Colorado is kind of the surprise of the conference this year. What have they been doing that's been giving them so much success?

A: They've got good players, No. 1. Carlon Brown sat out last year, and he's a very good 2 guard. He was Utah's leading scorer a couple years back and then transferred to Colorado for a one year thing. He was originally out of Riverside. He's a good player. Austin Dufault is a good player. Both those kids are seniors and very good players. Spencer Dinwiddie is a very good player, and he's got to be one of the All-Freshman in our conference for sure, and is really a heck of a player. And this kid Andre Roberson, who's just a sophomore, is leading our league in rebounding. He's a very good athlete, very bouncy and athletic. He blocks shots. He's got 17 blocked shots, getting over two blocks a game in the conference. And he's really really a good rebounded. They've got great players. Nate Tomlinson, their senior point guard. They start three seniors. He's a very good, tough, heady point guard. They've got good players, and they're well coached, and they play real hard, and they execute their stuff. They're a hard team to play against.

Q: What do you see in Zeek when he is playing too many minutes? What happens to him?

A: I just think that's my responsibility to keep him rested. Just like anybody he'll get fatigued and then you're not quite as sharp as you need to be. And playing him more than 34 minutes a game is probably a mistake. I want to keep him right about 34 and he'll lead us in minutes. I'd like to get those guys down. We've got to No. 1 stay out of foul trouble to achieve this, but we've also got to play David Wear a few minutes at the three, and we also have to play Norman Powell major minutes. What I was most pleased about with Norman last night was his defensive effort. I thought he did a very good job defensively for us, and I thought he did a really good job fighting over the top of screens, and that's going to be a key for us, because they'll set a lot of ball screens tomorrow. And the way we're playing screens, when you're plugging it, the sooner the man who's guarding the ball gets back in front of the ball, the sooner the man who's plugging can release to get back to his own. Colorado is very good at picking and popping. Dufault and Roberson can really shoot on the perimeter.

Q: Do you think Anthony Stover is going for too many blocks?

A: He wants to make something happen. He wants to do good. So he goes in there and he does try to block every shot, sometimes, instead of picking and choosing. I thought he did an excellent job at Oregon because he was blocking his own man's shot. He blocked Woods a couple of times. When he comes from the weak side, if you go for a block and you miss, you take yourself out of the rebound. So he's just got to be a little more discerning on when to go for the block and when to not. But believe me, people are looking for him. When you're playing against him, he changes things.

Q: Roberson seems like a tough matchup for you guys, how do you plan on defending him?

A: They're both tough matchups. Dufault is equally tough. He even scores more than Roberson and they're hard because like I said, they can post up and they can play on the perimeter. They run a lot of nice sets for Roberson where they clear him out and he'll sweep and drive it to you. They can lob it to him over the top for dunks. And Dufault can really shoot the ball and is good in the post. They're good players. That's why they're 7-2.

Q: And their field goal shooting defense is something like 38%…

A: Yeah, very good. They play man to man defense. They're primarily a man to man team. In the conference they're doinga great job of playing man to man defense. And they're tough. And part of this is that they were very good last year. They set a school record for 24 wins last year. Coach Tad Boyle's done a great job and so they have a bunch of guys from last year's team that are, even though Brown didn't play because he was redshirting, he was a part of that team. He's their leading scorer. The true freshmen, Dinwiddie and Askia Booker, they really added to that team. They're doing a nice job. They play 8, 9 guys. They're tough.

Q: Jerime talked a lot last night about the team playing with a fire in their belly. What do you think that's attributed to?

A: I'm glad he feels that way, and let's hope that we have that same good fire in our belly for tomorrow because we're going to need it. But I think we have good kids and they want to win, and they were disappointed about the road trip last week. And they know we've got a huge opportunity tomorrow against a very good team, so yeah, you've got to have that fire when you play all the time.

Q: How important is it psychologically for you guys to get a win against one of these top teams?

A: Every win's important. We're playing a lot of top teams at home (over the next few weeks) and this is the first of a number of them. And Colorado is very good, so every win is important. Last night's win was important.

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