Travis Wear talks about USC:
Q: Coach [Howland] was talking about how he tried to keep the offense to just 9 sets. Do you notice that? That he's running fewer sets like that?
TW: yeah, I noticed it. We usually run twirl, basic, wheel. We tried to keep it simple. I think we kind of got away from that in the Cal game. We only ran… we ran a little bit more motion. We only ran like a couple sets. You know, we usually mix it a little bit more with like 5, 6, 7. Against [Stanford], we didn't really run very many at all.
Q: the last time you guys played ‘SC, you were just coming off the concussion. Do you remember how you felt in that game? Were you 100%?
TW: yeah, I thought I was 100%. I was rested. I hadn't really done anything. I didn't think I was really in "game shape," having not done any contact or anything for a whole week. But, you know, I thought we were healthy and everything. They came out and they played well and they beat us. Everyone's healthy right now except Shabazz [Muhammad] who has pink eye but you know, we're fine.
Q: have you seen the offense move a little smoother when you guys are calling fewer plays? When it's a little simpler?
TW: mm-hmm. Mm-hmm. Especially like, you know, when we find something that's working. I think that was our problem with Cal. We just couldn't find something that worked. And then we kept taking quick shots because we wanted to stop the bleeding. And it just started snowballing. But things run a lot smoother… things also run smoother when we're getting fast-break transition points, you know, especially like the quick pick and pop, pick and rolls. Just being able to find the open man, advancing the ball and getting easy layups.
Q: do you notice that Shabazz curling off that offball screen was working against Stanford? It seemed like you found him for a lot of… I think you found him for that 4-point play.
TW: yeah, yeah. Because they weren't switching. They switched a couple times and then they got messed up a little bit. So when we were doing that little twirl action down along the baseline, we were getting wide open shots with our guards.
Q: with some of the games you guys have had, against Cal, against USC, are you guys kind of surprised that you're still in the conference race pretty heavily at this point?
TW: yeah, kind of. We've had some times where we came out, not ready to play. Lost games that we shouldn't have. It's a great opportunity now because we know we can play a lot better. We're thankful that we're still in the race. And going forward, we've got to take advantage of every game that we play.
Q: the past couple years, ‘SC week, you guys have had a nonconference game. Last year, I think you guys traveled to St. John's. Do you kind of like having no games for a week?
TW: oh, I love it. We did skill work yesterday [Monday] and today. Trying to keep our legs fresh. Not overdoing it. Tomorrow we have off. And then we got to come back and practice up to ‘SC. It's awesome not having to fly anywhere and just stay here, work on our game, and relax.
Q: but would you rather like having a game?
TW: no, I like this especially coming off a week where we could've played much better, against Cal and Stanford. I think everyone's focused and I think that's important that we get to come in here, focused, and some intense practices, going into ‘SC.
Q: how different is this week in terms of preparation compared to the last time you guys played ‘SC?
TW: seeing how they beat us. and hearing… Everybody's a little pissed. More intense. Angry. We want to go over there, and we want to beat them. It's as simple as that.
Q: in terms of what you're doing on the floor, like how is it different?
TW: I don't think we had any days off maybe going into ‘SC. I forget the schedule going into ‘SC. But I feel like right now, as far as our legs, I feel like my legs are a lot fresher. So we'll see what happens.
Q: do you think there's something you guys can do to, you know, even when you've had layoffs leading up to a game, you've come out with slow starts. Is there something you need to change to make sure that intensity stays there?
TW: yeah, to realize that we have come out and started slow. As players, just focus on coming out and, you know, being energized from the get-go and not really settling in but being ready to go straight from the tip.
Q: did USC sneak up on you guys the first time? They ran off a 4-game streak with that win over you guys. Were you guys not expecting them to be as good as they were?
TW: looking at their personnel, they have good personnel. Their record doesn't indicate as good a team as they actually are. I wasn't really surprised. I knew that coming in, they had good players, and they're capable of beating good teams so obviously now we realize how good of a team they are after they beat us and we've got to focus on going out there and playing our game.
VIDEO: Wear on USC
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