Howland Talks Texas on Friday

Ben Howland answered questions in a teleconference Friday, talking more about the status of Darren Collison and Mike Roll, about the match-up against the Texas Longhorns on Sunday and just how good Texas' backcourt is...

On Darren Collison:

"We didn't practice yesterday, but he did do a little bit of conditioning on the bike and some rehab. He said that he felt fine. We'll have a fairly rigorous practice today, so that will be a better judge. He felt fine afterwards [the game on Wednesday], so that was great. Provided that we have no issues here in the next couple of days, yes [Collison will start]."

On the Texas guards:

"I want to know who has a better backcourt [than Texas]. They not only have [A.J.] Abrams and [D.J.] Augustin, but also [Justin] Mason. They are very hard to match up with because they shoot it so well from three. They make plays for one another. They are very, very good. Abrams was their second-leading scorer on last year's team. Mason is a very good player. He shot 40 percent from three last year, and Augustin was 44 and Abrams – who shoots a ton of them – he took 284 threes last year and made 42 percent of them. He is a great shooter with a really quick release. It's really going to be a matchup nightmare for us trying to deal with those three guards." 

On the series against Texas:
 
"We're just looking at Sunday's game and then we know we have to return there the following year."

On the Pac-10/Big-12 Series:

"It's good for our conference because there are a number of teams in our conference that have a hard time getting good games against BCS conference opponents. It really forces you to play in this situation. For the University of Texas or the University of Kansas or UCLA or Arizona or USC, it's not as hard because of the media markets and their ability to attract good television share to be able to put games together for our respective programs. But, there are a number of other programs that have a more difficult time in scheduling. Therefore, it helps both conferences. For Oregon to win at Kansas State and for USC to beat Oklahoma, that's great for the Pac-10. It matters in general, absolutely."

On Kevin Love:

"I think that we've got to do a better job of getting the ball to him in the post, especially against zones. When you're a team that zones quite a bit, what you're saying is that we're going to give you outside shots. If you do a good job attacking the zone, you're going to have some wide open shots, but you're going to take away the paint. We have to do a better job moving him around and do a better job of sealing inside and getting it to him when he is inside. We need to take advantage of his skill level."

On Michael Roll:

"Michael definitely helps us because he stretches defenses with his ability to shoot. [Michael] practiced for 45 minutes with the team, some contact, on Tuesday. And then he did an individual workout Wednesday and did a bunch of shooting yesterday and we expect him to practice today, hopefully for about an hour or so. He had some soreness in his foot after Tuesday's practice, which is to be expected."

On Texas' defense:

"They'll go back and forth. They do press quite a bit. They do a lot of 2-2-1 pressing. They do play a 2-3 zone. So they'll go back and forth and play both." 

On Collison's progress:
 
"I was really amazed, number one, at how we played after being out of action for 24 days and having had two practices – one of which he was a little hesitant. Monday he was a little hesitant, thinking about it. Tuesday, he was much better. Wednesday in reviewing the film, he wasn't even thinking about his leg. Normally, when you're out for 10 days, two weeks or three weeks, it takes quite a bit of time to get back into a normal rhythm. He's not where he would be if he had never missed this time. It just speaks to his great athletic ability and what a great player he is to step in and do what he did on Wednesday. We're playing against arguably one of the top two or three point guards in Augustine. He's really good, and I'm amazed watching this kid on film. We've got our hands full just trying to defend him. They're both really good point guards."

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