Coach Stallings talks Arkansas

On Saturday, the Vanderbilt Commodores travel to Arkansas to face the Razorbacks of Arkansas. Vanderbilt head coach Kevin Stallings talks about Arkansas and the state of Vanderbilt basketball.

Media: Please comment about your upcoming game at Arkansas on Saturday.

Kevin Stallings: We feel good about the way we've started in the league and we feel good about the fact that we've been a better road team than we we're a year ago. I think that what's really important for us right now if for us is to be able to respond appropriately to the success that we've had. We know Arkansas has a heck of a basketball team. We played one of our best basketball games against them a year ago and still had a hard fought close game with them. Brewer is a great player and they've got a lot of talented players to go with him. It will be a tall order but we are looking forward to how we respond to their atmosphere because it is very much like the Rupp Arena atmosphere; their crowd is great and it is a very tough place to play.

Media: Just wondering how long it took your team to come down off that high on Tuesday night.

Kevin Stallings: I'll find out today; we were off yesterday. I really didn't see them. We'll find out. I wanted them to enjoy the victory because I told them after the game that the most important thing is what our response to the victory is; It's no longer the victory itself but what our response to it is. We'll see, I'm pretty sure they'll come in focused because anything less than a great performance by us on Saturday will result in our being embarrassed because Arkansas is good enough in talent to embarrass you; we'd better come back with the right mindset.

Media: You guys obviously have collected some good talent and are putting the pieces together but there has to be some maturity worked in their too, to go on the road and win at Kentucky. I'm wondering; did you see that coming, the maturity developing in the non-conference? Can you give me an example?

Kevin Stallings: I just think that we were such a bad road team a year ago and I take credit for that. We just have talked really long and hard about being a better road team. Our opening road game this season we went to Georgtown and won. I think that got us off on the right foot, it gave us some confidence because we beat a very good team. I think it started with that and our confidence has grown. I don't know if there was a defining moment; I just think that our guys believe they can be a good road team. We've generally been a good home team but as I told them the best teams in our league win on the road. Until we can show that we can win on the road we'll never be considered one of the best teams in the league.

Media: [inaudible]

Kevin Stallings: We've been pretty unfortunate this year in terms of catching people at really tough times. Going back to Cincinnati, they were coming off a two game losing streak and had their backs against the wall; going to Georgia Tech and even with Kentucky, they were in a situation where they were coming off a tough game with Kansas. We've been in this situation it seems like all season long. Arkansas obviously had a tough game last night with LSU, we'll get the very best that they have to offer. I know it'll be a game that they'll look at and really feel like they need to win. Again, we've been in that situation several times this year. It's a great environment and a very difficult place to play; they have a wonderful home court advantage. So yeah, I expect the crowd and team and I expect everything about what we encounter on Saturday to be fired up and ready.

Media: [inaudible]

Kevin Stallings: I think anytime you go on the road and you are going to win against a really, like Kentucky or Arkansas is, and you're going to win in a really tough environment, you got to have to have people step up. Not only make plays but sometimes you just need a special performance. You know you talked about the play that Derrick made, he just jumped up and took the shot, gave us a 4 point lead. You know DeMarre Carroll gave us a special performance in 15 points, 11 rebounds the other night. If you are going to go on the road and win really big games in really tough environments, guys have to step up and make plays and generally speaking somebody has to step up and be special.

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