Ross Neltner: USC can't be overlooked

Vanderbilt center Ross Neltner talked to the media on Tuesday and discussed Saturday's loss at Tennessee along with tonight's pivotal game with South Carolina.

Media: What is the mood of the team right now?
Ross Neltner: It's all right. We were kind of bummed out after the Tennessee game obviously. It was an embarrassing loss to your in-state rivals Tennessee. They played pretty well and we didn't. We're just trying to bounce back. We had a great day of practice yesterday, it was a really intense and energetic practice and we started taking a step in the right direction. We are just going to try and continue that today and bounce back against South Carolina on Wednesday.

Media: I heard someone say on the radio that you guys were flat on Saturday. Do you agree with that?
RN: It's probably justifiable with the way that we came out. It was the weirdest game because all of the sudden the ball is tipped and then we are going to the first media timeout down by 15. I'm not going to say it was attributed to our week off because I think that was beneficial to some of our guys to heal up, we had some injuries and some nicks and bruises, but then again when you get into this SEC play and you have Wednesday, Saturday games, Sunday off, you kind of get your body in a rhythm and kind of have a schedule about yourself and since we had the previous Wednesday off we might have gotten out of sync a little bit. It's no excuse; it's still a huge game for us. We're just disappointed as players, it started with me and the four other guys next to me and then it carried on into our substitutions throughout the game. But that game is over with. It's a 30-point loss, an embarrassing loss, but still just one loss. We are just going to try to bounce back on Wednesday in a pivotal game against South Carolina.

Media: At this point what are you guys going to do? Stick with what you've been doing or are you redrawing everything out?
RN: Yes, definitely stick with what we've been doing. It's not time to put in all the chips in yet. What we've been doing this year, we've got great team chemistry and we've got guys that are willing to work hard and get the job done and earn some wins. What we do offensively, how we double the post and fly around on defense is unique in the SEC and that has been the key to a lot of our victories. We are just going to stick with what we are doing and it's going to keep winning us some games.

Media: Last year you guys are 2-1 in the SEC and USC comes in and beats you guys in overtime. You guys know they are 2-8 but it doesn't seem to really matter.
RN: South Carolina is like any team in the SEC, they can't be overlooked. Their record is really misleading; they've been in some close games. They have a really explosive scorer in Tre Kelley and a good rebounder in Brandon Wallace. You know South Carolina and Georgia have both been a kind of thorn in Vanderbilt's side in the past few years, kind of disrupting our momentum as a team and how our league play is going. We definitely understand that and we are going to know that going into the game and try to use that to our advantage.

Media: Is one key keeping Wallace off the glass but two, are you guys going to the offensive glass more and get some mismatches in the post?
RN: Most of the time with myself being at the center spot and Dan being a power forward, we are both playing out of position so we are undersized the majority of the time in the front court game in and game out. South Carolina and Tennessee are two teams that their starting frontcourts are very similar in size to ours. You know it's definitely something we think we can take advantage of. Mine and Dan's job is to just try and keep our man off the board and obviously we'll get our rebounds. I think our one, two and three players this year have done an excellent job rebounding.

Media: It seems like every week everyone is hyping the next game as a "must win". Do you think that games get blown out of proportion a little bit where you have to win this one but then you win that one?
RN: It's an ongoing process. We try and just take it one game at a time. You can't be looking too far in advance because you overlook teams and stuff happens like you come out flat and you don't play aggressive because you think you are going to get an easy win. That's been a big key to our season. Taking it one game at a time, focusing each week on who we are playing and not looking ahead. I don't know if the opposition gets blown out of proportion because we think every game is the most important. Top Stories