You've known (Purdue coach) Gene Keady for a long time, can you talk about how he hasn't changed much since when he first got into this business? He still coaches the same, he's still doing the same things.
"That's a pretty safe statement because he only knows how to do things one way. Obviously he was very competitive as a youngster and later as an athlete and then took that and ran with it. They keep telling that story about the only opening, the only job he had when he was finished playing football was a basketball job. He took it and he liked it so much that he kept working his way up. First at Hutch Junior College and than an assistant in Division I and then a Division I head job and then another head job at Purdue and he has made the most of it. In our profession, any time you see somebody do that for that long, you have to just tip your hat and say ‘Wow, he must be pretty good at what he does because he certainly doesn't change a lot of things.' I think the guys in our profession that do stay a long time pretty much have a system, work the system and that's how they survive."
With that system it seems like Purdue has gotten back to playing the way they had been. There was a year or two in there where players weren't necessarily playing the way people expected Purdue to play.
"Well, you could see it by watching them, but what he did was he said it himself. The only reason I would reiterate something like that would not be to talk about his team other than what he said. That is what he has spoken freely about is last year they started getting back to as opposed to two years ago, as we always say, playing for the front of the jersey."
In today's arenas that are all the new kind of arenas, Purdue's Mackey Arena is very unique and kind of a special place. When you couple that with the fact that Keady's teams playing as a team is that what makes it so tough to win there?
"Yes. If they make shots and defend hard and rebound hard, they are going to be successful and they certainly have done that. That usually leaves you on the left-hand side. I don't think there is any other way you can describe it."
After the Michigan State game, (coach) Tom Izzo in a complementary way said that in defending Paul Davis you ‘beat the heck' out of him. In terms of playing defense, how much of it is being physical? Is that an accurate way to characterize your defense?
"No. We've never talked about doing anything other than getting in position. Sometimes when the balls move from one spot to another there is jockeying for position and you have to use your feet, you have to use your balance. I always talk about a boxer's stance from the standpoint of balance – ready to move left or right and to stay on balance. That's what is important in post-defense, it is important in defense on the floor. It is both players in the post. It always takes two to tango. That is just part of what our guys have to do in order to play the way the game should be played. There is always the gray area about who is there first and you'll see that Wednesday, you'll see it they next time we play, you'll see it if you watch games tonight. You always see that."
Devin Harris was named co-Big Ten Player of the Week today with Penn State's Jan Jagla. How impressive has he been as far as the total game because he is doing well rebounding, with assists, steals and scoring?
"Well, I don't think it is the first time he has done those things. He just keeps developing. It is still a matter of the more strength you get, the more maturity you have the better you are going to get. He's in the middle of his maturation right now. He is hopefully going to keep getting better. I'm never satisfied; I certainly hope I'm not coaching guys that are."
The way you came back Saturday and then eventually won the game. A game like that, can that only help you down the stretch learning how to come back from a big deficit?
"It certainly doesn't hurt, but you don't want to put yourself into that kind of position. It also just keeps reinforcing what we've been saying as coaches for years about the swing and the game of basketball. The three-point shot, the two-shot foul if you get 10 fouls on a team. You can score a lot of points with the clock stopped and you can score that extra point when they put the three-point line in. They stopped the game at the end with that minute so there is a lot of things that can happen in a short period of time and it isn't just because in one year we went from losing our Big Ten opener after being up with seven minutes and something to go and then winning a game being down with three minutes and something to go. But I said that last year - just watch games and watch the swings and that is what the three-point line has done. You can also bury yourself with the three-point line and you can get behind, try to come back that way and just get buried or you can score with the clock stopped by taking it into the post and getting fouled. Every time you get fouled making a field goal attempt you can get points without the clock moving a second, so that is another way of scoring and making comebacks. That is why I was leery about calling it a comeback. It was in the first half. They usually refer to comebacks, or I do anyhow, when you are down late in the game."
Is it generally harder to come back and win on the road in a hostile setting?
"It seems that way because if you are down at home, you tend to get a lot of help coming back from your fans. If you are on the road trying to come back that's why people always said it is tougher on the road to cut into a deficit because of the energy level that a crowd can give you. It is just a fact of life. If you tell people they're lead long enough, they act like lead. If you tell them they're gold, they'll act like gold. So a little bit of encouragement, a little bit of something positive happening, you feel better. So if you are on the road and something positive isn't happening, where do you look for someone saying ‘Hey, you're okay. You're alright.' Not too many fans at Purdue are going to say ‘Hey, that's okay Badgers. We're still cheering for you.' There'll be 50 people there trying to help us, not 17,000. That's what makes it tough on the road. You do lose a little self-confidence. "