Are there any specific keys you see in Michigan State's play over the last several weeks?
"As I said this morning, they are home more recently. They had a lot of neutral games early in the year in nonconference compared to a lot of teams, if it was a home game it was a home game, it was in your building. They were in a couple of either home neutral or road neutral and now they are shooting it so much better and playing with that type of confidence. When the ball is going down it is contagious. You can see that in the second half against Purdue just in a mini-view of our game. But they've been doing it for weeks now and I think that is all a result of getting to an eight and eight – eight home, eight away in the conference. Once they got home they played a lot better because of that."
Can you talk about the importance of getting a lead or staying in the game in tomorrow night's game against Michigan State?
"It wouldn't change. I don't know how I could phrase any differently, but it's still the same. If you let people get away from you a little bit on the road, it can mushroom in a hurry. You don't have to go too far back to know that. Whether it is here at our place when we opened up a lead and the other team has to play from behind. It is a little bit tougher to do only because… there is proof if you look at statistics. It doesn't mean you can't come back; it is just tougher to come back on the road. That's something that if you've looked at film it is just the way it is."
Are the sightlines difficult at Michigan State? With the student section down there, which is the case in several Big Ten venues, but is having the students an additional challenge for you to try to communicate with your players?
"No. And I'd be willing to bet that sometimes the players don't want to hear what I am saying which might not be all bad at times. But they [the crowds] get into it. That's college basketball. It's pretty exciting. Sticks and stones will break my bones… you know the old saying."
Is it fair to say that because of who you are playing, where you are playing them and what is on the line that this is one of those games where you won't have to worry about the team's focus or getting them up for the game?
"Like I said, I have never worried about the people around
us – fellow coaches, players, managers never worried about people not being
focused. You've never heard me come in here after a game or on the road or
anywhere else and say ‘Our guys weren't ready for this. We weren't ready. We
weren't focused.' I've never said it. So this is just the next game and our guys
will be ready as they always are. You have to remember that the result doesn't
mean [they were] ready, prepared, focused. Those are just words people put on
something if you don't get something done and I don't buy into any of it. I
never have, I never will because I know how I feel. I can only tell you how I