Feb. 2, 2007
BLOOMINGTON, Ind.- Head coach Kelvin Sampson met with the media on Friday, Feb. 2, to discuss the win over No. 2 Wisconsin and the upcoming game against Iowa.
On Iowa and how they have progressed:
"Watching them against Wisconsin, I thought they were outstanding. They just didn't make a shot. So many times we evaluate a team by how they play on offense. They just didn't make their shots, but they got good looks. I think the big difference between our game against Wisconsin and Iowa's game against Wisconsin is that we made shots. That was the most important thing we did. When you make shots, you have a good chance to win. Their defense was great, they outrebounded Wisconsin, defended them well, but they just didn't make their shots. You can see that they are a good team that has really improved. They went at Michigan the other night. They're playing good, it's going to be a tough game."
On assessing the team at the midway point of the Big Ten season:
"I don't know how to assess where we are. I don't ever think about that. We're 6-2 in the league. That's the best assessment I can give you. Our next game is against Iowa. I don't get excited about anything else. We had a really good practice yesterday and will fly to Iowa this afternoon and try to lock down on some things tonight. Hopefully we'll play good tomorrow."
On refocusing after the big win over Wisconsin:
"It was no easier than it was after the Illinois game or the Michigan State game. These kids have been pretty much the same all year. People think kids aren't going to have bad games occasionally. It just doesn't work that way. I'll take it for what it's worth. Yesterday we worked a lot on defensive mistakes and correcting things. We put in a couple new things yesterday that we'd like to do on Saturday. Yesterday was no different than any other practice that we've had."
On Iowa's Tyler Smith:
"The way Iowa's team is set up, they really need him to score. I like the way they get him the ball too. They have so many different ways, they'll isolate him mid-post, in the center post. They run what we call a horn series where they play him in the middle, top of the key, let him turn and face one-on-one. They have a lot of ways that he can beat you. He's had some great games. I really like him, he's had some great games."
On how far the team has come from November to February:
"I think we're playing good. You have a vision for your team. The way they played in November is the way they should have played. Look at D.J. White today versus November. They have some confidence. There are a lot of teams playing February basketball. Iowa is playing its best basketball of the year. I love this time of year. You can't really smell the barn yet, but you know it's out there."
On having a week off after playing Iowa:
"I think it comes at a timely time because this is the time of year that you worry about injuries. Because of the way we practice and the way we go about things, these kids get sore, they don't bounce back quite as quick. A Saturday-Tuesday game is tough for a road team this time of year. It's tough to bounce back. Purdue had a week off before they played Illinois. It helps you. Not because we need to practice, but because we need some rest, to allow them to regroup and rejuvenate themselves. This time of year, you appreciate it."
On playing five road games in February:
"I don't know that we spend a lot of time thinking about it. You play your next game. Think about that week that we had Connecticut and Illinois. A lot of people would have taken the split there. In the Big Ten you have eight at home and eight on the road. Wherever you play them, you play them."
On the former players who attended the Wisconsin game:
"They are just good guys. This is their university, these people love them, as they should. When Roderick Wilmont and Errek Suhr leave here, they will be loved too. I really appreciated that Landon Turner came into the locker room after the game, congratulated our guys and told them how proud he was of them. They appreciated that. He's a good guy. I've enjoyed getting to know the former players, they've been great. Former players are the bedrock of your program."