Feb. 20, 2007
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. - Head coach Kelvin Sampson met with the media on Tuesday, Feb. 20, to discuss the upcoming game against Minnesota.
On the outlook for Minnesota and practice this week:
"We aren't going to win many games with D.J. sitting beside me, and he was disappointed in the way he played. He bounced back yesterday, which is very good, because you have to carry that over. When D.J. has been at his best this year he attacks. We worked on that yesterday, broke things down one-on-one. We worked on the post defense and everything we worked on D.J. was good. At this time of year we really have to guard against slipping on things. Guarding a team like Minnesota, they have a guard that can score off the bounce, off the catch and is a really good 3-point shooter. We worked on things that we will have to do to defend against Minnesota."
On Rod Wilmont's shot selection:
"I watched some film with Rod this morning and teams are guarding him differently. Sometimes that's not all by design and these other teams are putting their most veteran defender on Rod. The good thing is he is not forcing it. I think the 3-point shot is an important part of Rod's game when he is open. Sometimes a kid like Rod doesn't need to be open to shoot it. Rods aggressive and I would certainly like him to stay that way and not pass up any threes."
On the team on the road:
"This team has to learn how to compete when on the road. We compete, but you either win or lose the game. I sit on both ends because I see really good teams coming in here trying to beat us. It goes both ways. We have to continue to work at it. We have two more road games this season, and we have to put our heart and soul into winning those games."
On Jim Molinari coaching situation at Minnesota:
"Jim is a good friend of mine, I've known him for a lot of years and we have spent a lot of time talking basketball. He is a defense first kind of guy. We watched tape of their game against Wisconsin and in the Ohio State game, they competed. Jim has them competing. It is not easy coaching a team that really is not in tournament contention. I've had to coach teams like that in my career. It's in those years that coaches are doing their best job. I think Jim has done a tremendous job and in every game that team has competed."
On the Big Ten:
"A lot of differences in these teams this year are the games on the road. A lot of teams are similar and the difference is home court, how a team responds. Wisconsin and Ohio State are different than a lot of the teams. People talk about winning, we haven't lost at home and we have battled on the road. You don't give up, you don't give in, you don't make excuses and you keep working in practice to get better the next game. We have a parity conference. I have seen it every year, and there are no revelations in the league this year. Michigan State had a hard time winning at Indiana and Purdue had a hard time winning at Indiana. We had a hard time winning at Iowa. The home court is a difference in a parity league. There are not a lot of differences in the teams in this league, but home court is an advantage."
On the team's defensive plan:
"D.J doesn't run a four, he defends fives and Mike (White) doesn't defend a four very good. As we move along we are really going to try and get a team that really fits. Of all our post guys we have only two guys that can defend a four, but that's the way it is. Earlier in the season we experimented a lot with playing Ben and D.J. together. We had so many starting lineups to learn the team. And then when Ben got mono, Lance (Stemler) started playing well. When Ben came back he was behind a bunch of guys. Each of them have their strengths and their weaknesses, and it's almost game to game with them."
On Ben Allen:
"Strength and Conditioning Coach (Jeff) Watkinson and him have really been working hard in the weight room. Ben is working really hard before and/or after practice. The harder you work the more confidence you have and with Ben, you can tell he's just not comfortable scoring it around the basket. He doesn't get in the game long enough and the more time he plays the better he will be. In his mind, he is trying to make a conscious effort to be a post guy. Some teams he will match up better. In the Purdue game they played (Carl) Landry and (Gordon) Watt, and it made it hard for Ben because then who does D.J. guard. We play man-to-man and if you play zone you can then play a big line up. There are a lot of variables involved."