Feb. 21, 2008
Bloomington, Indiana -
On Thursday, Head Coach Kelvin Sampson, senior D.J. White and freshman Eric Gordon gave their thoughts on the upcoming game against Northwestern in Evanston, Ill.
Indiana Coach Kelvin Sampson
On what makes Northwestern so difficult to play, especially on their home
"The thing that impressed me the most about Northwestern is how they continue to fight. If you look at their last two games, against Purdue, in the last 10 minutes they had every opportunity to win. That tells me a lot about Bill Carmody and his kids. And then the Iowa game on the road, Iowa has had some great wins at home. They beat Michigan State and Ohio State, they (Northwestern) go in there and play them right down to the end and they lose a heartbreaker. Whenever you go play Northwestern, you know you're going to play a team that's going to fight until the end and it's going to be a tough game, it always is.
"I remember the game last year, Rod Wilmont made nine three's and that's a big reason why we won. But I like the way our team is playing right now. We are going in there with a lot of confidence, knowing this is an important game."
On getting D.J. White involved this time like he was against Northwestern
earlier this season:
"Well, offensive rebounds are always a big part of our game plan when we play teams that play predominantly zone. Zone teams give you an opportunity to offensive rebound. But when you are on the road you still have to make shots. We are going to have to execute offensively. Defensively, we are going to mix up our defenses. But I think our main focus is to just play good. We have played Northwestern and we know they are going to run their offense. They run it well against everybody. That's why when we beat them here, a big part of our defense was switching to zone. We know we are going to have to play zone in this game, but I also like to think we can play man. Maybe not pressure as much and maybe not get out and deny as much to try to take away the backcuts.
"Two things about Northwestern, you have to defend the back cut and you have to defend the three."
On DeAndre Thomas and his increased playing time recently:
"I think the fact that he is really working at his conditioning and getting in better shape. Good things come to those that work hard. DeAndre has really stepped up his conditioning, outside of practice. He comes in twice a day and works hard with Jeff Watkinson, our strength coach, he spends extra time on the elliptical, on the treadmill, in the weight room and I think that's paying off for him."
Senior D.J. White
On competing for a conference championship the final two weeks:
"It feels good, especially being a senior, this is a new position for me."
What are the keys on Saturday for you to be successful:
"I think our defense and rebounding is our key. Limit them to one shot and guard their offensive sets."
On DeAndre Thomas's improved play:
"It makes me feel good , especially to see how hard he works. He hasn't got a chance to play as much as he would like, but I'm really proud of him. They don't see how hard he works."
Freshman Eric Gordon
On winning on the road:
"We have been through a lot of adversity and we just have to continue to band together. Championship teams have to win on the road."
On his increased scoring as of recent:
"I just have adjusted my game to the defenses and look for other ways to score. You take whatever they give you."
On playing for a championship the last two weeks:
"It is really exciting. It is the reason why we are here. Our goal is to compete for the conference title and see what we can do on the national level."