Dan Dakich And Players On Michigan State
Feb. 28, 2008
Weekly Press Conference
"They were playing to make the tournament, so there's a lot of pride. That's a program that just played in the national championship game. A lot of those players (from last year's team) are back. They weren't going to come in here and say `oh geez, IU is going through some stuff, we'll just lay down.' That wasn't going to be the case. To get away with a win and have the lead essentially the entire game was good."
On the difficulty playing in East Lansing:
"They have really good players and a really good coach, and it starts with that. I think, first and foremost, what coach Izzo has done there is one of the truly great stories over the last 15 years or so in college basketball. Those two things, the players he has recruited and the way he has gone about coaching makes it difficult (to play up there). It's difficult to play Michigan State up there and it's difficult to play Michigan State here. Michigan State is one of the elite programs in America, so that makes it hard. And they have a great facility with great fans. So you combine all those and that makes them pretty good."
On carrying over the success against Michigan State in the first meeting this year to this game:
"We did the same thing last year, but with D.J. Last year we beat them here bad and we went there and it was a good game and Indiana had the lead most of the game. I'm not so sure how much one game two weeks ago affects the game now. They know that we beat them and we know that we beat them. So what that means is `are they going to play harder?' and are we going to be thinking `we beat them last time, we'll beat them this time.' That can't enter the equation from our standpoint. This has to be a game we understand is tough and we get prepared for and play as hard and well as we possibly can and go up there and fight."
On Kyle Taber:
"Kyle really has been great all year. He was really good in the Bahamas. And it surprised me when I got here how much of a knack he has for the ball. I think the struggle was always that you have D.J. playing so many minutes and Lance (Stemler) coming back and playing so many minutes and DeAndre (Thomas) and Mike (White) and moving Jamarcus (Ellis) to that spot so the struggle has been minutes. I think coach Sampson did a great job of just inserting him into the lineup against Northwestern here. He has made the most of an opportunity and to make the most of the opportunity, he prepared himself by staying in shape and working really hard in practice every day."
On Eric Gordon's play the past couple weeks:
"I don't worry about Eric. He competes, he gets banged, he doesn't shy away. I don't worry about him. I know he had some turnovers, but when you go that hard, that often into the middle of defenses that's going to happen. He's so competitive, so good, so focused on winning. I don't think he's hit a wall. A lot of freshmen hit walls, but not great ones like him." "He's just a really good player. A really good guy, and a tough competitor. He's the best to me."
Has your relationship changed with any of the players?:
"I moved out of there (film room next to the locker room) over to the coaches' locker room for their comfort. I've always felt when you come into the locker room before practice, that's the players time. That's one of the fun things about being a player. You're in there with the guys about whatever stuff your talking about, good, bad or indifferent. I don't think they need the head coach hanging out next to the locker room. I used to hang out in the film room a lot before, but in trying to think about how I would like it as player, which what I try to do most times, how would I like that? As the head coach, I want to make sure they are comfortable in their space because the locker room is their space. When you talk to old players and ask them what they miss most about playing; I miss the games, the championships, but I really miss the locker room. I really miss the guys hanging out. And I know that, so I am sensitive to that a little bit."
"We have four kids that are committed, signed to come here. We are going around talking to them. We're talking to them about Indiana University, the reasons they came here. Just let them know that the program is on good footing right now."
Forward D.J. White:
On why it's difficult to play at Michigan State:
"The atmosphere, like I've said before it's one of the toughest places, there and the Kohl Center, to play in the Big Ten. The student section is right on the court, it's very loud and that makes it difficult for you to here in there and play. Michigan State is at their best when playing at home."
Will the 19-point win over MSU earlier in the year help for this weekend?:
"You have to throw that one away. We did the same thing last year. We beat them pretty bad at home and then went up there and gave it away. We need to be more focused going into this game and just forget about beating them pretty good here. Forget about it and just play."
Guard Armon Bassett:
On the challenge of playing at Michigan State:
"It's one of the best atmospheres in college basketball. I think their interior depth and their guard play will give anyone in the country match-up problems."
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