Feb. 26, 2002
DISCUSSING THE TEAM'S POSTSEASON STATUS:
"One week ago we were No. 10 in the nation and faced the prospect of winning two games at home and then going to Arizona to try and win a conference championship. It just goes to show there aren't any guarantees and you have to continue to be competitive."
ON THE TEAM'S CLOSE LOSSES IN RECENT GAMES (ON THE ROAD, AT HOME AGAINST ARIZONA AND UCLA):
"I think our confidence had been shaken a little. Against UCLA, we just weren't confident, no one seemed to want to shoot and we spent the game trying to drive in against a zone. USC played really well and just flat out beat us. We need to get our confidence back. That confidence comes from your team's mental and physical makeup and having some shots go in along the way. Right now we're playing tough, top-20 teams who are taking away our strengths and that's not the best way to try and get your confidence back."
ON HOW THE TEAM HAS BEEN AFFECTED IN THE PAST WEEK:
"When your schedule falls a certain way, that's what happens. I didn't think we competed that well against USC or shot well against UCLA. We're also a team that's a little banged up right now, with six different guys who have something. Having Justin Davis out is a factor because we've had to rotate our lineup and look for an extra body at that position."
TALKING ABOUT THE DEFENSE THAT OPPOSING TEAMS HAVE EMPLOYED:
"USC's played a lot of zone this season and I think I've probably seen more zone this year among the conference teams than any other. We've seen a lot of matchup defenses as well. In the past, it's usually been great for us when teams go to that kind of defense but not so good for us this season."
DISCUSSING THIS WEEK'S REMATCH AGAINST ARIZONA:
"We have been hurt before against Arizona matchup-wise. I think Luke Walton is a tremendous player and he makes everyone else around him better. It's a difficult matchup for us when we play against them, because then you have guys like Channing Frye and Rick Anderson also contributing. We need to do a better job defensively this time around. That's exactly why they've been so successful this season- they pose matchup problems for people...Our last game against them, we just got out-physicaled. That's been an issue for us all year long. We couldn't get a rebound for about the last three minutes of the game."
ON WHETHER OR NOT THE TEAM HAS LOST SOME CONFIDENCE:
"Everything ultimately becomes my responsibility as the head coach. Guys just have to play their game and not put too much pressure on themselves. I think it also comes back to the individual's personality and players making plays. If you play well, you have a chance to win and that's what our guys have to recognize."
DISCUSSING THE PARITY AND COMPETITION OF THIS YEAR'S CONFERENCE:
"I really don't see a clear cut favorite. At this point, we feel like we need a couple more wins to put ourselves in position to make the postseason but there are probably about four other teams that are in the same boat. You're still going to have to play a good team in the Pac-10 Tournament even if you are the No. 2 or 3 seed. It's just the nature of our conference this season."
ON WHICH CONFERENCE ATHLETE HAS HAD THE BIGGEST IMPACT THIS YEAR:
"There's a lot of guys who are really good. You can go right down the line and pick a player from each team. Ultimately, I think that it would be someone that's been consistent every game and has put up good numbers."
ON THE BENEFIT OF HAVING A SENIOR-LADEN LINEUP:
"It's real important to have good, mature players who give you that stability. Arizona is a different example in that they are a young team, but they've got guys to draw on for some experience. There's no question that keeping players in your program and watching them develop and mature is what will help in the long run, even if they stay on as role players- like a No. 7 or 8 guy."
ON THE PLAYERS HAVING TO DEAL WITH FINALS AT THIS TIME OF THE SEASON:
"It's not that tough yet, but it's hard to know how far the kids are behind with the short quarter. The kids will start to recognize it pretty soon as the conference tournament approaches and the postseason. They'll begin to notice that there is not enough time for writing papers and studying."
ON THE IMPROVED PLAY OF JOE KIRCHOFER:
"Joe's done a good job for us. We had to play him a lot against USC, and he showed he can play and contribute. Whether or not we can continue to play him for 35 minutes, I don't know. You've got to go with what you have and he's been a pretty steady player for our team."