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Men's Basketball Press Conference




Head Coach Tubby Smith

Head Coach Tubby Smith
"After a tough loss to Michigan State we came back and reviewed the film. Certainly there are some areas we thought we had some breakdowns but we hope we can address them. We feel that we are so close to putting together a complete game and that loss was a tough loss because we were leading. Michigan State has a great program and that is a tough place to play."

"One of our players, Marvin Stone, has not practiced over the last couple of days. He has some academic concerns that he needs to address. He missed practice Tuesday and Wednesday but should practice today. He should be okay today and for the game."

"Mike Davis has done a good job at Indiana. He did a good job as an assistant coach and he is doing a great job as a head coach. He really has a young team, sort of like us in that we only have one senior and they have no seniors. They play with a lot of heart and they are a tough team. Their inside people are doing an excellent job. Jared Jeffries is having a good year as a freshman, and Jeff Newton is getting a lot of quality time at 6-9, so they can go with a big lineup. They can bring in [Kirk] Haston who is their leading scorer and is 6-10. They can do a lot of different things to you. They have a lot of balance in their scoring and their lineup."

"They are one of the top three-point shooting teams in the country which will be another challenge for us. We will have to try to contain Tom Coverdale because he is an excellent three-point shooter. Their post people are also excellent scorers. We will have to defend the three-point shot, although I felt we did better at that against Michigan State."

"The key to the game is going to be great playing, great post defense, limiting their touches inside, making them play defense and playing our normal game of trying to pressure them. It should be a high scoring game though."

On Marvin Stone: "I hope he will give what he has been giving, and even give more. Because that is what we need him to do, give more; score more, be more aggressive in attacking the basket. He really has improved a lot in defense, he is probably leading us in taking charges and he probably won't take a lot more shots because he is one of those guys that are unselfish with the ball. He is one of the most unselfish players that I coach and really gives the ball up well."

"Indiana is really going to put a lot of pressure on our perimeter and our post players. They can do a lot of different things and they look to score. They are very aggressive."

"Although we are capable of having big three-point shooting nights, we are not a team that is looking for the three-point shots. We do end up taking a few, ones that are open, and we have taken some that we shouldn't take."

"Indiana is very mobile. I don't know if they are smaller, but even their post players are pretty mobile. They can handle the ball and you take Jeffries and Newton, thin, wiry guys-they are very athletic and move around a lot. They go out on the perimeter a lot. So now you talk about Jason [Parker] and Marvin [Stone] or Marquis [Estill] having to go out on the perimeter, which gives the advantage to them."

On Gerald Fitch: "He has practiced extremely well and I see him as a possible starter."

On Cliff Hawkins: "He is back and is practicing well too."

On post-Knight Indiana: "They really get after you and are very aggressive. They are basically a man-to-man team that really denies plays and nothing has changed in that area. They are capable of scoring a lot of points, but it may be like the Michigan State game where both teams were playing great defense and you don't get a lot of chances to score."

On Indiana without Knight: "It's different. Coach Knight is a legend, but changes are going to come. I think it is unfortunate the way the change came about in Indiana but they have done an excellent job replacing Coach Knight with Mike Davis. We know that Coach Knight will be back in the business somewhere because he is a good coach."

"We have had opportunities in the last two games where we did not execute properly and people are taking certain things away so we have to be more creative. You set up a play but the defense may switch so we need to evaluate that immediately and be able to change. The other thing is being able to make that extra pass and create opportunities off the penetration. In both the Georgia Tech game and Michigan State game we needed defensive stops and that is where you create good offense. That is where we have had some breakdown."

On preparing for the different IU team: "We approach each game the same way. Of course, they do things a little bit differently. Their inside play has been pretty impressive, they are shooting more threes, otherwise, we prepare the same way."


#3 J.P. Blevins
#3 J.P. Blevins
On the Indiana game...
"This is a huge game for us. It is always an important game, but this year since we are 3-5 going in it has a double impact. This game is bigger than ever. We can't come out of this game 3-6, that is not acceptable. We need a win. It is very necessary. We know that a loss here will have future implications."

"This game always produces a unique basketball setting. The arena is half blue and half red. I like it, it is a great atmosphere for a basketball game."

On his confidence level...
"I don't feel that my confidence has wavered any. I am ready to play. I will continue to have confidence in my ability. Every time I shoot the ball I think I can make it. The shots will fall for me."

On all their games being close...
"Every game has been close: the UCLA game, the St. John's game, the Penn St. game. This game will most likely be the same. We need to learn to focus on executing down the stretch."

#21 Tayshaun Prince


#21 Tayshaun Prince
On the pressure to win...
"We feel a little pressure to win. We are coming off a loss, but we really do feel good about the way we played. The enthusiasm is there. We are hungry to come out and get a win."

On UK's strength of schedule...
"We have a young team and we feel that we are without a doubt one of the best teams in the nation. We are playing a tough schedule now so we can benefit from it when we start SEC play and when we are playing in March."

On the Indiana game plan...
"I think we can create some match-up problems for them. We need to create turnovers and produce more assists. Defense is really the key, if we play tough and help on the weak side we have a good chance of shutting them down."

"People have been saying that we play to the level of our competition. We need to learn to come out the same way every game. We need to play our style of game and not worry about who we are playing. Every team is out to beat us. If we are up, we need to stay up and put points on the board. We can't have a let down."


#11 Saul Smith
#11 Saul Smith
On the team's spirit...
"It's going very well. We're working hard in practice getting geared up for this big game tomorrow night and it's going to be a pretty big test."

On the magnitude of the Indiana game:
"I think this game is very big. We're putting a lot of emphasis on this game right now because of our situation and our record. We really need to win this game. You don't want to speculate or estimate, but the next three games we really need to have. It starts with today in practice and carries over into the game tomorrow night."

On Marvin Stone's future:
"Because of the amendment we have, we can't really talk about his academics. But I think it is really a stressful situation in his life and it is definitely something that he has been thinking about. Everything is fine with him right now. He is coming to practice and he will be playing tomorrow."

On what to expect from Indiana:
"I really don't know the characteristics of Indiana just yet. I know that they are a great three-point shooting team. They have some big guys that can run. Overall, I think it is going to be a lot different not seeing Coach Knight over on the sidelines. When was the last time Indiana and Kentucky met and he wasn't on the sidelines? I was talking to Mr. Keightly about it and he couldn't remember. I always respected Coach Knight as a man and as a person and as a great coach. It is really sad that he is not going to be there."

#10 Keith Bogans


#10 Keith Bogans
On the importance of winning against Indiana:
"This is a real big game because we are 3-5. We need a big win and this would be a great time to get another win. We don't want to think about beginning conference play at 3-6. We want to go out and get this win. If we get this win, I think we will start rolling along. We have no other choice right now. We have to start winning some games. We know what we need to do in order to win, we just need to be executing those things better."

On the team dealing with pressure:
"I try not to put any pressure on myself or my team. I hope none of my teammates feel that way. We know that there is a sense of urgency for us to win games. It is not about putting pressure on ourselves, it about playing great basketball."

On not seeing Coach Knight on the Indiana sidelines:
"It is going to be weird. I played against Coach Knight last year, but I know they are still a great team without him and they are going to come to play just as hard as they did last year."

On attacking the basket more:
"I have been knocking down my jump shot, so that has been opening up my drive a lot more. I think last year, teams were looking for me to penetrate because I couldn't shoot the jump-shot as well, but now that my shot is falling, it is making it a lot easier for me to drive."


#50 Marquis Estill
#50 Marquis Estill
On the team sticking together through tough times:
"When things aren't going good, it is kind of hard to get up. Everyone on the team needs to do a better job of helping pick people up."

On not getting much playing time against MSU:
"I didn't get to play very much against Michigan State, but Coach Smith knows best. While I was sitting on the sidelines, I was thinking about what I could have done differently in the first half to get a spark going for the team. It is frustrating when you are not out on the floor, but you can't let that bother you. I have to make things happen when I come onto the court."

 

 

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