Feb. 22, 2013
LOGAN, Utah -
"As I told our players, obviously this is a situation for us where we always, scheduling-wise, tried to get Missouri Valley teams to play home-and-home whenever possible. We have only been able to get a few of those kind of games. Scheduling is tough for everybody. We are well aware that since we have been in the WAC, we know that a Missouri Valley opponent is a quality opponent, and going into the season, Illinois State was one of the favorites in the Valley. We obviously were one of the favorites in the WAC. I watch them play and feel like they are very capable of winning that league, winning the tournament, whatever you want to say. They are plenty capable of beating anybody in the Valley any given night. We are playing competitive with all of our injuries, trying to get a little better as we go with what we are dealing with. So, it I expect it will be a good game. Watching them on film, obviously they've got many weapons, and they do a good job getting the ball to (Jackie) Carmichael and getting (Tyler) Brown shots, utilizing their personnel. So, we are just trying to get ready for all the different looks that they give you."
On how Carmichael and Brown complement each other on the court as a one-two punch:
"Well they certainly complement each other in terms of spacing the floor. Carmichael, he is like guarding a very active four player in a sense because he can go by you on the dribble, he can shoot face-up jumpers; he can post it low, he is just a very versatile guy. Tyler Brown can change the complexion of the game with his ability to get on a roll and make a bunch of shots in a hurry. They are both really good players, obviously, you look at their stats and can see that. There are not everything they've got, spacing four players that can stretch your defense because they can both shoot threes in (John) Wilkins and (Jon) Ekey. They've got point guards that do their job, and you know run the team and try to get the guys the ball in the right area. So, I like what I see of their team, they're a good basketball team."
On initial reaction to injuries to Preston Medlin and Kyisean Reed, adjusting and settling in to shortened roster:
"It was kind of a shock, all of a sudden you are without your first-team all-league player, averaging 20 in conference, and your only senior who is your best athlete in Preston Medlin and Kyisean Reed. That was a shock to the system. We were obviously scrambling to try and figure out how we were going to play without them. The first weekend at home we competed hard, we just had a really hard time scoring and that is what has kind of come around for us a little bit, is we have figured out where we can get some points. The thing that has been consistent is that we have played very hard, I have said on a number of occasions that I am pleased with how hard our team has played and hopefully we will keep that going until the end of the season. We have grown a little bit offensively, we were able to go out on the road and win three league games by playing really hard and our offense getting a little better. So that is probably where we have settled in the most is offensively.
On using non-conference games to experiment with adjustments to roster:
"We can't experiment a whole lot, we have eight guys. So there is no experiment going on, on this end. We stepped out of conference this week with BYU and Illinois State and that is the way that we are viewing it, is just kind of a pause from conference and a challenge in both games and we will get back to conference play next week."
On addressing free throw and turnover issues:
"Try not to turn it over and try to make some free throws. You don't sit and dwell on it and address it because sometimes that just complicates your problems. We keep track of turnovers everyday in practice, we run for turnovers at the end of practice; we shoot lots of free throws. That is all you can really do, just try to get better in the areas that you are struggling in."
On improving in practice habits:
"We have done a good job practicing, when your team is playing about as hard as they can play, practices are short and you are trying to take days off whenever possible because you have eight guys, because it is the end of February. It is not the same as two and half hour practices where you are concerned about learning how to play hard. We have done a pretty good job there, so for the most part practice has been pretty solid."
On comparing Illinois State's Jackie Carmichael to BYU's Brandon Davies being similar but more of a face-up shooter:
"Davies has the ability to face up too, I would say that Carmichael can stretch you a little bit further and they also post Carmicheal. Davies to me is a five that can shoot it and faces up some. He is really a guy that fakes a lot and spins a lot, while Carmichael is like guarding an active four that can post up. So to me that is the difference, he is just a good post player that can do a lot of different things and they get him the ball a ton and they should for as well as he is playing."
On how the team has reacted and kept positive following losses:
"They have been good, they were good yesterday. We took a day off after the BYU game and they came back ready to practice, they were in good spirits. They have been able to do what we talk about a lot, just try to move to the next game. We keep talking about just trying to get better, working towards getting better towards the end of the year and towards the conference tournament. We are trying to compete in every game, and see if we can find a way to win some. They have been solid along those lines and hopefully that will continue."
On Spencer Butterfield's continued leadership and improvement:
"Spencer (Butterfield) is doing a good job. He is playing really hard, which he always does. He has taken on a little more of the scoring load and obviously is a really good rebounder, he is a positive guy with his teammates so he is providing leadership. I think they all are trying to provide some leadership because there are not very many of them and they are all just trying to pull together. He is one of several who is doing a good job along those lines."
On thoughts playing a Missouri Valley Conference team and scheduling issues with trying to play a team from the conference:
"I don't look at it that way. I just look at it as a good home-and-home series that have been tough for us to get throughout the years. We have had some success and obviously our home court has been solid. You know we have lost a few more the last couple years that we liked to, but I think that is why it has been a scheduling issue. Scheduling right now is hard for everybody, so I think when you can get similar conferences to play each other, and the WAC a few years ago was on the same level as the Valley. I am not sure it quite is at this point. The Valley is really up right now. But, good home-and-home series are very positive, I think, and view it as one of those kind of deals. Now, I won't be really excited when I have to return. It is always better when you get them at home, but it is hard travel for both teams, and all of that. And that is probably why we haven't been able to schedule as many against the Valley. I have great respect for that league, you know I compare it, very solidly, with the Mountain West. The Mountain West is way up right now, and maybe a little stronger that the Valley this year. We are going into the Mountain West next year, and I think year in and year out the two leagues are very comparable."
On lamenting about BracketBusters ending:
"BracketBusters have been good to us. I understand why it is coming to an end. It's served its purpose from our perspective a lot. We have had some games that have helped us get at-large berths. I know a lot of teams, when they haven't gotten TV games and it just feels like an odd timing game out of conference, they haven't seen it as a real good deal. But for us, for the most part, we have had good opponents. Most of the time they have been TV games; this one very easily could be. I wasn't a guy that thought BracketBusters was going to be a good deal, but I was wrong. It has been very positive for us."
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