Dec. 10, 2012
Is there any such thing as a moral victory when you look at the BYU game?
"No. I don't think there are any moral victories. The longer time goes on the more it hurts. I was really pleased with our energy and the way our guys battled. It was right there. We watched the film a number of times. But just like always, we get back to the drawing board and try to get better. I think there are a lot of elements we need to get better at. We gave up way too many offensive rebounds, particularly in the second half. We did a good job in the first half of putting bodies on guys and keeping them off the glass and then you get down in front of their bench in the second half and things got a little carried away.
"With the level of physicality, you need to be able to match that when you're a long way from your own bench. They got too many looks, and then I thought a half dozen times or so we tried to force the issue. We took it on our own shoulders to make a play and ended up turning it over and then had a heck of a time defending some of our turnovers, so those were two keys."
Down the stretch did you get the shots you wanted?
"In looking at it a couple of times, we missed open shots. Having said that, we have to get a lot better with our zone offense. In their extended 3-2 zone, our `bigs' needed to work a heck of a lot harder to demand the ball. But if you look at it from their perspective, when they were open in the interior of the defense, we didn't do a very good job getting them ball. So we have to figure out a way to collapse that defense and had we done that, there were plenty of opportunities. You can use the short corner to the high-post pass or use high post to short-corner pass, but it just seemed like we were okay with passing the ball around the perimeter and we didn't put any heat on them. So it was one of those learning experiences against the zone that's going to be big for us this week. We have SMU and Cal State Northridge coming in who play a lot of zone, so we're going to have to get better at it.
Good teams cross the line from hoping to win to expecting to win. Where is your team in that process right now?
"I thought going into that game that a lot would be told by our focus coming out. I think if you get comfortable and you expect to win, you set yourself up for one of those life lessons. So we are always going to have a little bit of an edge to us, thinking we're the underdog. I think there is a little bit of an internal swagger and confidence knowing we have enough talent to do it if can put some of it together.
How are you going to work around finals week and how do you deal with not playing again until the 18th?
"I don't think it will take until the 18th [to get over it]. I'm having a little bit of a hard time today, but it's still eight days until our next game and I've got to get through some things. I enjoyed Sunday with my family, it's not time to be Scrooge with the kids. I was joking with my staff that I just kind of got through Sunday and I'm taking a little harder Monday morning now that I'm back in the work environment. But we're going to be okay, we've got a practice today and we will probably take two single days off over the next eight days to let the guys catch their breath a little bit. But the way I look at it, they have some games this week, they're just in classroom. They are some pretty important times for our guys to get dialed in and put the finishing touches on what has been a pretty good semester to this point. So it's not like they're not being asked to do a lot. That was a big part of having this time off.
"Probably on Thursday or Friday we will have an intra-squad scrimmage where we won't do a whole lot of talking but we will divide up our team and our staff and simulate a game. You have to try to get creative sometimes to break up the monotony of this time of year. It's also important to get a couple of guys physically healthy again. There's enough bumps bruises on some guys that hopefully this time will be good in that respect."
Are there any negatives to having such a long layoff?
"If you look around college basketball, you have to pick a 7-10 day period where you get some time away from games, and it's typically during finals. We were presented with an opportunity to have our 10 days off now or to have our 10 days around Christmas. I think it's really dangerous to do around Christmas because we are giving our guys four days off to begin with. So if you have four days off at home, then six days of practice, then you start league play, I think that's a little bit of a sketchy situation. So we removed the game that would normally be this week and we put it after Christmas to try to break that up. You can never determine how the 10 days goes until it's over.
"You can make it a self-fulfilling prophecy and say `We're going to take this time off and make it a good thing for us'. We've got a lot of guys injured and some guys in finals this week. So there's no reason to make it something it's not, a great chance to sure some things up in practice, relish the opportunity we have to take off and then get ready to go for next Tuesday."
Can you talk about Dallin Bachynski's first half against BYU?
"Dallin had a couple of great games. And I think what happens is that you start talking with the media and all of a sudden you are second on the team in scoring, and then it's no secret at this level that you are going have a little bullseye on your back in terms of keeping that production going. I thought during the Texas swing he put too much heat on himself to make things happen and he saw a lot of double teams. But I met with him last week and told him to relax, come out do what you were doing before, but there are no expectations to put up certain numbers. We love his energy, but he missed a shot at SMU and Texas State to start those games and I think it carried over to the rest of the game. So I think he needs to work on the mentality of getting to the next point, the next play. Let's remember he went on a mission, he's only a sophomore, and he's doing a lot of positive things. I'm excited to work with him today. When I see him play against BYU, there are a number of clips where he's just not down and engaged in a stance. We always talk about being in a stance defensively, and I think it gets forgotten on the offensive end. You have to be down and engaged with your hands ready, and then he will be able to clean some things up. I think we have to get all of our `bigs' to play the game much lower on the offensive end, even on a pick-and-pop. You set a pick and then pop to 15 or 20 feet, we are missing a lot of our shots because we are not down in a stance and sprinting to that spot before you catch he ball. So offensively, I'm excited during this period to work with our `bigs' and shore up some stuff and I think the result will be that it's easier for them end of the day."
A third of the way through the season, are you pleased with what you have?
"I'm pleased with our team. We are really competitive in practice. We've got a couple guys at each position, there's even some guys who aren't getting much of a chance. Some of our freshmen haven't been finding many minutes on the floor, but I'm still really fond of them. There are a couple guys who didn't play against BYU, but there might be a time for them to start getting involved. We might be playing some guys too many minutes. When I look at some of season totals, to really expect our guys to play hard, we may have to add a couple guys to the mix and go in some shorter periods of time. Those guys are doing the job in practice, they're just not doing it under lights in a game environment. It's been great. We've got some different strengths and weaknesses, some skill, some different combinations of guys. It's a good point to get this thing started and build it."
Can you talk about the hostile environment at BYU and how beneficial that can be down the road?
"Last year in our opening league game at Colorado, I thought their crowd was very good, as well as our game at Arizona that went down to the wire a year ago. Arizona leads the league in attendance and CU is doing a nice job in attendance. Beyond that, numbers wise, we are in the top three in the league for attendance. We need to build on that a little bit and obviously part of that is on us to put the product on the floor. But I think our guys are responding well. When you go into an environment like the BYU game if you can't get excited about that, you might need to check into something else. But there is a fine line when you're trying to be geared up and mentally ready. I thought we did good job facing some adversity during the game. There were those six-to-seven-point runs they put on us and could have gotten back into the game earlier, but we were able to make some plays when we needed to. I thought our resilience was pretty good throughout."