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On preparations this week:
“We tried to work on everything. We’ve really had a good week. Don’t hold me to this, but we went twice on Monday, twice on Wednesday and once every other day. I think we’ve had some good practices. Everybody’s been really attentive. The days that we’ve gone twice, the mornings have just been a dummy offense and a shooting period for about 30-45 minutes. And then we’ve come back in the evening or late afternoon and really done a nice job. Are we ready to play conference play? We won’t know until we get into it, but I’m pleased with our attention, I’m pleased with our preparation and I’m pleased with our effort. The kids have done a nice job and used this time period without class in an effective manner.”
Has this time off helped John Henson’s thumb?
“I think so. He’s only gotten it whacked one slight time the whole week. So we’re at a point where there’s starting [to be] some healing, which I think is good. We’ve just got to keep it covered a little bit more for a little longer.”
Is there any advantage to starting ACC play on the road?
“I always think it’s an advantage if you play well. I know that’s probably a simple way to answer the question and I didn’t mean to break it down like that, but I don’t mind. You’ve got to play everywhere, so what difference does it make when you play them? That’s the way I’ve always looked at it. It’s never bothered me to go play on the road. I like the challenge of it, the little more emphasis that you can put on it. If you go in with a great attitude, I think it really does help you.”
With this group, have good practices typically translated to good games? Is there a correlation there at all?
“No. Gosh, I’m either losing it, senile or whatever, because I haven’t been able for years whether a good practice means anything or not. I want to do that because I think you build habits. But several years ago at Kansas, I thought it made no difference and then here, I said it does, and then we go to Southern Cal in ’05 or ’06 and we have a great practice. And then we got our butts kicked every which way but sideways. I think you should want to have a good practice all of the time.
“With this bunch, I can’t even tell in the locker room. With Tyler Hansbrough, for example, you could see he was spitting blood and that he was going to play his butt off, but he did that most every night. But this team is a hard team to read.”
On Reggie Bullock:
“We don’t know about the availability of Reggie for tomorrow. Reggie’s grandmother passed away this morning. He was not at practice today. We don’t know what’s going on. You’ll know at game time and there’s not going to be any announcement or anything whatsoever. If he’s there at game time, he’ll play, and if he’s not there at game time, that’s what it will be.”
Listen to Audio (4:35)
What’s been the value of practicing this week with no class?
“It’s been great. I’ve really enjoyed it because I haven’t had to go to class. I come to practice, get done and you can do a little rehab and you can kind of get caught back up just trying to stay healthy. So it’s been nice for that reason, but also, six days is a long time to prepare for somebody, so you really get to see a lot of their sets and personnel.”
On possibly having to replace Reggie Bullock on Saturday:
“Reggie’s a great player. He’s a shooter, he can make plays [and] he can defend, so he’s one of those that will be tough to replace and we’ll miss him, but I’ve got a feeling that one of our other guys will be able to step up and be able to fill that spot.”
Coach said this team was more positive than last year. Do you believe that as well?
“Yeah, and I think some of that is the team chemistry. I think we all get along. Not that we didn’t get along last year, but we just get along really well this year. Everybody is supporting everybody, trying to encourage everybody if someone messes up. We tell them, not that it’s necessarily okay, but that they need to fix it and they’ll get it next time.”