"Yes, we've been working on the zone defense. Yesterday we worked on it. We're going to work on it awfully hard today too. I think it was time to work on it. They do play it. It's really a good defense. Jimmy (Boeheim) recruits to that defense somewhat. He still likes guys that can shoot the ball and all that, but the long athlete that can close on people like football coaches talk about defensive backs. That's the kind of athlete he likes to have and they do a great job of covering you and making it very difficult for you to get shots. The other thing is that people don't realize how aggressive it is. We try to steal the ball. We don't do a very good job of it this year. Our turnover margin is 2.2. They play a zone defense and their turnover margin is like plus six. We did practice it and working against it yesterday but we can't simulate in a practice what they have because we don't have those kind of guys on our Blue Show team. We're going to work on it some more again today. He (Boeheim) finally came out this year and said 'I'm not playing man-to-man' because he's always before said that he plays a little man-to-man and they have. He came out this year and said we're not playing man-to-man and if I could get my club to play zone defense like that then I would never play man-to-man either especially with the rules that we have now."
Is the key to beating the zone solely about making outside shots?
"I think you've got to have a little balance. You've got to be able to get it inside because if you're just trying to make outside shots then they just extend it even more. Instead of shooting from your three-point line you're shooting from the NBA three-point line and then you're shooting from somebody else's three-point line and then you're shooting from half court. I still think you've got to have good balance. A hundred years ago when we played them in my last game at Kansas, we played them in the finals and had a great game offensively. They still won the game but we shot a great percentage against it and got to the free throw line. Then we've had other games where we have been terrible against it. I think one of those terrible games were I'm guessing the Preseason NIT. It was a tournament in New York and they really just frustrated us badly up there."
Is there any sort of comfort level with your team due to the amount of success
you've had against top teams this season?
"No. I can't speak for 18-, 19-, 20-year-olds but it's certainly not a comfort level for the 63-year-old. Who knows what goes on in their mind. I think this is a different team. They do play zone. Michigan State, Louisville and Kentucky, I thought when we played them those were really good teams. We caught them on a night when they didn't play as well and we played very well. I would hope that would happen again."
Thoughts on referring to the Miami loss as a mental low point on Wednesday night:
"It's a combination. You guys know it hasn't been the most pleasant time period in my life the last seven or eight months. Our kids are feeling a lot of stress. Around here if you lose a couple of games people think you jump off the top of the building kind of thing. It was a low point, there's no question about that. I can tell you that after I said that I did regret it but I sure as heck didn't go home and list out all the low points and figure out where the hell that landed on the scale. I tried to see if I could go to sleep or do something else. It didn't feel very good."
What do you do personally to relieve the stress and pressure and come back to
work each day?
"Personally, I do it because I've got to come back to work. I don't care what happens. One of my favorite statements any player has ever made was Deon Thompson. Deon, after his senior year in 2010, said 'Everybody was about ready to pack it in and Coach Williams came to work everyday and tried to convince us that we could turn this thing around.' I feel like that's the way I'm going to do this. I'm going to come to work everyday. You go home and you're mad - and I don't have a dog or a cat and I don't kick Wanda for sure you - just go home and put it behind you and come back the next day and try to do the best that you can at practice. That's the way I've been my entire life. You can't worry about the other stuff to let you know what you're going to do next."
Comments on Marcus Paige's recent struggles:
"I may have said this but after the Wake Forest game I said, 'Did I play you too many minutes and have I been playing you too many minutes or is your stamina breaking up or are you just having a bad game?' He said 'No, coach I just had a terrible game.' He's just so accountable but as a coach you're looking for things that might be a problem. We had a talk again after the game the other night and I think it's just that he needs some help. He needs somebody else to do some things from the perimeter so they don't focus everything on him but that's the way it's been forever. Harrison (Barnes) was a lot better when Reggie (Bullock) was making shots. Reggie was a lot better when P.J. (Hairston) was making shots. Tyler (Zeller) was a lot better when John Henson was doing things. We do need to help him. Those other guys need to step up. I'm concerned about it, you darn right. It's the biggest concern that I have."
Who is the second option behind Paige from a scoring standpoint?
"Anybody that makes it. I don't say you've got to make shots or you've got to make shots. It's not just make outside shots. We've got to get guys to put the ball in the basket a little bit more so the defense can't be aimed just at Marcus."