Do you feel like you've tightened the rotation over the past several games and is that intentional or just how it's working in the flow of the game?
"I guess I'm hesitating because I don't really see it like that but I wouldn't disagree because I don't look at all the numbers. I don't really crunch them or anything like that. The type of games dictates it a little bit. Maryland the other night, think about their lineup, they went really small for a long time. North Carolina State went really small for a long time. I think that probably has more to do with it than anything else.
"But again, I haven't looked at those minutes played or anything like that. T.J. Warren spent a lot of time at the four with only one big guy. Maryland's big guys were in foul trouble. They had three pure guards out there and two forwards so I would tend to think it's more of that because I haven't consciously done it. I can tell you that."
Have you reached a point in the season where your team is where it is for the season or is there more room for improvement moving forward?
"I think so, but you still hope that you can get better but there's no question about that. I don't think you'll see some drastic changes in us. I can't speak for all the other teams but we do believe we can get better. I said earlier in the year that I thought our team would get better and better as the season went along. I said that last year and it did but it was a pretty drastic change in the middle of the season.
"This year it hasn't been any drastic change. It's just that we have gotten better. We had a lot of things that were unsettled early and I think that had more of an effect than I thought it did at that time. I think what you see is what you get but in my mind, we're just halfway through the season so we can get a heck of a lot better and we can flip a lot of things to the positive side. I guess it was just a couple of years ago, we lose our first conference road game and win seven road games in a row and that was a little earlier than halfway through. I think there's something to that but I'm also one of those guys who thinks we can get a lot better."
Is there anyway to range Marcus Paige's basketball IQ on the court and being able to recognize Maryland's defense Tuesday night?
"Every point guard should do that. We have a drill, it's called recognition drill. You've got to recognize what the blankety blank is going on, on the other end. I ask all five guys to know what it is but the point guard should do that all the time and I sort of thought right off the bat that they might do something like that. That type of press was not a full court press, it was only one guy on your side of the ten second line so we have a different offense that we run against that so that's what he was calling.
"He's very intelligent. He understands the game. He knows what each and every player is doing on the court. He's way up there in the categories of most intelligent point guards with savvy and understanding that if you're going to dribble one way and you want one guy to get the down screen behind you then you should go away from the best shooter. He does that just about all the time and we talk about it a little bit. The good thing about Marcus is that I only have to tell him once and then he understands it and you don't have to tell him more."
What has the starting lineup employed of late been able to do to be so successful?
"Scored more points is what I really like. Again, it all started when we had three or four different opinions ourselves and it happened to work. Other guys are still playing a lot. We really are still playing several people. Kennedy (Meeks) started the other night but down the stretch, the whole second half I went with Brice (Johnson). Kennedy didn't play very many minutes but I like the fact that it does give us a little more scoring punch.
"Kennedy's been our best true inside low post scorer. Leslie (McDonald) has an ability to shoot the ball so it gives us another shooter on the perimeter. Kennedy's working better defensively and working harder. Brice is working harder defensively so hopefully they'll get it up there. I've told everybody you shouldn't want a coach who won't play you because you don't play defense. That's the sorriest date to have so you don't want to be in that category."
Is it a challenge to prepare for new ACC opponents like Notre Dame without the familiarity with the team?
"Well I think it's a little more because you're preparing for 14 other teams instead of seven or eight or nine or whatever we've had. It's a little more work for your assistants because they're more teams you expect them to know everything about. If you're playing somebody non-conference you know they're not going to know everything about. At this time of the year, you've got at your beckoned call with the games on TV now you can watch 10 games.
"When you're playing Michigan State at the beginning of the year you may have two games to look at but when you get into conference play you've really got a lot of games you can look at. We go to Syracuse and play a 12-noon game and now we're going to Notre Dame and playing 12. It wasn't nearly as cold in Syracuse as everyone thought it would be but it looks like it's pretty doggone cold up there so that's a big difference for us."