Tubby Smith Friday Quotes

With the Tar Heels coming to Rupp Arena tomorrow, Kentucky head coach Tubby Smith addressed the media on Friday ...

On the North Carolina game…
"It's always fun to compete this time of the year. It's a fun time and an exciting time for all basketball fans around the country and we've certainly got the best fans in the world. I think our kids look forward to competing against teams of the stature of North Carolina with all of its great prestige and the success that they've had as the defending national champions. Coach Roy Williams and his staff are people I've known for a long time. Assistant coach Joe Holladay's son and my son competed against each other out in Tulsa. There are a lot of special relationships in this matchup, not to mention the players that compete against each other throughout their scholastic careers, so it's a special time."

"This is another opportunity for us to kind of measure where we are and just see where we are as far as our development is concerned. We've got a lot of things we've been working on in practice. After evaluating the game against High Point and spending some time looking at film, we didn't play that poorly other than guarding the dribble. That was our biggest challenge, but High Point was a pretty good team. They had some pretty good athletes."

On North Carolina's size…
"We'll have our hands full against North Carolina. They're a team that's bigger than us at just about every position. Even though they start three freshmen, they also start a junior and a senior, so they're not that far away from the way our lineup's been. We've had a very veteran team over the last couple of years and we have a younger team this year. Even though we are starting two seniors in Ravi Moss and Patrick Sparks, we're still relatively young as far as experience on the court. This is a game that we'll have to do a better job of containing their penetration and stopping their transition baskets which they're noted for. They're averaging about 85 points per game so we need to figure out a way to either slow them down or score more points. That's something we've tried to do a better job of and really haven't been as successful as we would like as far as putting points on the board. We're passing and we're missing a lot of opportunities in transition as well as at the free throw line. We're not converting and not making our shots at a high enough percentage."

On playing an earlier game…
"It is an early game tomorrow and the preparation for a game like this is usually different. With a night game, we have all day to prepare and rest and obviously that's not the case with the earlier games. That may be good. The sooner a game like this comes, may be the better. North Carolina has some impressive stats and I'm very impressed with the way they've been playing. They had a tough loss to very good Illinois team, but they're a talented team that will beat us if we're not ready to play.

On Joe Crawford…
"Joe Crawford won't play tomorrow. His MRI came up negative but he has a bone bruise on his knee and something wrong with that hip pointer that's hampered his mobility. He shot the ball well in practice the last few days but he wasn't able to push off and move like her normally does. That's a real setback that we don't have a guy that can match up with Reyshawn Terry and David Noel. That's where we get in trouble when we're starting Bobby Perry at the four spot and if we start Reklain Sims at the five, we give away a lot of size. That's been our real dilemma not just this year but last year as well. That's why we've got to have one of our big men step up. Lukasz Orbzut showed some promise the other night so he may get the nod there at center knowing that we're going up against such a big front line."

On North Carolina's system…
"They've got a system. They've run it for years. Roy Williams has been successful certainly at Kansas and last year at North Carolina. They're just growing up and getting game experience. They're trying to teach and coach their kids to play within their style and they have a style that's very specific. They're still pushing the ball and attacking in transition. They're trapping you in their half-court sets whether it's off a dribble or a pick-and-roll. If you try to screen on the ball, they usually try to trap or they might run and jump. They're doing those same things that they normally do.

On controlling the tempo…
"I don't know if we can control the tempo. That's going to be the big key to this game. Hopefully, we can take advantage of our quickness in the front court. I think if we have a smaller lineup going up against bigger people, we might feel like we have an advantage there. Then again, you're going up against the size and they're very good at what they do which is push the ball up the court. We've had issues with transition defense whether we're playing against a smaller lineup or a taller lineup and whether we're starting a smaller lineup or a taller lineup. The tempo is really just who's in control and who's getting the shots they want. The team that makes the least amount of mistakes is usually going to have the best opportunity to win so if we can force more turnovers and eliminate mistakes, we can put ourselves in a position to win."

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