Opening remarks –
We’ve been saying for the last month that our team is playing much better. There are obviously a lot of good teams around the country. We just hope that we give ourselves a chance to play against those best teams. I feel very confident about how this team is playing. We had a hiccup at Virginia, up seven with 3:41 to go and they made some plays and we didn’t. But that didn’t take away from the effort that we put out there. If you read Dave Leitao’s comments after that game, he felt like his team was dominated but they were able to pull it out. We did a good job closing this game out - we made our free throws, rebounded and took care of the ball. We got a win those kids definitely deserved. They earned that win. They did a great job.
Roy Williams says if Tech’s not in the NCAA Tournament something is wrong.
I appreciate his comments, but we feel like we’ve got more work to do because of the whole we dug for ourselves. But I do stand by what I say - I do feel that we’re playing as well as anybody out there right now. And I don’t say that if I don’t think it’s true. I’ve been saying for the last month, Just give yourselves a chance to get to that Tournament and let’s see what happens. This was a big step in that direction, but we’ve got to follow it up with a good game Sunday. We’ve got to. We can’t afford any slip-ups now because we’ve left ourselves no margin for error.
On the play of Thaddeus Young -
He’s getting more and more aggressive. He’s an unselfish basketball player in an age where everybody thinks me me me, and he’s getting criticized for it. By some of the national people who don’t even watch us and don’t understand how good this kid is, and how good a teammate he is. He’s averaging almost 14 points a game, almost five rebounds, and he’s as unselfish as there is. Do I want him to shoot more? Absolutely. But I love his game. He’s a terrific player.
The rebounding thing is a big issue for us. When we lost games earlier, we lost them because we didn’t block out. We have been setting some lofty goals in terms of our defensive rebounding over this last month. As long as we stick to those goals and really make an effort to clean up the boards, then we’ll be pretty good. The fouls? We don’t have any other way to play. We have to play tough, physical defense, and if they call fouls on us, they’re going to call fouls on. We’re not going to finesse people, and I’m definitely not going to out-coach anybody, so we’ve got to get after it. I like the fact that we’re getting after it. We’ve re-established ourselves after playing for a year and a half like something that I didn’t recognize.