Opening Remarks -
Coming off of a loss at N.C. State, trying to rebound and it doesn't get any easier in this league - going down to Georgia Tech where they haven't lost a game. Matter of fact they beat N.C. State there by 20 points and we lost to N.C. State. So, it's going to be a game where we're going to really have to play at a high level to have a chance of winning. I'm really impressed - top to bottom Georgia Tech has as much talent as any team in this league, it's just that they're lacking a little experience. Other than that, top to bottom and the bench, I think they've got as much talent as anybody in this league.
Damion Grant didn't play against NC State - was that because of the matchups?
It was a matter of matchups. He's still not 100 percent from his ankle injury against Clemson. It wasn't a great game for Damion to play in - and I explained that to him and he understood. But with Georgia Tech having so much size, I'm anticipating Damion playing a considerable amount.
How's Raymond Felton's injury?
His knee is sore, it's the bursitis sac. It probably looks a lot [worse than it is] - it's not cartilage or ligament or anything like that. It's just a bad bruise on his knee. We didn't practice Monday, just watched film and lifted weights. I think a lot of our guys need rest and they'll do what they need to do to get ready for Georgia Tech. I anticipate him hopefully close to 100 percent.
Talk about how David Noel performed in his starting role Sunday -
I thought he did a great job - he won our defensive grading award. He won our offensive rebounding award. And he also made a lot of good plays out there. I was real excited about what he did - a great defender and a great athlete. Can drive the ball really well and is a capable shooter. I think it was good for his confidence, too, and hopefully we'll get him more in the rotation. I anticipate starting Byron against Georgia Tech, along with Jawad, and have David come off the bench. And David can play the 2, 3 or 4 spots for us. With the athletes that Georgia Tech has, David is going to be much needed.
Can you talk about the play of Rashad McCants this season?
When the season starts ... you recruit players, and I know we had talented players - but you don't know until you start practice and start playing games. Rashad got off to an unbelievable start and has been great for us throughout the season. Some guys react differently to the games - they get nervous and don't start well - but that's not Rashad. Rashad's been great - and the bigger the game the better he is. I knew we had talented freshmen, but you don't know just how talented until the lights come on -- and he's been fantastic.
How do you stop a hot shooter in this league?
A good, hard, clean foul [laughing]. Get him thinking about you the next time you're closing out to him. We haven't done that quite frankly, but that's something that you see more in the NBA than in college. But denying the ball - don't let them catch it - is one thing you do. Don't help off a guy, just shadow and faceguard him and keep him from catching the basketball. Those are probably the things you do in general.
And on the flip side, what do you do when you have a hot shooter on your team, like Felton on Sunday?
With Raymond, he had the ball in his hands a lot, so if there's a guy who you feel is hot you call his number more than you usually do. Hopefully if it's a freelance offense your players recognize that and get the ball to him.
Why do you think teams have struggled so much on the road this year and been so much better at home?
One, the ACC has the best homecourt venues in any league. I've been in the Big 12 and the Big East and everybody has a homecourt advantage [in the ACC]. Almost everyone plays in an on-campus facility, except for N.C. State and I guess FSU, but State had 19,000 for the game against us and students were there. Everybody has a great homecourt environment, that makes it tough, energizes the home team, it's a distraction, it affects the outcome of the game. This year there is more parity, so the homecourt comes into play even more. And then there are more young players and this is their first go around - it affects young players more, as older players have been through it.
Speak to the ACC's parity -
There is certainly parity and I think it's as much Duke losing Williams, Dunleavy and Boozer, Maryland lost a lot and the teams that were in the bottom four have gotten better. Clemson is a tough game - they're a good team. Florida State, they've got a talented team and Coach Hamilton is doing a good job. So I think the bottom has gotten stronger and the top has lost some - and the teams at the top will admit that.