and have trouble with Minnesota at home last Saturday. Surprise, the Cats lost in OT to the Nitanny Lions, but blew out the Golden Gophers. NU's protection of its home court has been widely discussed; most recently by the ESPN broadcast crew. According to NU Sports, the Cats are 25-12 at home [and 9-9 in the Big 10 at home] since the start of the 2001-02 season.
NU Coach Bill Carmody held his weekly media session on the Big 10 Teleconference Monday afternoon. Here are his opening remarks:
We're coming off a win from Minnesota, which we needed badly after a loss at Penn State in overtime.At the beginning of the season you seemed discouraged about your team and how they were going to do, but it seems they're playing pretty well. How do you view the team now?
Ohio State had a heck of a win on the road against Purdue on Saturday and we're just preparing to play them.
They've been up and down a little bit and they didn't play that way the other day -- they jumped right out and 16-3 and then they were down 3 or 4 and were tough enough to hang in there and come back and win on the road.
Its always a well prepared team and so we're going to have to see if we can win one on the road.
I'm a little pessimistic by nature [don't we know that]... we're having some good stretches but we're not playing as well as we can. You know we got a kid back, Ivan Tolic, who hadn't played at all last year and he's playing 12 or 15 minutes a game -- a big kid inside -- you know he's helped us but we're still not healthy, really.Is Ohio State suddenly playing with more "toughness?" and can you tell that from watching tape?
We need another guy, we only have 7 or 8 guys on scholarship right now ... it makes it hard. But having said that, we're going through some stretches where we're playing pretty well but then other times when we're just very average ... its the ups and downs of this coaching are unbelievable.
But I guess I'm feeling a little better just because we're winning a couple of games and I was feeling maybe 6 weeks ago and 2 months ago.
I'm not positive of that, I'm sure Jim [Obrien] can tell you what he thought, but I know that from the results that if you have a big lead and then the other team catches up and I think they were down 4 at about 2 minutes to go or so and something like that and then a kid hits the big shot out of the corner and there's a nice play, you know that dunk there, and they mangaged to win it.What do you like about Ohio State right now?
There's some resiliency there. I don't know if Jim and his staff think its enough or if its a onetime thing but it certainly -- all coaches around our league are talking about that "toughness," probably around the country so you're looking for signs they're exhibiting that toughness and hope it can sort of build and snowball and then you have something.
They're pretty much doing the same things they've always done offensively and defensively and I just think they've got a couple of newer guys there, transfers , and maybe they're just figuring out, it takes a while .So its NU vs the Buckeyes on the road on Football Signing Day. We'll be in Evanston for the press conference, but watch for our notes and postgame quotes Thursday morning...
As I said, they're doing the same things and now they're executing OK but as Dan said, before this, you've got to put the ball in the basket sometimes. No matter what offense you run, the flex, the swing, at the end of it somebody's always open...and you have to knock down the shot.
The teams that are good usually do that and the teams that are OK do it some of the time. The teams that aren't doing so well usually miss. If they make shots, I think they're playing hard, then you have a good chance toward the end of a game of winning.
Beat 'em All!
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