The NU Wildcats start the week 10-11overall and 3-6 in the Big 10 with Minnesota and Iowa on the road...
BC: You know we got a win on Saturday here against Purdue. We got a nice lead and then the guys didn't make it very easy for themselves. Purdue just hung in there and kept coming back but we got the win.Next up is Minnesota - we'll have your Pregame Intel tomorrow morning
Now we're traveling and playing Minnesota. I know Illinois is the story of the year in this league and in the country, but I'll tell you that turn around for Minnesota has been just unbelievable, and certainly unexpected. So its a tribute to the whole staff there.
We have to go on the road. We haven't won a game on the road all year, so we have two chances this week and I liked some of the things we did.
At least we came out and played aggressively against Purdue and hopefully we can continue that when we go to Minnesota.
NU did a good job containing Carl Landry Saturday. Landry said it was a confusing defense, involving two players in a zone. What did the players do to make that defense successful?
BC: He's a very good player, and when he gets the ball, my assistant coach Craig Robinson said that he's probably the best offensive player in the league and he can hurt you in a lot of different ways so we just have to try to limit the touches he gets and so, when they were trying to feed the ball in from the sides or the top, we just basically tried to double team him before he got the ball.
Whatever came of that , however that opens you up for other things, we said we don't want him to be the guy to beat us. And we were fortunate, he got in a little foul trouble, he turned it over in the first half a lot, so they didn't get a chance to get into their offense much, and if they had, who knows.
So, you have to be lucky, you have to be fortunate, and we were on Saturday.
Is one of Purdue's problems that they don't have another player who can step up an beat you the way Landry can?
BC: You've got to be careful of Teague, no question about that, he's been a little streaky, but he's making over 2 3s a game so you have to be careful doubling off of him, I think, (but) for the most part I think you're probably right.
McNight only makes one 3 a game and usually when they throw it back out to him he's usually coming back at you, so I think you can pack in there a little bit.
But they do have four guys in double figures and I think its probably true of most teams, except for the ones who are at the top of the conference, that if you take away the best player, usually you're in contention in the last five minutes.
Could you talk a little bit about T.J. Parker?
BC: Well, T.J., he should be getting 16 or 18 every game, to tell you the truth, and we've sort of challenged him to start, not just offensively, but defensively. You know he's a pretty fast kid and should be a real pain in the neck guarding guys and keeping his body in front of guys.
He played a lot of soccer growing up so he doesn't like to use his hands that much so trying to get him to get his hands on baskets, you know on passes, just do what guards should do - try to disrupt the opposing team's offense.
He's actually shot the ball fairly well from long range in the Big 10 and I think along with Mike Jenkins coming in there now and sort of taking away some of his point guard responsibilities, initiating the offense and stuff, I think that's opened him up a bit just to be more offensive minded.
What are some differences this year in the way Minnesota plays defense? Is there one player who is the key, or is it just the way they play it?
BC: I think Dan's probably, I mean, he knows.
But last year was the first year where I didn't think it was that effective, its like a 1-2-2, a little over a half court trap.
Two years ago, who was the big lefty they had in the middle there, he played in the front? 6-8 kid? He was a terror on that 2 years ago, I forget the name on that kid, the center, he was very active - I mean, it was very difficult to break.
So he's played that same defense ... since as long as I can remember, but last year was about the only year it wasn't that effective as it had been and I think that was it because he had some slower guys there. Now he's got good basketball players who are also pretty athletic and it makes an awful lot of difference just in covering ground.
How surprised are you that Minnesota has been about to take a team of new players and make them click? How difficult is that?
BC: Its just a tribute to the great staff and all the players because I can't remember, but they were probably picked last or second to last, third to last, down at the bottom and to do what they've been doing.
I knew when they won at Nebraska early in the year, its a tough place to play and they won there and they've just been, you know, there's a lot of excitement there, their guys work hard, they share the ball, they're fun to watch and its not easy but, the staff has managed to do it along with the team because its fun - I'm trying to do that same thing and Dan's beat me to it.
What is Mike Thompson's status for the game Wednesday?
BC: I don't know - its a sprained foot, and my guess is that he will not play, its not on any new information or anything, but just the way he couldn't walk at all on Saturday night and I doubt he'll be able to play on Wednesday, but we'll see.
There's no stress fracture so, basically, what they say is soft tissues, its just bruised, and we'll just have to see where it is. Each day, will be, we'll have to find out and today a practice I'll have a better idea because its been about 4 days since he injured it on Thursday night I guess and maybe its subsided a little bit - the pain.
Beat 'em All!
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