Louisville vs. Texas A&M Pregame Quotes
Louisville vs. Texas A&M Pregame Quotes (Round 2)ÂMarch 16, 2007Louisville Head Coach Rick Pitino
Opening statement& We are really excited to be able to be playing in the next round. In all my years of coaching, Texas A&M is one of the most statistically overpowering teams that Ive ever seen. I have not seen a plus 13 team in terms of field goal percentage. If you are going to shoot 48 percent and hold your opponent to 40 percent, you are going to have a great team and a great record. They are almost a plus 13 in three-point field goal percentage and the way they defend it. They are the most overpowering team that Ive seen from a statistical percentage since Ive been coaching in terms of field goal offense, field goal defense, three-point field goal percentage and three-point field goal defense. They also have, after watching all this tape, the best point guard in the nation (Acie Law). He is a great basketball player.
On playing so close to home& It was something I really tried not to talk about before the tournament. We were happy to not have very far to travel, but we dont worry about the crowd positively or negatively. I think where the crowd helps you in certain games is when momentum is going the other way. Sometimes teams can give in and the crowd stops you from giving in. They help you fight. While the crowd was great yesterday it wasnt a necessity because of the run we went on early.
On preparing for Texas A&M with only one day in between games& "I think any young team you coach has it tough preparing with one day in between. Any veteran team you coach would have a major advantage. Our goal is to watch as much film as possible in the next 24 hours and come away with the most information as we can.
On Texas A&M coach Billy Gillispie& Im very impressed with the way he coaches, but I dont know him personally. Our paths have never really crossed while weve been coaching. Im very impressed with his offense, defense and his ability to get his players playing great at both ends of the floor.
On when he knew his team would be an NCAA Tournament caliber team& I think the physical response was when we got healthy. We also turned it around when Terrence Williams and Edgar Sosa started making other players around them better. The third thing was the development of Derrick Caracter. The mental aspect was that I felt we never showed a negative attitude.
Louisville Player Quotes
#3 Juan Palacios, F
On maintaining a positive attitude despite the injuries Louisville has faced& It is a very long season, and you cant get frustrated or discouraged if youre hurt or not playing well. Everything that happens has to be turned into a positive. Because so many of us were hurt, the freshmen have had a chance to step up and gain experience. Now our whole is team is very experienced, so that is one positive that weve taken from this situation.
On the impact of Louisvilles crowd& The crowd doesnt rebound for you or make shots, but it does give you confidence. It helps you play harder, and its good to know that so many people are pulling for you and wanting you to do well.
On Texas A&Ms defense& We have to be very aggressive on offense, because they are going to be one of the most aggressive teams we have played all season. Well need to pick up our intensity to stay matched with theirs.
#4 David Padgett, F/C
On the game tomorrow& It should be a fun game. The further you go in the tournament the more fun it gets. They [Texas A&M] are an extremely good team and they have been ranked in the top 10 all year. It is going to be a fun game and I am looking really forward to it.
On different styles& They are an extremely good team. They play in the Big 12 and they are in the top three in the Big 12. They are just extremely talented and they can play slow or fast. Acie Law is one of the better point guards in the nation and he does a really good job of controlling their team. It is going to be a great game and we are all really excited about it.
On Louisvilles gameplan& We have to do what we have been doing. We are not going to change anything too drastically. We have to do what got us here. We cant come to the tournament and change everything because of one certain team. We just have to keep playing the way we have been playing and see if we can get a win.
#10 Edgar Sosa, G
On the match up with Texas A&M& Texas A&M is a great team with a lot of great players. We are just going to go out there and listen to coach and work hard to defend their plays.
On defending Acie Law& I am looking forward to it. He is a great player and he has a great game but I will just have to defend him as hard as I can. I want to make him go into my big men and get my big men to help.
We are going to try and keep the ball out of Acies hands. We know when he has the ball he creates a lot of opportunities for his players. We just want to keep the ball away from him and let someone else run the show.
#1 Terrence Williams, F
On defending and stopping Acie Law IV& Were not just playing against Acie Law. Were playing against the whole squad. For forty minutes, were going to have to play like we know how to play, going out and play like coach (Rick Pitino) tells us to play. I dont know if it will be difficult or not, but I think were up for the challenge.
On if Texas A&M reminds him of any other teams& Ive only seen them against Texas in double overtime and last night. But I dont know if they remind us of somebody. They remind of us of a lot of teams weve played because theyre a great basketball team and weve played a lot of great teams this year.
On the problems Acie Law presents& Acie Law is a different type of player. Hes the best point guard, I believe, in the country. Itd be hard to stop him, for one person. But the game is not against Law. We cant just game plan for one person, otherwise the game would be one against five. Its the whole team we have to worry about, not just one player.
On keeping a positive attitude during all the injuries& You have to turn everything into a positive and make it into a blessing. When Juan (Palacios) and Derrick (Caracter) got injured, they told us that it wasnt season-ending. So we knew at some point that we would be getting them back. With that said, the guys that were playing, youve got to turn the freshmen into sophomores, make the sophomores mature into young men, have the upperclassmen still lead the way and have everyone follow. And thats just what we did. Everyone came back from injuries.
On Texas A&Ms defense From watching the game yesterday, I think theyll be the most physical team that Ive played while Ive been in college so far. With that being said, youve got to do all the little things, the things the people tend to go away from, to try to compete with them and win the ballgame. They put a lot of pressure on you. How the crowd can spur momentum It does a lot when the crowd is behind you when you score a basket or get a defensive stop. It does a lot, but someone commented that the crowd cant win you the game. You cant really put too much into the crowd helping us win the game. It helps you through the hard times, but the crowd cant score you a basket.
On getting the ball into the post to Derrick Caracter& Its in my mind a lot because I like to get assists, I like for other guys to be happy, to score. So when youve got Derrick Caracter in the low post, I feel like theres nobody thats going to stop him. I feel he stops himself sometimes.
Texas A&M Head Coach Billy Gillispie
Were glad to be back for another day and thats all you try to do in the tournament survive and advance. We were able to do that. Weve got a very, very tough opponent tomorrow and are going to have to play our best to have any kind of chance to win.
On being a No. 3 seed and having to play in Louisvilles home state& Were not worried about any of that stuff. We have played at a lot of places where there was a very hostile environment and Im sure it will be that way tomorrow. Any team thats lucky enough to be in the NCAA Tournament, if you waste your time and energy being concerned about where you are playing and who your opponent is, youre wasting energy that could be focused in a positive direction towards trying to win a game.
On facing Louisville head coach Rick Pitino& Hes a great coach and a soon-to-be Hall of Famer whenever he decides that hes had enough. That will be a long time down the road, hopefully for college basketball. You prepare for their teams. Its fun to watch great teams, like Coach Pitinos teams, and see the way that they find the formula for winning. Its great to watch their schemes and how they recruit and play the games offensively and defensively. Its always a learning experience for an inexperienced head coach like myself.
On the traits of Acie Law that make him able to be strong in clutch situations& Everyone asks about how good Acie is at the end and what makes him that way. The first thing is talent. He has an enormous amount of talent. The next thing that he has an enormous amount of is confidence. Great players like him that have the ability to finish games like he has arent afraid to miss. Hes missed some shots, it doesnt seem like he has and, hopefully, he wont anymore. Hes not afraid to miss. His last shot does not affect his next shot and so his talent with his experience and the amount of confidence that he has is the reason that he has been so good for us all season long.
On the formula he has used to turn around the Texas A&M and UTEP programs& Any time that you have a turnaround and our turnaround is not complete it has to do with two things. You have to have good players to have a turnaround and the next thing you have to do is those players have to possess great character qualities. I have been very fortunate that guys that we have inherited and recruited have really worked hard to develop themselves as individuals, but also as a team. In this situation as well as at UTEP, both the schools were very, very committed to winning.