Pregame Notes & Quotes: Xavier vs. West
Pregame Notes & Quotes: Xavier vs. West VirginiaÂMarch 16, 2007Â
Press Conference #6- West Virginia
Friday, March 16, 2007
Austin Regional 1st&2nd Round
(Opening comments by Head Coach Mike Carey): Were very excited to be here. Were looking forward to our game tomorrow with Xavier. We know theyre a very good basketball team. Weve had an opportunity to get healthy, get rested. Were ready to play and were looking forward to the game.
(On what he will do the same and differently from their last NCAA appearance): We hope we win this time. We didnt win the first game last time. We had a tough draw and drew Ohio State on their home floor. At least its on a neutral floor this time. Coming off the Big East Tournament we backed off a little bit. We had a lot of people that were ill a lot of sickness. People who were banged up, like everybody is [at this point in the season]. So we backed off a little bit. In the middle of the week we picked it up a bit, and then we backed off a bit here. I think well be healthy. I think well be fresh. Were looking forward to playing.
(On how West Virginia finished the season): I thought we started taking care of the basketball better. Our guards started shooting the basketball better. [Junior center] Olayinka Sanni gave us a force inside. Every other night someone else was stepping up and I thought that was the key. Going down the stretch I thought we defended well and rebounded very well. Were the type of team that for five minutes well look like the best team in the country and the next five minutes well look like the worst team in the country. Its going to come down to who can sustain momentum throughout the game.
(On the experience of Xavier): They have a lot of experience. They have a lot of seniors and theyve played a lot of basketball games. Theyre a very good basketball team. Theyre very athletic, they get up and down the floor, and they have a lot of weapons. They penetrate very well. They bang the offensive boards very well. They play very good, aggressive man-to-man most of the time. I see a lot to like between the two teams. I think its going to come down to each team keeping the other off the foul line and taking care of the ball.
(On whether West Virginia can adapt to different styles of basketball): We played a real tough non-conference schedule. We went through the Big East. Weve seen different styles from Villanova -- working the shot clock down to the last second -- to teams that get up and down the floor. We will get up and down the floor, but at times we will try to slow it down a bit, try to get it more under control. It depends on the pace of the game, how were shooting, and what were doing defensively.
(On playing the NCAA Tournament on a neutral court): I think its a lot better when youre not playing the host team. Xavier will have some fans. West Virginia will have some fans. But its not going to be like playing on a home court. I dont think its an advantage to either team. But I think its an advantage to both teams not having to play on the other opponents home court.
Junior center Olayinka Sanni
(On challenges of facing Xavier)
They are very athletic and their team is versatile. They have a post player that is 6-foot-6. I think that is going to be one our challenges to guard her and show our defense. Other than that they are very athletic and have a great team.
(On NCAA Tournament atmosphere)
Im nervous, Im so excited. Its such an honor to be here and represent the state of West Virginia and just to know that we worked hard to get here. Were just excited right now, me and my teammates, were so happy and honored to be here at Texas and have the change to play at the NCAA Tournament for the first time.
Junior forward Chakhia Cole
(On struggling to shoot in the Big East Tournament)
In the last couple of days practice has been more oriented toward shooting and defense so hopefully our guards have gotten out of their shooting slump. Its better there than here so hopefully everybody is prepared.
Xavier head coach Kevin McGuff
First let me start off by saying, Im extremely proud of my team. They played extremely well down the stretch. In particular, Im really happy for our four seniors. They were instrumental in the Atlantic-10 Championships.
West Virginia is an excellent team. They are as good as any team Ive watched this season. They are as talented as any team weve faced and they are well coached. It should be a great game.
(On what defensive style West Virginia will use)
They are a solid defensive team. Mike will do a great job preparing them for tomorrow. What I think they will do is crowd the paint and make it difficult for us to score inside. They get you to stand [in the paint]. Weve got to move the ball before we throw inside and make things happen.
(On whether or not Xavier has faced a team similar to West Virginia)
The team that is most similar to West Virginia is us. Both teams are athletic and emphasize defense. If I had to pick an opponent, I would say Louisville, who West Virginia has played twice this season. They lost a close game in the Big East Tournament. They are very athletic and balanced inside and out.
(On LaQuita Owens play and how Xavier will guard her in the game)
Shes a great player. Shes extremely dangerous. Having watched them on film, shes probably as good a perimeter player as we have seen. When she gets going and is making shots, they are really, really difficult to play against. We have to beat her on the catch and challenge any outside shots that she is going to take.
Suntana Granderson (Senior, Guard)
(On how the Atlantic 10 Tournament will help with preparation for the NCAA Tournament): I think we feel pretty good about going to the tournament. We won three hard games in three days, and practicing this week, I think were pretty much prepared to go out and play. (On facing West Virginia in the first round): Theyve got three people who average in double figures. Theyve got a pretty good inside-out game, coming off a lot of screens, shooting a lot of threes.
So we got to try to be there on the catch, and hopefully Amber (Harris) and DeAnna (Mason) can contain them going down low and not let them get easy shots under the bucket. And us as guards weve got to do our job, too, on the outside.
Amber Harris (Freshman, Forward)
(On West Virginia): I know theyre a good rebounding team, and they like to run in transition.
-- Courtesy Texas