Pregame Notes & Quotes: UNLV vs. WisconsinMarch 17, 2007

Head Coach Lon Kruger:
Opening Statement:
We just did a walk-through for Wisconsin. I obviously feel very good about the opportunity to still be playing. I thought Georgia Tech was a very good basketball team and Coach Hewitt always does a great job. It was a game that could have gone either way. Im really proud of our guys for stepping up there late and hanging in there defensively all day, given a day that we didnt shoot the ball for a very good percentage and finding a way to win in the end. Wisconsin is a ball club that is outstanding. Coach Ryan, of course, has been No. 1 in the country this year at times. They played a Big Ten schedule, very, very tough defensively. (Alando) Tucker is just a terrific player and you have to give him just a little extra attention. Hes got so many good players around him and you have to be careful not to cross that line. As he did in the second half yesterday and against Purdue and as hes done so many times, he gets hot and gets them right back in the ballgame and they win in the end. Im looking forward to the game, realizing how tough its going to be.

On the Wisconsin program, as the coach of Illinois and now:
The similarities are many in that they are very sound fundamentally, great team awareness, both offensively and defensively. They know what they want out of their possession. Every trip, offensively and defensively, you can just see the organization and the theme of the program throughout the course of the game, whether it be Coach Bennett or Coach Ryan. Both are outstanding and have had great results. The similarities are many in those ways.

On Wendell Whites injury:
Hes sore today, but I think hell be fine by tomorrow. I think if he had to line up and play today he could, but that extra 24 hours will certainly help in decreasing the soreness by tomorrow.

On coaching his son (Kevin Kruger):
Its been great. Having Kevin there is a blessing that we dont take for granted. The opportunity to spend time together every day that we wouldnt have had had he not been there. We maybe spent four or five days together on the year with him not being in our program, and maybe watched two or three games in person. Im able to work with him every day in practice and be at all the games. Its a big bonus. Its worked out very well. I think its been very comfortable for him, and his teammates have been great. They knew each other very well, having spent time together when Kevin would come home from Tempe in the summertime. I think that helped in the transition. But its been great, and Id like to continue it as long as we can.

On the play of Michael Umeh:
Its been really, really good to see him play like hes played. The last three or four ballgames hes really played well, hes shot well and hes done things like he had done them a couple of years ago. Even the five or six ballgames prior that, he was starting to get back his athletic balance, his activity and he maybe wasnt making shots consistently, but he was getting back to the player that he was couple of years ago. We even talked about if Mike continues that if we could get him on a little bit of a role, thats an additional weapon that we havent had because of the injury. Hes kind of done that. His confidence right now is very high and hes shooting the ball well.


Kevin Kruger
On moving all over the country as a child for his fathers jobs:
Looking back, Im glad I got to do that. Ive lived in Texas, the Midwest, the South, the North and the Southwest for college. Ive got friends all over the country. As a seven or 13-year-old, you dont understand the decisions parents make, like going to bed at 10 p.m. or no chocolate. They were things my dad thought were good for our family and he was the one that provided for us. Im grateful for that.

On what he heard in the stands about his dad as a child:
I remember a couple of things from growing up. I probably learned things and words younger than most kids. Its still uncomfortable when you hear it now. But theres no better feeling than hearing those things and then watching them walk up the steps after their team lost.

On whether hes considered coaching:
Ive thought about it. Its not a door that I would close, but right now Im concentrating on the tournament and on finishing school. Hopefully when thats done, more than one door will be open for me.

On what hes done in the past to get over bad shooting games:
I still remember a bad shooting game from my freshman year. I just want to get a lot of shots in today. I dont make any if I dont shoot any. Hopefully I dont go 1-for-8 again. If I do, Ill blame you.

On the similarities to Wisconsins team this year and the 2000 team:
I know they were seen as the underdog. Theres not much change from the Dick Bennett era to the Bo Ryan era from what Ive seen, but I dont follow them too closely. Both are defensive minded and oriented. They seem very similar.

Wendell White
On his injury:
My ribs are good. I couldnt sleep on my side. Other than that, Im feeling good about tomorrow.

On Wisconsin:
I expect a physical game. Wisconsin wants to control the tempo. We have our hands full with (Alando) Tucker and (Kammron) Taylor. They have a lot of big guys inside. Well need to be more physical on the boards. They come from a great conference.

On Kevins similarities to Coach Kruger:
Kevin is our leader, but so is Coach Kruger. Kevin is like Lon. On the court, I see Coach Kruger standing next to me. Its been a fun ride.

Michael Umeh
On Wisconsin:
I expect a real physical game. Theyve been a Top-5 team all year.

On the difficulty teams have defending UNLVs four-guard system:
The speed of our team, especially with Wendell, presents lots of mismatch opportunities for us.

On his knee injuries:
It started after my sophomore year. I had chronic tendonitis. It was flaring up all the time and kept bothering me. I got an MRI on both and then had surgery on both. Rehab was intense. There were lots of ups and downs. One day was good, one day was bad and the next day was worse. It got better as time progressed.

On Kevins similarities to Coach Kruger:
Its been fun to watch. Sometimes theyre standing next to each other making the same face. Everyone responds to the chemistry that they have.

Wink Adams
On Texas A&M - Corpus Christi Coach Ronnie Arrow picking UNLV to beat Wisconsin:
I didnt know that. It feels good him believing in us. Wisconsin is going to come at us. Hopefully well come out with the victory.

On what his team expects from him:
I know my team depends on me to contain point guards. I play off Wendell (White) and Joel (Anthony) the most. Kevins our leader, so I listen to what he tells me to do.

On Kevins similarities to Coach Kruger:
I think Kevin would be similar to Coach Kruger. I think Kevin would be a great coach.

-- Courtesy Big Ten