Florida State-Wisconsin Quotes
March 19, 2009
FLORIDA STATE QUOTES
THE MODERATOR: We'll get started with questions for the Florida State student athletes.
Q. All three of you have been the leaders all year trying to help these new guys get accustomed to ACC basketball. Obviously none of you three guys have ever played in a NCAA tournament game. What kind of advice have you been giving them? Can you give them advice because you haven't really been her yourself before?
TONEY DOUGLAS: I think we started from the beginning of the season and that's how we got to keep going. Even though this is even my first time being here in the NCAA tournament, obviously throughout the whole preseason and the season in the ACC, I think that we just take it over from here.
Q. Can you talk about your evolution as defensive player, I guess I heard that in the past maybe you weren't too interested in defense but obviously that's changed.
TONEY DOUGLAS: Yeah, I was horrible on defense coming out of high school. I was just known as an offensive player. But I think I take a lot of pride in my defense, especially in the ACC. It's a lot of top guards in our league, so if you don't play defense you get exposed real quick. So that's one of the main reasons why I play defense.
Q. Was it an effort thing or just wanted to get good at it or what?
TONEY DOUGLAS: It was effort. I want to be good too. Now I think it's just fun for me. I love I always want to guard the best player on the floor if it's at the guard standpoint. So in the NCAA tournament it's a lot of good guards, so I'm looking forward to it.
Q. How big of a difference tomorrow do you think it's going to be getting tempo? I think they like to slow it down a little bit, play a little more half court, you guys probably want to run a little bit.
TONEY DOUGLAS: We're going to have to be solid on defense. Watching film they use the whole 35 second shot clock. And all the five players on court can't break down. So we're going to have to make sure we be solid on defense, help each other, don't break down, we'll be just fine.
Q. It's been a long time, obviously, since you guys have been to the NCAA tournament, since '98. How do you guys make sure that you guys aren't just happy to be here and you maintain the focus and hunger and that kind of thing?
TONEY DOUGLAS: Like we have been doing the whole year, we take one game at a time. Focus on what's happening. Every time we play defense we win games. That's been our theory for this whole year. The games we lost we haven't played good defense. So as long as we defend and rebound I think we'll be just fine. And have intensity for 40 minutes.
BRIAN HOFF: Basically we just got to be consistent. This year our thing has been defense. We have been playing defense consistently every game we won. Pretty much that's been due to defense.
As long as we keep playing defense for the whole 40 minutes, 35 seconds at a time we'll be all right.
Q. From what I understand you really asserted yourself this year as a leader that maybe called the team together before the season started. Talk about what you've done to sort of fill that role and how the team's responded.
TONEY DOUGLAS: Basically I look at the past three years I've been at Florida State, we have been so close and our coaching staff always tells us every possession counts in every game we play. I think that in the past three years for us not getting to the big dance because we took some possessions off. And I think this year our young guys and the rest of my teammates, they really took that in and they know it and that somehow some of our losses we have we really know watching film that every possession counts. And I think we got to look forward for this NCAA tournament and take don't take no possessions off.
Q. Toney, you mentioned your lack of defense coming out of high school. I would guess that when you signed with Florida State you kind of knew that Leonard Hamilton was going to be really emphatic on the defensive side.
TONEY DOUGLAS: Yeah, he is known for his defense. It was sometimes in the past three years when I was here that's all we did in practice is defense. And the year, especially the year I was sitting out and I was like, okay, you know, when we going to touch the basketball? But you know, being here the year sitting out, looking at all the great guards in this league, I was like, Oh, man, I got to work on my agility, foot work, foot speed, stuff like that. And I just took it over from there.
Q. For all three, when you were recruited to Florida State obviously it was not a huge basketball school, but it's in a great basketball conference. What was the lure of playing? Was it coming to change things at Florida State or was it the chance to go get to play Duke and Carolina and those guys twice a year?
TONEY DOUGLAS: For me coming here, first of all, I always wanted to play in a guard league, I wanted to be known as one of the best guards in the country, and in the conference. And also being like the North Carolinas and the Dukes, they already built legacies of winning. Me, I thought I could make a difference by coming to Florida State by starting that legacy going to be one of the first.
We haven't been to the tournament in 11 years, so all I said before I leave Florida State I want to leave that legacy back and have my teammates get to continue that legacy when I leave.
UCHE ECHEFU: I just think that we have the chance to make history for me coming to Florida State, I think my freshman year, we have a bunch of group of guys that can make it to the tournament that year, but at the end of the year we came short of making the tournament. We got people like Alexander Johnson and Todd Galloway, but by the end of the year, just like Toney said, we took some possessions off and that cost us the tournament last year that year, but right now I think that we just have a great opportunity to make history.
BRIAN HOFF: When I came to Florida State as a walk on and I came there to play in the ACC, the best league in the country. And when I came the coaches told me that I got to do whatever I can to help us get to the NCAA tournament and reach our goals.
Q. Uche, this team was not picked very high in the preseason. Magazines didn't think you guys would be having a season like this. It seems especially with as much youth as there is, the team chemistry has been a big factor in your success this year. Could you please talk about the team chemistry here and how it's evolved and how much it's played a part in your success.
UCHE ECHEFU: I just think that we are one family. Like especially the younger guys, they look up to us and they listen to whatever we got to say. I will give a big credit because they're willing to learn and trust in us. So we also trust in them.
But besides basketball, you know, like in the apartment, we're one family, we do things together, we hang out and that really like builds the team chemistry and that helps, you know, give us some wins on the basketball floor.
Q. How long did it take for the seniors and the upperclassmen to start to learn to trust the freshmen? You have a bunch of guys coming in right off the bat and you're not really sure about them until you really get to know them.
UCHE ECHEFU: I think it's tough in the preseason when we're doing conditioning and stuff. Younger guys, we thought they were going to quit on us. We kept pushing them and they responded. So that's when I know we have a special group of guys this year. And even though they're young, they're willing to push to the limit. So that's when we started having confidence in them.
Q. Toney, Uche, do you expect tomorrow to feel different? I know you want to take it one game at a time and you've done that all year, but tomorrow's going to feel a little different, isn't it?
TONEY DOUGLAS: Oh, well, of course it's going to feel different because my whole every year I've been playing in college the season has been over. My season continues now on the college level, you know. So it's going to feel a little different. You know, I'm so anxious to get on the court. I was mad because we were playing Friday. So I'm ready, man. I'm going to keep doing like we have been doing the whole year. It's another game, but it's another game that could help us really be successful.
UCHE ECHEFU: Just like Toney said, it's going to be different. Like I been so anxious to play, we haven't been here before, but we just want to experience it. We talk to the coaches and they're like, This is the best feeling you can ever feel. So we want to also have that feeling. And we want to just go out there tomorrow and not just go out there and play, but to win. Just keep going as far as we can.
Q. People have noted your team chemistry. How much of an impact has Toney had on that?
BRIAN HOFF: Toney from day one from the end of last year and all the way up until now he's been a big leader for is and starts off the court and carries on the court. Every day in the summer he's hard worker, trying to get everybody in the gym all the time. Even off the court, we him and Uche live right downstairs from me and everyone lives together in the same apartment, so we're always hanging out together and goofing around and Toney's been a huge part of that.
Q. Coach Hamilton has been to the NCAA tournament three times, it's been awhile for him too, but what has he told you to expect about the NCAA tournament? Has he shared any of his experiences from either Oklahoma State or Miami?
TONEY DOUGLAS: Yeah, he always tells us there's no greater feeling when you cut the nets down. He tells us that when we were at the ACC Championship. And NCAA tournament, you know, he been here a couple times, Sweet 16s, Elite 8s, so always tell us, man, there's no greater feeling. And we are here to take one game at a time and win every game we play, so we can feel that feeling. He talks about it so much, I'm ready to get to that feeling.
Q. For anybody. Did you feel pressure? It seemed that you guys mentioned you haven't been here in a long time and Coach Hamilton has been there six, I guess this is his 7th year, but did you feel pressure to get to the NCAA tournament this year not only for yourselves but for coach?
UCHE ECHEFU: Not really. We just want to play basketball and have fun. Plus just to make history, like I said, from the season that we know that we had a good chance of making the tournament this year and so we don't want anything to slip away from us. We just keep pushing every day in practice and hold each other accountable. Just trying to get the job done for everybody.
THE MODERATOR: All right. Thank you, gentlemen. We'll take questions from Coach Hamilton now.
Q. Toney Douglas talked about how he was a horrible defensive player coming out of high school. Did you change his mind or did he just get his mindset that he was going to have to play some defense?
COACH HAMILTON: I think once he saw the competition that we were playing against night in and night out and he realized that he had to get better, and then actually once he became eligible, he realized that that was part of his game that he could excel in, but that he had not given a whole lot of concentration to.
So he accepted our rules and our principles and more than anything else he got his self in the kind of condition. I think when he realized that he had to be in much better physical condition to be able to play at the level that we needed him to play at in the ACC is when the light came on for him. He spent a lot of time in the weight room, he gained 15, 20 pounds, he spent a lot of time working on his conditioning. And then he devoted a lot of time to working on his skill development.
Even in the gym by himself, getting there early in the morning and getting 5 or 600 shots up before class and then coming back and this is in the summer. Working on his conditioning by doing a lot of exceptional running. You would find him running sprints in the summer, which is unusual for a player, especially when they're by themselves. He devoted a lot of time in the weight room. In fact, he lifted weights probably more than the regular times that he was supposed to lift weights. And then he spent a lot of time just working on his body, stretching, improving his flexibility. And that's given him an opportunity to develop tremendous stamina that allows him to play both ends of the court very well.
Q. Detail a little the impact Toney's had on this team, the role he's had on this team and also why do you think
it this point he's yet to gain the same national stature as some of the other point guards out there, Tai, Jeff?
COACH HAMILTON: Well, I think he's gotten a certain amount of exposure. I think that maybe it could be better, but I'm comfortable that people who understand college basketball appreciate and respect what he's been able to do. He was only two points short from being unanimous All Conference player. Most people think that he legitimately had an opportunity to be named the Player of the Year in our league.
But I think the thing that separates Toney, and I said this several times, is that not only he's a well conditioned athlete, he's worked at it, he's devoted a lot of time to it. And obviously as defensive player in our league, sometimes that's very difficult to do for a guy whose maybe not a shot blocker. And he's been the league leading scorer in all the ACC games, which gives him a certain amount of notoriety.
But I think the thing that he's done more than anything else is he has given us tremendous leadership. He's taken a team with six first year players and he's found a way to communicate with them without being offensive and they have followed his lead. He has temperament about him that is nonthreatening, but is persistent and he's able to get guys to rally around him.
Each night before each game we always have an I'll go over our scouting report, but he'll go back and have a meeting with his teammates by himself at 11 o'clock before each game and he would give them his scouting report. So he's developed that type of clear level of maturity the way he understood that the players had to communicate with each other and then in their own terms. And even different than the coaches. But he also has been around that we had a clear understanding of what we needed and he kind of echoed, I'm sure, the things that we were emphasizing in our game plans. He's just shown a different level of maturity that I think that kind of separates him maybe sometime from guys who are just really good players.
Q. A lot of wins and a lot of high points this year, but earlier this week it was announced that you guys had a hundred percent graduation rate. What does that mean to you?
COACH HAMILTON: Well, I'm proud of the fact that over my coaching career I've had when I was at Miami, we only had three kids not graduate in the ten years that I was there. I think that's important from a coaching standpoint to realize that you have young men that you have in your environment that are probably the most important part of development in their lives. They're going from teenagers to manhood.
And I've always felt that as a coach my true evaluation won't come until nine, ten years down the road when you look and see how productive those guys are in their different walks of life as they go on and become husbands, fathers, neighbors, citizens, as well as those who have the opportunity to be good basketball players. For the most part most of them will play basketball for awhile, then they're going to other things. And I think my true evaluation would be what have I been able to contribute to them that will help them move on through life and be productive as a result of going through our program.
So I do place a lot of emphasis on making sure that they do the kind of things that they're supposed to, to get the education, because without that sometimes you can get stymied and maybe not have the opportunity to grow and you miss out on a lot of opportunities.
Q. Did you feel much pressure this year? I know you haven't been to the NCAA tournament at Florida State. How much pressure was on you and is it a relief to finally get back here?
COACH HAMILTON: Well, I think that you always can put out statistics to justify one thing or another, but any time you take over a program that needs a little fixing up and that's been my legacy, I enjoy going and being a part of making the difference in programs that maybe have not been as successful consistently over the years. But the last four years people don't realize this, but I think we might be the fourth winningest program in the ACC in terms of victories in the ACC, I believe that somewhere close to that. I think it's North Carolina, Duke, and Clemson have won more games than we have the last four years. So it took us a couple years to get it together.
But we won nine games three years ago, we won seven and seven the last couple of years and we won 10 this year. Now, the problem is we ran into some speed bumps along the way. I thought we deserved to be in the NCAA and then we have had, like most coaches have, you go through a period if you are going to stay and continue to coach where you're going to have injuries, going to have someone go to the league too early, you're going to have some unfortunate things pop up. We went through our period.
This year we have not had one, we have not had any of those basketball demons raise their ugly head, we like to call them. We have been void of any extended injuries for the most part. The team that we started the season with, we have. Uche was a little slow coming back from his injury and Solomon was a little slow coming around and Kitchen missed the first nine games. But we basically have had the team together and it's made a big difference.
As a coach I'm confident, I've always been confident and I think that pressure means different things to different people. I've always been confident that we would get the job done. And I feel like we have only scratched the surface, I think we're going to continue getting better and better as we move on through our with our teams. I feel confident that we have a nucleus of youngsters coming back, I think our recruiting is going good. So if you keep doing things the right way and stay focused and don't allow yourself to be distracted things normally work themselves out.
Q. I know you're a forward looking guy by nature, but I was wondering when you finally got the announcement that you're going to go back, did your mind flash back at all to previous NCAA tournaments, the Sweet 16 run at UM or anything at Oklahoma State?
COACH HAMILTON: Maybe I'm a boring type of guy. I try to stick with the things that I'm just dealing with. I worry about those things I can control.
I've had a wonderful career. I've had so many unique and special opportunities that I can't even count them. My whole focus has been just on a team with six first year players that you're depending on, you can't get too far ahead of yourself. We have dealt with things on a very matter of fact approach. We lose a game, we try not to get too low. We win a game, we try not to get too high. So with each step that we have taken hopefully moving in the right direction, we have analyzed it, discussed it, and tried to keep things in perspective. I really didn't give any thought to anything other than let's prepare ourselves and make sure that when we get to the NCAA tournament that we take advantage of the opportunity. And we tried to keep our youngsters focused.
We went to Wisconsin a couple years ago and they kind of handed our hat to us and showed us the door. They did a very good job, we were and now they are a team that creates a lot of challenges for us and we have to be focused on being prepared. And so I'm not allowing myself to look too far behind, I'm not looking too far ahead, we're just staying focused on the task we know we have at hand and that's to try to be prepared to play a very good Wisconsin team tomorrow.
Q. You were mentioning the amount of first year players that you have. How much has just the it seems it's a very special kind of team chemistry. How much has that played a part into your run this year and how would you compare if you want to compare this team's chemistry to other groups that you have had in the past?
COACH HAMILTON: We have recruited some fairly mature youngsters. And I knew this team had something special about them because it seemed as though I could always feel relationships developing. Where even during the summer the guys were always coming out of the office just wanting to say "hello" and wanting to spend time chatting with the coaches, coming around together. And they end up going bowling together and movies together and kind of hanging out, and you could just feel them enjoying each other's company. And that's a pretty positive sign.
And once we got into school, Toney and Uche would step up and speak and I noticed a level of respect that the youngsters gave them because they listened to what they had to say. And they all came in and realized that we have been coming close, and that they had an opportunity to be part of making a difference and I think they really were anxious to want to make sure they could find out exactly how they could contribute. We haven't had a problem defining roles, they have accepted the roles. Some of them have started, some have not. Some played major minutes, some games they have not. I have not had to deal with a lot of home sickness or issues. They have really been a team that appears that they have been this focused on accepting the direction not only from the coaches and the senior leadership, and sometimes it's hard to be a leader when you don't have guys that are willing to follow.
These guys have, they check their egos when they checked in school. For instance, a kid like Chris Singleton, a youngster that was McDonald's All American, I don't think he ever took more, he said he never took more than 15 shots in a high school game. But that's a youngster who understands that he wants to become a more and more complete player. And I think that Chris has devoted his time to defending, rebounding, learning how to adjust his speed to the game. And I think that you see him getting better and better now as he's grown and matured and gained experience through the season.
But they all have done that. They have all had games where they have been major contributors to the success of that game. And so you just have to say it's an unusual bunch that seems to have that little something special that keeps them focused.
Q. Everyone talks about how physical Wisconsin is. How big of a challenge is this game going to be for Solomon? And a second part to that question, what makes him such a good shot blocker besides his size?
COACH HAMILTON: Oh, well, you made an excellent observation. Because we're long and lean and our youngsters have not matured to the point where they got those lower base that keeps them, that allows them to hold their spot when they're posting up or not being able to be moved around as well. That's probably been a problem for us all year with Xavier and Solomon alone and so did Uche. Chris has developed. So people have been, who have been physical with us have and a lot depends on how the officials call the game. When they're able to push us out and be physical, it has bothered us. That is a concern of ours.
Wisconsin seems to be a little more, play a little bit more of a physical game than we do. And the Big 10's maybe a little more aggressive than the ACC. But we feel that we have talked about it, hopefully we have made the adjustments that we will be able to handle their physicality tomorrow.
I think Solomon is, has good instincts for blocking shots, first. I think he's a pretty good athlete. He has not gotten all his athleticism back because he's still kind of coming back from not being able to do anything for a year and a half. And you, it takes awhile to get your timing back.
But he's gotten to the point where he's solid. He runs the floor pretty well. He has great instincts, he's long, and he has a quick jump, so to speak. But I think he's only scratched the surface of his potential. He's still learning and growing. He has a great attitude. He's eager to learn. He's very coachable. I think that in all phases of the game you're going to see him continue to keep getting better and better along with shot blocking, rebounding, and his offensive skills as well.
Q. How important is conference affiliation this time of year? Is it important to you that the ACC does well or how many teams each conference gets in the tournament?
COACH HAMILTON: I think that that's kind of part of just being in a conference. You take a certain level of pride when certain teams, your teams go in. You want them to do well because there's a lot of conversation all year long about what conference is better than the other. Which I think is a bunch of baloney. I think they're all good. But I think it's great for I guess water cooler talk and arm chair quarterback talk and different alumni's talk. It's just part of what makes sports exciting. But in reality, we all need to be try to do the very, very best we can.
I think when you look back at even some of the games that we played today, once you get to the certain level, I think that most of the teams are capable of winning. Maybe some have gotten more publicity than others, but you need to be ready to play because I think you would not have had the level of success unless you execute what you have in your game plan, playing to a certain level of efficiency.
So I think you got to be very focused. Much as I would like to see some of the others teams in our conference be successful, at this particular point we're going to worry about Florida State and try to get it together.
Q. Speaking of the ACC, what would it, what does it take to get so that you're in that conversation at the top of that league every year? Is it as simple as just a couple good recruiting classes or does it go down to facilities and the way the whole sports department thinks and stuff like that?
COACH HAMILTON: I think that that's an excellent question. Let's deal with our team this year. We were picked to finish somewhere toward the bottom. But we didn't have a lot of setbacks from injuries, we had the team that we had at the beginning of the year, we kept growing and developing and maturing.
We won some close games. But you have a some of those years where like for instance two years ago we lost two seven footers and Toney Douglas broke his hand. We won seven games, but we lost a lot of close games. Maybe if Toney had not just think about the team that won the national title, whatever year that is. Take their two inside guys off the team, their four and five man, and break their point guard's hand. That's hard to come back from. That sounds like an excuse from a coach and people don't want to hear that, but the bottom line is the luck of the draw. Sometimes you have those unfortunate things happen.
For instance, North Carolina I'm sure would have played in the ACC tournament a lot better had they not lost Lawson and those things happen. So maybe they could have possible have won the ACC championship. Maybe. I don't know. Not to take anything away from our victory against them. But that happens.
But to answer your question, we just got to continue to keep doing what we're doing. We think we everyone in our league recruits well. All the teams are very well prepared. When you go on the road and play against the atmosphere it's not very much different than Virginia Tech's atmosphere and Clemson's atmosphere, Wake Forest, they all are, their fans are all passionate in the support of their teams.
And so I just think you got to just get the best players you can and try to coach them and just hope that you don't have anything unfortunate happen that gives you a chance to at least coach what you have.
THE MODERATOR: All right, thank you coach.
COACH HAMILTON: All right. Thank you.
THE MODERATOR: We'll go ahead and take some questions for the student athletes of Wisconsin.
Q. Could you talk about the problems their length inside could give you in the middle?
MARCUS LANDRY: As we all know, they're a pretty big team. They have a 7 1 guy, 6 9. They're a long team. But the good thing is that we just came off a game where we saw some guys that are similar to those guys length wise at least. Maybe not as big, but it's a good thing that we have seen guys like this during the year and it will help us out.
Q. For both of you guys, as one of the last teams in the field do you feel some added pressure to prove that you guys belong after hearing for a week that maybe you should have got in, maybe you shouldn't have?
JOE KRABBENHOFT: Even though I'm a senior, this is probably the least amount of pressure I've felt to go out and just because maybe it's because of our seed, I don't know. But the last two years we were a second and third seed and you feel like you're expected to win. You guys all pick us to win. I don't know how people picked to us win this game. And it really doesn't matter, we don't really pay a lot of attention to it. We get a chance to play a really good team in Florida State and make some noise and have some fun.
So we're going to go out with some expectations on ourselves to win and play well, but we just haven't been really listening to what everyone else says about us, so it's kind of fun.
MARCUS LANDRY: He said it right, some guys feel a lot of pressure of being a low seed maybe and feeling like they have something to prove, but we're seniors and we have to go out there and give it our all. We're happy to be here, we get another chance at trying to accomplish something that we have as a goal as Division I athletes. So it's a great feeling just to be in the running again and have another chance.
Q. On Sunday night did you think you would be sitting somewhere on either Thursday or Friday?
JOE KRABBENHOFT: Yeah, we did. We thought we were in. As the first two regions went by without our name being called my heart was beating a little bit faster, but that was only half the teams. We still felt pretty good about our chances. We have had some pretty good wins this year. We're confident in our resume. Our coaching staff did a great job of building our strength of schedule up and we went out and performed as well as we could. We took some bumps, but we responded well and played well toward the end, which I think ultimately got us in this tournament.
Q. For both, it kind of goes to playing well at the end. You had that long losing streak in January and I know all the games were close. But at that point I would imagine you're not thinking about the tournament, what were you thinking about?
MARCUS LANDRY: Well, it did come down to the last few possessions. And we hopefully, when we go into these games, we learn from that, those things that we were going through during the year. And this is the best time to prove that we learned from those things. We're going to go into the game tomorrow ready and prepared.
The coaches, they do a great job at giving us certain things and showing us what we need to do so that we won't have those scoring droughts or different things like that. So hey, this is the best time to show what you learned and put it to use.
JOE KRABBENHOFT: I think that, of course, we would like to go back and replay those six games, I think we would if we knew what we do now, I think we would, those results would be a little bit different. But we went through that stretch and we learned a lot and I think that we have accomplished a lot of our goals because of that stretch. We learned that we had to trust each other, that trust kept growing and growing and we learned how to finish games, although we haven't done that in one or two since then as well as we would like, would have liked to, we learned a lot about how to win ball games through those, even though we lost, which is kind of weird.
Q. Talk, obviously your stay at Wisconsin has been a little bit different on the court, off the court. Can you talk about your experience there and sort of what it feels like to come out with the accomplishments you have at the end.
MARCUS LANDRY: It's been a great experience. Everybody, teachers, coaches, they have all been behind me 100 percent. My experience at Wisconsin has been great. I've grown as a person, as a man, and I can only say good things about Wisconsin. And that made me a better player, a better person, a better student athlete. Everything. I couldn't have picked a better school.
Q. You look at Toney Douglas, I don't know that anybody has really stopped him this year, but you guys probably won't guard him per se, maybe someone else will, maybe Trevon, but how do you maybe slow a guy like Toney Douglas down or kind of contain him so he doesn't go off for 25, 30 or whatever?
JOE KRABBENHOFT: "Contain" is a better word than "stop." I think we all have watched Toney, especially this last weekend at in the ACC tournament, he just put on a show and it was fun to watch. He's great player, we respect him as much as anybody.
I think that comparison wise a lot of people ask that in the Big 10 who do we compare him to? I don't know. Manny Harris, Kalin Lucas, I mean, you can throw those names out there, but Toney Douglas is himself. I think he's made a name for himself.
So comparing people is just not fair for him because he made a great name for himself and we got to go out there and stick to our rules. We're not going to change a whole lot. Obviously we got to be really focused this time of year because any mistake, if you go up on a pump fake and you foul him, the mistake is magnified at this time of year. And he can really do that, he can hurt you in so many ways.
MARCUS LANDRY: That's definitely true. We're going to go out there and give it our all. He's great player and only thing we can try and do is really contain him. The best thing that we can do as a team is make him take tough shots. That's something that we have done a great job at over the years and since I've been here we do a great job at making guys take tough shots. If we can make him take some shots maybe that he doesn't want to, that will work in our favor.
So we're going to go out there, we're going to give it our all and try to make him take some shots that maybe he's not used to taking. But he can make some tough shots too, but that's what we're going to try to do and we're not going to let him get anything easy.
Q. One of the few teams that has really handled Florida State was Northwestern. I understand that was a long time ago, and the ACC Big 10 challenge, but is there something that you guys take from that? I'm not asking you game plan, but something that you're familiar with obviously with Northwestern?
JOE KRABBENHOFT: Sure. I think all teams would say this, that you grow so much from, I believe that game was probably played in November, maybe early December. Teams have gotten so much better since then. I don't know what the score would be now between those two teams, but you look at a team like Northwestern, what they try to do is just move the ball, move bodies, and that was successful. Any time you can do that against any team you're going to be successful and they made their shots.
But we're just going to try to I don't think we're going to be running the Princeton offense. We're going to stick to our stuff and do what we do best, but moving the ball and bodies is very important to winning ball games, it has been for us all year and it if we're to win this game.
Q. Do you guys think it's fair, so much criticism that's been leveled at the Big 10 and are you rooting for those guys, your conference mates to make a run and sort of help out the name of the Big 10, I guess?
MARCUS LANDRY: I can't say it's fair or not. I guess everyone is entitled to their own opinion. But those guys have done a good job at building their resume and they're in the tournament and of course we're rooting for those guys. It just shows how good of a conference the Big 10 is to have seven guys in.
So all the things that people may say about the conference, I don't really believe it. I can't really agree with any of those things. It's a tough conference. That just proves that it's a tough conference right there. Northwestern giving Florida State I mean they're a good team giving them a run for their money, you can't take teams in the Big 10 lightly, you got to look at every team the way you do any team, whether it's a North Carolina, UCONN, you go out there unprepared, then you'll take a bump. So I think the Big 10 has shown that they can play with any conference.
JOE KRABBENHOFT: I'm proud to be a part of the Big 10. Seven teams in the Big 10 tournament or in the NCAA tournament is a great accomplishment and to be one of those seven teams is awesome. I thought we could have got one more, but the number just didn't work out with the numbers, but that's the analysts job to say those type of things and we all just sit back and listen and enjoy it.
Q. You guys obviously come from the Big 10, do you feel that there's some disrespect you getting the 12th seed and you guys having a chip on your shoulder at all because of that?
MARCUS LANDRY: I don't look at it as disrespect, to be honest with you. Like I was saying before, once you become a Division I athlete you have certain goals. One of our goals is to try to win a National Championship. I would be very sad if I was sitting at home and I wasn't in the NCAA tournament. But hey, I get another chance, Joe gets another chance, the team gets another chance at trying to accomplish the goals that we have as Division I athletes.
So whether we're 12 seed, 16 seed, it doesn't matter, it's just, hey, it's fun being in. So we're going to go out there and give it our all.
JOE KRABBENHOFT: He's right. We got to keep that chip on our shoulder, no matter what seed they gave us on Selection Sunday we're going to come into this tournament with a chip on our shoulder wanting to win as many games as possible. Any team that doesn't have a chip on their shoulder is going to get beat, because you got to have that.
THE MODERATOR: All right, thanks guys. We'll take questions for Coach Ryan.
Q. Could you talk about the impact Toney Douglas has had on Florida State and have you faced a guard that's so good on both ends of the floor like he is?
COACH RYAN: Well, you know, there's he's a senior, so he's maturity wise, he hurt us enough a couple years ago when he was a sophomore, but he's even better now on both ends. Any time you have a guard that can catch and shoot, put it on the floor, pull up and shoot, and get to the rim and shoot, and make them, then offensively, you know, you got and be able to pass the ball you obviously got a pretty good player. Defensively he's as good as there is out there. We have to face the Manny Harris's during our conference play, E'Twaun Moore, a guy like him, long and rangy, Evan Turner, a little taller, a little different type player. But the guards from Penn State are pretty quick and pretty good shooters. And we played Connecticut, we played Virginia Tech, some teams that people that Florida State would be familiar with.
But it's always different. It's the next 40 minutes, it's a different team, different venue, different time. So you just prepare with what you do and knowing that he's a good player and try to make sure that he doesn't get too many.
Q. Talk about Sunday night, what the wait was like and then if you feel like the team's maybe gotten a second chance. The players sort of talked about this as a new experience, a fresh chance to start over. Do you feel like you've kind of been given a second life?
COACH RYAN: No, because once you have your body of work in, you really can't change anything. So for me, a poker face guy, I just know that our guys scratched and clawed their way into playing 30 games of pretty solid basketball. Played a tough schedule. We knew that going in. And that's one of the biggest things that helped us was our strength of schedule.
And the fact that we got hot. I don't know of any other team that's ever lost six games in the conference season, in a row, and still made the NCAA tournament at large. There might have been our SID has not been able to find you said four or five in a row and then still made it? So that says a lot for the guys that are going to be on that floor tomorrow night. But it is what it is when you're sitting there. I'm not one of those guys that's going to bite his fingernails or do anything like that, there's a lot of intelligent people that sit in that room and take information and I just figured let's go play. And we weren't disappointed. We get a chance to play.
Q. You mentioned the Florida State game from a couple of years ago. Toney Douglas was on that team. Can you take anything from that game or was that in the past or can you take any elements from that or maybe as far as what Florida State does?
COACH RYAN: I looked at 15 or 20 game films and all of them were from this year, but at a half of that one. I looked at a half of the game a couple years ago. It's two different teams. It's more about the precious present, what's going on and the fact that they're playing so well.
I looked at games in the beginning of the year, the Pitt game, the couple games they had then and then mostly the last 12 to 15 games. All I know is that they're pretty good and they deserve to be in it, I don't know, maybe even a higher seed. But we're in it, so they have to win six, we have to win six if we ever want to say that we're the best team, so it's mostly about now.
Q. You were talking about the six game losing streak and the question is, I know the games were close, but given that that usually ends most of your dreams, how did you keep your players' heads in the game and sort of get that thing?
COACH RYAN: Growing up in Chester, Pennsylvania. That's the truth. Just the streets of Chester and growing up on the playgrounds and through Chester High School and things my parents taught me. I'm a hard guy to get to, to the point where you feel like you have no hope, you feel like we're not getting the best end of this deal, because there was a couple games in there where there was some things that were very interesting that happened that obviously we can't talk about. But just it is my background and then I just tried to instill that in the players and I got some pretty tough players.
Q. You can talk about it?
COACH RYAN: Joe Krabbenhoft off the streets of Sioux Falls, South Dakota, he's a wily veteran now of growing up tough. But, no, the Marcus Landry and Joe Krabbenhoft's and Trevon Hughes, Bohannon, all those guys, you know, they didn't get down because they know how we always try to prepare for next. And we were in a position where we lose any one of those games, we're not here. So we were playing in the NCAA tournament a long time probably before anybody else was.
Q. Is there any advantage being a 12 seed for you guys?
COACH RYAN: You know, I don't know anything about seeds. I don't know sometimes on the lines where people are put. I don't know anything about that. But I don't see any advantages of being high, in between or low. Other than what you're doing with your players and in your practices and what you're working on and how you're trying to prepare. I can guarantee you this, there aren't too much coaches talking about seeds when they're getting ready to play. It's all about the preparation, the drills, the scouting report, and the main thing is take care of business with what you do.
Q. I know you guys took the bump against Ohio State there in the Big 10 tournament, but can you talk about how you guys are playing right now, how do you feel heading into this game against FSU?
COACH RYAN: I think we're like a lot of teams where if you could just hit a couple shots in certain situations it changes the whole complexion of a game. Everybody says it at the end of the year, oh, if we would have made these two free throws, if we would have made that shot, or, boy, that was wide open and it didn't go in. But I've coached long enough to know that we have been on the other side of that probably more than we have been on the short side of it, so you have to take the bad with the good.
And I just, I know one thing, when we were going home, we just kept thinking, you know, we have got some good basketball in us, we just hope we can get a chance to show that. So I don't think we were discouraged at all.
I think our guys realized that that's a pretty good team, Ohio State was very young and by the end of the year here now they're playing a lot better. And they don't use the excuse of anybody being hurt or even though Lighty hasn't been able to play, Thad and I are pretty good friends, he never whines about injuries, he plays with what he has. And I thought Ohio State's been playing pretty well. So I thought we were beaten by a good team, so I didn't let that cloud hangover.
Q. Can you talk about the has the Big 10 gotten a bad rap nationally and is it important that the conference does well for recruiting and exposure purposes in the NCAA tournament?
COACH RYAN: I don't know. If you expect coaches to answer a question that way there's an old line that people used to use, but you can't use it any more, about, does a husband do something and the answer is you can't give an answer. Because if you say yes or no or whatever, then no matter what it is, it's wrong.
The Big Ten did what it did, our RPI is what it is, we don't defend anything. I was going to be a lawyer and in my ninth grade year book I put down, ambition, I had lawyer down. Philadelphia area, that's what everybody says anyhow. But I'm not one, so I'm not making any cases. We're just playing. And I think that's what the other Big 10 teams are doing. They're just playing. And proud to be playing.
THE MODERATOR: Okay. Thank you, coach.
COACH RYAN: All right. Thanks.