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Bank One Fiesta Bowl Classic Pre-Tournament Press Conference Quotes
By: Arizona Athletics
Release: December 27, 2000
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University of Arizona head coach Lute Olson
"Everyone is back with the exception of Travis Hanour, who has a pretty severe case of the flu, to the point that he has had some IVs because he was not able to keep anything down. We are hopeful that he will be back tonight, but the question is how long it will take him to recover. Lamont Frazier turned an ankle in the LSU game. He practiced last night, but it has been pretty sore today. We will hold him out of practice, but he should be able to provide some support tomorrow. Otherwise, everyone else is back, and we had a good, spirited practice yesterday.

"From looking at the films on Butler, the concerns are about how well they play together. They are very well coached and well drilled. They have excellent shooters, who shoot a lot of threes. It is kind of the same things that we faced with LSU's perimeter people, but I think they (Butler) are a better passing team than LSU was. The look for a lot of threes, and they are making 44.4 percent of them as a team, which is a serious problem. They look for a lot of threes, and rightfully so the way they are making them. It will be a challenge for us to get out onto the perimeter and defend them.

On Loren Woods:
"He practiced well (last night). I think that he played the best that he has played since he came back against LSU. Before that, I thought the second half of the Illinois game was the best that he has played. He has comeback and been more aggressive defensively. He is moving his feet and getting into position to challenge shots. He needs to continue to progress that way in the two games left until the start of the league play.

"Defensively in the second half of the LSU game, I thought that was the most aggressive as a team. It started when Jason (Gardner) picked the point guard up, making him work to get down the court. That helps the wings get out and make it tough for them to get into their normal operating zones.

"We need to make it difficult for people to run what they are trying to run (on offense). So far, we have been too reactive and not proactive enough on defense. In the second half of the LSU game, it was the first time that we made people react to how we play (defense), and we need to continue that. Offensively, we need to get the ball and move ahead. We have started the offense at the top of the key too often.

On Stanford beating then-No. 1 Duke:
"Anytime the conference does well in intersectional games, it helps. Knocking off the No. 1 team is a tremendous accomplishment, and that is going to give Stanford a lot of confidence. They really dominated for the better part of that game. Anytime league teams do well, it bodes well for the conference. I am sure that all of us were pulling hard for Stanford to win that game.

On the Bank One Fiesta Bowl Classic:
"This has been a good springboard for us into conference. If you take a look at the teams in this tournament, that is what we need at this time of the year, competition from good, solid teams. He have played a lot of (that type of teams) to this point, but this is definitely going to be a challenge for us."

Butler head coach Thad Matta
"We are very happy to be here, if for no other reason than the weather. People in Indianapolis are walking around with blue ears now. All of the teams in this tournament are of NCAA caliber teams, with Arizona at the top of that. At Butler, we are not ones to be able to play in a conference with teams as talented as Arizona.

"It has been a rock road (this season) as we have lost three games that came down to the final five seconds. A lot of good has come of that because of the level of kids that we have, and that has made my job easier. These guys are not only very dedicated to the game of basketball, but to Butler University, too.

"We're trying to find some continuity and hone in on what the team can do well. We went through a stretch of three straight losses, but we came together and played some pretty good basketball at times, and at times, sometimes not.

On Arizona:
"They are a very talented team. When you look at the starters they have and the depth. They have the talent to score in bunches. If they have any weaknesses, they make up for them in so many other ways on the court.

"Last year, in 31 games, we never had the same guy lead us in scoring two consecutive nights, and it was that way through the first four or so games of this season. These guys really understand the game of basketball, and they know who is hitting shots on that particular night. They are all capable of stepping up and getting it done at both ends of the court."

Louisiana-Lafayette head coach Jessie Evans
"I'm excited to be back here in Tucson. I have been looking forward to this tournament, and I was really excited until I saw that we had to play Mississippi State. It seems like every tournament we are in, we have to play those guys sooner or later.

"We are coming off a big win over South Alabama, and it always seems that we are battling with those guys for the conference title. We wanted to come back (from Christmas break) and we feel that these guys need to be challenged again. What better challenge than a fierce one here, and if you get past the first game, you will play one of the top teams in the country.

"We have played in a lot of these tournaments - the Great Alaska Shootout, Puerto Rico (San Juan Shootout) and the Rainbow Classic. I told the guys before we got here that this is the best one, in terms of hospitality and everything else. We like to do this before conference play to get ready.

"We are making progress this season. We have all of the players back from a 25-9 team that made the NCAA tournament last year. Unfortunately, Reggie DeGray, a 6-6 small forward, had his knee scoped two weeks into the preseason, and we have also injected a new kid, Anthony Johnson, a 6-6 small forward, into the lineup. With him and with Reggie, we are kind of mixing new chemicals again. Things started to come together against South Alabama, and we could kind of see it against Fresno State."

Mississippi State head coach Rick Stansbury
"We are happy to be out in this tournament, playing against a very good Southwest Louisiana team. They have five seniors on their team, an had a very good win over a tough South Alabama team, so they are going to be quite a challenge.

"We're 6-2, but I don't think that we are playing as well as we are capable of. We are mixing in a lot of new players with our returning guys, so I don't think that we have played as well as we can either offensively or defensively. We are starting to settle in and play the way we want to play.

"This is the kind of trip that we want to take basketball players on. This is the first time that a lot of our players have seen cactus. Some of the guys that have never seen a real cactus asked me if they were real. You go your whole life without ever seeing one, and now you look out your window and they are all over the place.

On freshman Mario Austin:
"First off, he is a great kid. The adjustment that he is making has not been maximized because he is playing the 4-(position) with Robert Jackson at center. It is a total adjustment to be defending a guy who can come down the court and hit a three in a lot of situations. He is making other adjustments on offense and defense, especially in transition, playing with another big guy. It is just a matter of time, and he is going to keep getting better.

On Wil Bynum, a UA signee who was recruited by Mississippi State:
"He's the most underrated player in the country, as far as point guards go. He can do a lot of things, but the one thing that he does better than anyone else is getting into the lane and finishing his shots and making baskets. I think he is better than anyone at that."

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