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Pre-NCAA Tournament Press Conference Quotes
Courtesy: Arizona Athletics
Release: 03/16/2009
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Courtesy: Arizona Athletics
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March 16, 2009

All-Access: Full Press Conference

Arizona head coach Russ Pennell

On watching Utah

"I watched a little bit more last night. I've personally seen about a full game. All of the other coaches have been watching them some more. Defensively they play a lot like Cal. They use their size and really get after you. The big fella (Luke Nevill) inside is very good. They're a veteran, experienced team. This is a good basketball team."

On Utah's Luke Nevill

"They go a lot through him but he's not their only option. He's very skilled and uses his other hand very well."

On fellow coaches calling him

"I heard from Coach (Rob) Evans this morning and I talk to Coach (Eddie) Sutton quite a bit, but knowing him, he'll wait until things have calmed down a bit. I also talked to Coach Olson. It's been really nice to hear from everyone."

"I really couldn't sleep last night because of the thrill of this opportunity. The excitement is there, but we really want to win. It's a one-game season, everyone is 0-0. It just comes down to who plays the best for that two-and-a-half hours."

About Arizona being favored

"All the teams in the tournament are good and can beat anyone. I don't buy into having a good draw or a good seed. It all comes down to who gets hot."

On how the seven-game win streak will help

"Over the last couple weeks it seems like I just want to win one. Utah is the next game and we just have to try and recapture what we had earlier in the season (during the seven-game winning streak)."

"I don't look at this as a second chance. We earned our way into it. I look back at our entire season and we played good against some good competition."

Practice this late in the season

"As you get deeper into the year you try and conserve your legs. You just try to go back to the fundamentals. I think we need to get back to basics and fundamentals on defense."

"In our case we play guys so many minutes, we let them rest the last couple of days and wanted them to get away from the game. So I think the rest has been good."

What the national media should pick up about this team

"A group of guys, a group of players and coaches put it all together and gave up everything for each other. We had so many things thrown our way and it's been up and down."

What he's learned about the Arizona schedule

"You have to play folks in the non-conference. I think that's what carried the ball for us.

What he's taking into the tournament

"To me it's the ups and downs. I don't know if we were doing anything all that different from when we were winning and losing. The whole experience just prepares you for the NCAA. The intensity is of a whole new level and you can't let up on any play."

How he feels about a No. 12 seed

"Besides having the No. 1 seed in the opening round, I'm not sure anyone has that big of an advantage."

On why he couldn't sleep

"I think it was just trying to prepare for everything. Making sure I was ready for practice, we knew where we were staying. I just had a lot of thoughts going in my head."

How the bench play affects the team

"One of the most overrated things to me is bench scoring. It's about playing your role. If a guy comes in and plays good D or gets a few rebounds that productive. I only get concerned when our bench guys don't play defense or don't rebound."

"Jamelle Horne has played a lot better. I like what he's done for us. In our big wins Jamelle has been very good."

"I expect our guys to play well. A lot of that falls on us as coaches. You need to train them for what they do well."

On the NCAA experience

"There's a certain buzz or atmosphere when you walk in. As a younger coach I thought it was the coolest thing in the world. But I don't think what we do will be any different. We'll just go in the give our best effort."

The team's previous experiences in the NCAA Tournament

"I really want us to focus on the now and what we need to do to be successful. Everything in the past was different. They ran a different offense and defense, so we just need to focus on what we do."

"I'm just looking forward to this opportunity that's ahead of us and am really excited to be coaching these guys."

Any family coming to Miami?

"My brother is coming in from Chicago and my brother and sister-in-law are coming in from Arkansas, so it'll be fun to have them all down their in Miami."

Junior forward Chase Budinger

"I don't think there is any pressure for us. We're not supposed to be here so we just need to let it all hang out. We kind of expected that we wouldn't get it in or that there was a slim chance, but we play some good teams and played well enough in the Pac-10."

"When it started and our name came up it was a good feeling. It felt a lot better than having to wait through the show like last year."

"It's a new season for everyone and it's our chance to go out there strong and show people we're better than they're all saying."

"This season was a roller coaster and a lot of our games were up and down. We got lucky, you could say, but we could still make something happen."

Chance to rebound from ASU game

"It's very pleasing (to get to play another game). It's gives me a second chance personally to step up and play on a national stage. It's the time of year when your big players have to step up and make plays."

On coaching staff

"They've done a great job. They knew how to manage us, keep our spirits high when we were losing and keep us grounded when we were winning."

"When we're playing well we're a tough opponent to beat. When we have 8-9 guys playing well is when we are at our toughest. We need that kind of effort from everyone each game."

"I think our energy comes off our defense. When we make stops and get steals and that leads to fast breaks and open threes, everyone feeds off that."

"I feel that we're capable of beating anyone in the country. When we're playing our game it's tough to beat us."

On seeds

"It doesn't really matter where you're at. You just have to go into the tournament one game at a time. It's a business trip for us. It's all about the ball."

 

Junior guard Nic Wise

 

On people saying they didn't deserve to get in

"I guess you can use it as fuel. There are always going to be doubters. I'm sure that if Saint Mary's would have got in and we didn't there'd be people saying we deserved to."

"Experience does help. It will all be new to the younger guys. We just have to make sure we let them know what it's like and what to expect."

"We appreciate being in the tournament because of everything we've been through in the last couple of years. There's not another team out there that has been through what we have."

"Friday can't come fast enough. All the practice and media stuff takes it out of you."

Junior forward Jordan Hill

 

"It (the selection announcement) was exciting. My heart was pounding, but when it said `Arizona' up there, it felt real good."

"We need to stay ready when we're on the floor. We just have to keep the intensity and energy up."

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