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Lute Olson Press Conference Quotes
Courtesy: Arizona Athletics
Release: 03/12/2007
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Courtesy: Arizona Athletics
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NCAA Selection Sunday

March 11, 2007

 

 

On the potential of changing the starting lineup:

“We’ll see how everyone has responded. We’ll see whether it changes or not. Starters are accustomed to starting and reserves are accustomed to coming off the bench, so that will be taken into consideration.”

 

On being placed in the same pod as top overall seed Florida:

“The whole thing in ’97 when we won it, we are still the only team in the history of the NCAA that has beaten three No. 1 seeds. So, at least that’s somewhere in our history and it’s not that long ago ?- 10 years ago. Purdue is all we are thinking about right now.”

 

On opening NCAA play with a Big 10 opponent for a second straight year (Wisconsin, 2006)

“Purdue plays a similar style to what Wisconsin did (last year). The thing with us that we’ve always done in our scheduling, is that we play teams that play different speeds, different styles. Certainly in the Pac-10 this year, you take Oregon and UCLA, just those two alone or USC or Washington State, and you’re talking about big time differences (in the style of play). Now, we’ve played Washington and Oregon, who are certainly up-tempo. There are more teams in our league that have played the style that Purdue plays.”

 

On similarities with last year’s preparations for the NCAA Tournament:

“We played as well as we played all year long in those two games (NCAA first and second round games in Philadelphia). That is something that is a positive for us going in (this year). I talked to Mustafa (Shakur) today, just in terms of how he played last year (in the NCAA Tournament). He played better in those two games than he did all year long. I think he’s looking forward to repeating that this time. It’s something we talk about all the time. We have our non-conference, conference and the NCAA. This is our third season, and you start new.

 

On losing to Oregon last Thursday in the Pacific Life Pac-10 Tournament:

“Frankly, when I looked at the Oregon tape, we actually played pretty well, except for (Tajuan) Porter and (Aaron) Brooks shooting lights out. I think we actually did a pretty good job on (Marty) Leunen and (Bryce) Taylor. I don’t recall ?- I didn’t even look at the stat sheet afterwards ?- but, Brooks got 16 points in the first half and didn’t score in the second half. But looking at the tapes, when somebody took a baseline drive, we did a great job of cutting it off. We didn’t give them many drives to the middle of the court. So, I thought we actually played very solidly. In my opinion, we had better shots than Oregon did, but the difference was, they made them”

 

On Oregon winning the 2007 Pacific Life Pac-10 Tournament:

“I think its gives people an idea of how difficult they are to play. If they are shooting the ball, they are a load.”

 

On being a No. 8 seed despite posting 20 wins against a difficult schedule:

“I know the (NCAA Selection) Committee really works hard. I’m still not sure that they’re aware that New Mexico State won their conference; that UNLV won theirs, and Memphis played Houston in their championship. North Carolina won theirs. Virginia tied for the ACC (regular season) title. NAU went to the finals of their tournament. San Diego State won well over 20 games. The word is that you need to schedule tough games and it’s going to help you. I just am not sure that people remember how tough our schedule was.”

 

On scheduling:

 “There is no question the best thing to do would be to play three or four really good teams, and then just build up your wins to make sure you’re well over 20. What we are doing is not the way you should do it. On the other hand, we want to play good teams and our players want to play good teams and our fans want us to play good teams.”

 

On whether he felt UA should be higher than a No. 8 seed:

“Well I thought we deserved a No. 7. I know what the committee goes through because of (former UA Athletic Director) Cedric Dempsey having been the head of the committee one year and (current AD) Jim Livengood another year. So I know how hard they work at this. But going into the day, I thought we would be a No. 7.”

 

On tying Dean Smith’s record of 23-consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances:

“I have a great deal of respect for Dean Smith and the job he had done. Just to be mentioned in the same sentence with him is a great compliment. The most difficult thing about doing that here is that we have not had a lot of Arizona players. We have had to go into everyone else’s backyard. When I look back at the success we’ve had for that many years, I think the fact we’ve been so consistent with the population we have in this state, I think that is something. If you take a look at North Carolina, Kentucky ?- schools that are in heavily populated areas ?- that’s a whole lot easier to do than it is in our situation. But, the good thing is we are starting to see some really good players coming up now. Two of our players we signed this year are from Arizona (Jerryd Bayless and Zane Johnson). There is not a class from eighth grade on up that doesn’t have at least one kid we haven’t already targeted in Arizona, and more than one in most cases.”

 

On the importance of Mustafa Shakur playing well in the NCAA Tournament:

“We need he, Ivan, Marcus and Jawann - the guys who have been there are the guys that need to just be brimming with confidence and excitement. I think that’s what we are going to see.”

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