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January 18, 2019

Zach McRoberts

Bloomington, Indiana

Q. Zach, Coach just talked about trying to get some of the younger guys further down the bench into a position where they can contribute more, and I know that you can't just sort of throw them into the fire without making sure they are ready. As an older guy maybe, how do you try to help guys like a Damezi or Clifton or Jake to get ready to be able to contribute at this level playing Big Ten competition week-in and week-out?
ZACH McROBERTS: I think through practice, they have shown that they can play, and just gives them the confidence that they can go in there and impact the game. They don't necessarily need to score right away but just playing hard, defending, knowing certain actions. I think that can only help us be a deeper team, play harder.

So they definitely have opinion guys that have been good in practice.

Q. What goes into improving the effort level that Coach was talking about Monday night?
ZACH McROBERTS: I think that's just something that's got to come from the team, me and Juwan getting guys ready. Just going out and playing hard. I think that's something that will come from us, and just having guys ready, like I said.

Q. To that point, what have you guys done this week? Obviously when you have a performance like Monday, that's not something you want to have again. What did you do to get across the degree to which that was not acceptable?
ZACH McROBERTS: Just getting after it in practice. I think that's the biggest thing we can do right now, preparing guys through practice. Setting the energy level, setting the tone, just to be ready.

Q. Coach was saying he thinks you guys lost confidence defensively. What goes into changing that? Is it just a matter of getting stops and stringing things together, or does anything have to change to get back that confidence?
ZACH McROBERTS: I think just getting back to our principles and getting back to our base concepts and executing those as well as we can as we have earlier in the season. I think just getting back to that would be the right step for us.

Q. Going up a against Carson, one of the best in the Big Ten, how do you game plan? Are there things you try to take away or limit everything? What's the approach?
ZACH McROBERTS: It's tough. They run a lot of actions for him. Just be ready to come off screens. They run a lot of actions like that. I guess just having the right mindset, knowing their plays, that's a step in the right direction.

Q. The 12-day break around Christmas, did that give you an opportunity to heal up a little bit, or did that cause any of what we've seen here since Christmas?
ZACH McROBERTS: I think that's a good break for guys. Being a little banged up, having a little time to rest and recover, that's always important.

So having that break, I think that definitely helped heal us physically, mentally, kind of refresh, recharge our batteries, get back to work.

Q. You're a guy who has been around this IU - Purdue game for a couple years. Is there anything you or the older guys try to instill in the younger players about not only the importance of the game in the Big Ten standings, but that it's an IU - Purdue game?
ZACH McROBERTS: Yeah, obviously it's important to not only us but our fans. People around the state, it's a huge game, and it's not just your average game. It's the IU - Purdue game, big rivalry game. Just trying to instill that into guys, having them be ready, that's a big thing.

Q. You're one of only a couple of guys on this roster that's played at Mackey. Do you talk about the physical experience, obviously the crowd but also maybe the way the court plays, the baskets, the sight lines, those kind of things. Just because they have never seen that environment a lot of them, but they have never seen the arena.
ZACH McROBERTS: Yeah, I think that's something once we get there, people kind of adjust to, but obviously the crowd is going to be a huge factor. They don't like us very much up there. It's definitely an interesting environment.

Q. Against Nebraska you struggled defensively against the pick-and-roll. What have you guys done to try and address that in practice since then, whether it's just an emphasis on help-side defense or hedging those screens, what has it been?
ZACH McROBERTS: Just been a lot of ball screen work in practice, I would say, just to try to correct those things, and we've been working on it since then.

Q. Going back to the Mackey, what differentiates it from any other kind of environment you've played in your career and how do you feel this team, being as young as it is, will adapt to it, being a nationally televised game, middle of Saturday afternoon, things like that?
ZACH McROBERTS: Obviously every environment in the Big Ten is a little hostile, but there's just something special about Purdue. I think the amount they hate us goes into that.

Just being ready for that, I think that's going to be good to adjust to quick. Obviously playing on the road's never easy, but looking forward to it.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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