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January 24, 2011

Tony Bennett

COACH BENNETT: I thought Aaron Rodgers was terrific in the opening drive, and in that first quarter, the Packers were -- what did you say about basketball? Are we talking about football here? My assistant Coach Williford is a huge Steeler fan, so we'll have some interesting times in the next few weeks. But we're still excited about the Packer victory here.
No, we came off a Georgia Tech game where we got back to playing solid basketball at home, and preparing for certainly a very good Maryland team. Still just trying to be as good as we can for the entirety of the game.
We've had stretches of solid basketball, and we're trying to put it together to play for a longer stretch. Just, I can't always say, well, this this guy has to step up. It's been different guys at different times that have led us and stepped up. And whenever our veterans can play at a high level, as Mustapha did against Georgia Tech, that is certainly very helpful.

Q. Do you think as your team settles into the fact that Mike Scott will not be there the rest of this year? Because sometimes it takes a guy that is such an integral part of things for three and a half years and it takes an adjustment period. Do you think you're into that period now?
COACH BENNETT: Yeah, I mean, certainly he's missed. I was asked that question after our game against Georgia Tech. It's hard to replace what he brought to the table. But we have to be a different kind of team, and that's what we're continuing to discover.
We've tried to make some adjustments and put our guys in the best spots to play without a player that was averaging a good amount of points and rebounds for us. So we're trying to score in just different ways, defend, be smarter with our defense.
I think now it's been -- I don't know the number of games -- but it's been enough to where you're not wondering, okay, once he's going to have his surgery and it was made clear that he wouldn't be back. All right. Here's what we have. Now we have to work with this rotation. I think that gives some of the guys in the rotation a comfort that I know I'm going in. I know I'm going to be called upon.
I think that we're in a better place than when we were uncertain of his status. So, again, he's missed. But there are guys that are at times when we've played well that have stepped up. Whether it's Assane or whether we've used Akil Mitchell in there, Will Sherrill will hopefully continue to get healthy with his leg, and we're just trying to find ways to be effective.

Q. With Maryland coming up, and of course Jordan Williams being one of the more relentless players inside, what kind of challenges does that pose in particular?
COACH BENNETT: Every game out that you play there are different kinds of challenges. But with Maryland I certainly respect Coach Williams and how he prepares his team and how they're going to come in and be tough minded and aggressive.
Then you have a player like Jordan. He can really change the game. When he gets going, they play at a high very high level. You can see that. Just with his size, and his touch, and ability to play on the glass, you really better do a good job, make him earn. And they have other capable players, but he's certainly been at times a dominant player. We're going to have to be well aware of him in all aspects of the game.

Q. You're coming off a home court win over Georgia Tech. They're a team with an amazing road-home split. When you watch tape of them, can you see why they're so much tougher on the road than at home?
COACH BENNETT: I really focused on their home games. Their last two games I watched them because they played so watched the last few games because they played so well. And those were their last two games, and you always assume you're going to get a team at its best.
We looked at that, and I think their ability to shoot to turn teams over, you know, whether it's Shumpert or, against us, Rice did not have as strong of a game as he had been, and that was significant. But I think they've got momentum and when the they've got momentum, they become dangerous. And for whatever reason they haven't had that as much on the road. I mean, that is the home court advantage in a lot of ways.
But still capable and a dangerous team. They played hard. They're physical guys and they play hard. So I just really try to focus on the last two games. But I think to turn people over and get their perimeter guys going, that's what's helped them in the games they've played well.

Q. I brought them up because their split is the most extreme. Everybody has a home-road advantage, disadvantage. Burr halfway through your second year in this league, do you think this league is more, because everything is on campus, almost, is this league more of a home court league than some of the other places you've been to?
COACH BENNETT: I was an assistant at Wisconsin for the Big Ten. And certainly as an assistant and Head Coach in the Pac 10. I think the Big Ten is interesting.
I think this is similar to the Big Ten. I do think there is a home court advantage in specific instances for certain teams it's very impressive. But for our team, I'll just look at our team, until you're really established and have that home crowd behind you, I mean, really have some experience, some veterans, and some success, then that home court becomes really a place.
And that's what we're trying to do here and every teams trying to make it. I think with some teams in our league it's a terrific advantage being at home. And teams that are still fighting to get respectability and become good, it's maybe not as much as others.
I don't know Georgia Tech's home court attendance and all that. But some guys just have a comfort level at home. That's what you try to do as a coach to gain them to -- try to not treat them both the same, but have your system and your style hold up in different settings.
But I do think the difference here is some teams it's one of the best home court advantages. Obviously, you know the ones we're talking about. And that would be the case, I thought, in the Big Ten too in some of those situations. Maybe it's the on campus arenas or just the following and the success of the programs there is an expectation there.

End of FastScripts

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