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January 23, 2012

Mike Krzyzewski

Q.  I was wondering if you could just talk in general about how you handle a loss with your players and then how maybe that's different, how it might change for a game in which your guys obviously played so well against Florida State compared to maybe against Ohio State or Temple.
MIKE KRZYZEWSKI:  Well, it's more than how we handle a performance.  You know, you might win and not perform well, and so we would be hard on our guys about that.  You can lose and not play well, and you're going to be hard, and you can lose and play really well, and it's just a little bit different reaction.
Instead of using the word losing, I would say poor performances are what we spend a lot of time reacting to, and hopefully that's one reasonI think we haven't had as many over the years.¬† I would just look at it as a‑‑ have you had a good performance or a poor performance, and then how can you perform better, and that's how we react to every game, wins or losses.

Q.  When you actually go into the locker room after a game to talk to your guys, is there a difference of how you handle the situation at that point?
MIKE KRZYZEWSKI:  By performance, yeah, by performance.  We've played really hard, and then I'm going to tell them that we've played really hard and we won, we played really hard and we lost.  If we haven't played hard or we've done something that's not very intelligent, then I'm going to tell them that.  In other words, you tell them the truth, and it's not just based on winning and losing, it's based on performance, and performance takes care of winning.  Hopefully it takes care of losing, too.

Q.¬† The last thing, is there any difference in your mind in terms of needing to rebuild their confidence as opposed‑‑ if you have a‑‑
MIKE KRZYZEWSKI:¬† If they haven't performed well, it's about renewing my confidence, not their confidence.¬† I mean, they‑‑ but again, overall, our guys have done a pretty good job.¬† If you lose, you're busting it the whole game and you just lose, I mean, I'm very positive with our kids if that happens.¬† I've been that most of my career.

Q.  What makes Florida State so dangerous?
MIKE KRZYZEWSKI:¬† Well, they're the most experienced, the oldest team in our league, and they're as deep as anybody, and they play really good defense.¬† You know, they have men.¬† They have six guys who are seniors, two post‑grads and then James who's older because of his military service.¬† I mean, they're just different than anybody in our league.¬† It's easy to see that they're very well coached.
I think since Miller has come back, it's made them harder to guard because when you bring him off the bench, I mean, he's an explosive scorer, and they didn't have him for probably more than half their season.¬† I think he's‑‑ he's probably been there about half the time now, and since he's come back, they're just better.

Q.  Could you talk about handling the emotional up and downs of a season, particularly when they lost three in a row, they were 0 and 2 against Ivy League schools, and now they had just a great week.  I know you can't speak to them, but in general, how do coaches handle those emotional up and downs of a long season?
MIKE KRZYZEWSKI:¬† Oh, I mean, you can write a book about that.¬† You can't give one sentence.¬† You handle it professionally.¬† You handle it positively.¬† You give‑‑ the next effort you give is your best effort.¬† I mean, you just do it by consistently giving your best effort.
One thing about teams that I would hope everyone realizes is that teams are ever evolving, and who you were a week ago is not who you are this next week, and you just hope that you're evolving into a better team.  And that's your goal as you go through the season.
I'm sure that Leonard has done that.¬† He looks like he's done that with his team.¬† They play a good schedule, and again, they didn't have their full complement.¬† Having Miller back helps them a lot.¬† It helps them a lot.¬† I'm not saying he's‑‑ I think Snaer is terrific.¬† James, Gibson had a heck of a game against us.¬† They're big, long, very athletic, and they're evolving.¬† And when you win, kids get more confidence, too, in what you're doing and what you're asking them to do and what they are doing on their own on the court.

Q.  Can you give us an update on Quinn Cook?  Obviously he wasn't able to do very much Saturday.
MIKE KRZYZEWSKI:  Yeah, he had a tough week with his knee, and he was sick during the week.  Young guys especially, they can get knocked back real quick.  They're not accustomed to the grind of game after game, week after week, and he just was not able to practice at the level that he had been practicing at.  So hopefully he'll be healthier this week and be more of a factor for our team.

Q.¬† Obviously he had the knee problems over the summer from two summers ago‑‑
MIKE KRZYZEWSKI:¬† Yeah, what happened to his knee was not‑‑ it was bruised.¬† It had nothing to do with what happened this summer.¬† I wanted to clear that up.

Q.  I'm just wondering, when your team hits a shot like that in the final five seconds of a game and the opposing team goes right back down the court, what's the thing that you stress with your defense that you most want them to do?
MIKE KRZYZEWSKI:¬† Well, on that play‑‑ normally, because there's a guy taking the ball out of bounds, so you can have two on one on the ball handler.¬† We had that set up, and we didn't funnel them into the big.¬† You should corral them at three quarter court.¬† We had it down the sideline, and Loucks beat it and went down the middle. ¬†Seconds, your milliseconds, tenths of seconds are all important, and if you can get him to just hold up instead of having that burst‑‑ he was able to get that burst because he beat that corral.

Q.  Obviously your upcoming game at Maryland is going to be preceded by kind of an emotionally charged ceremony with the court being named for Gary Williams, and I wonder if you could comment on what that environment is like for your players in a typical game when you visit Comcast, and if you have any thoughts about how the ceremony for Gary might kind of inflame passions or make it a bit more hostile or complicated or enthused, if at all.
MIKE KRZYZEWSKI:  Well, first of all, I've done a couple things to congratulate Gary on that privately, so it's a big night for him.  That's the very first thing.  I'm happy for him, and it's a great honor to have your school do that, especially him being a graduate of the school.
As far as them being more hostile or emotional, they are all the time, so I don't know if that will get them more.  They have a great crowd all the time when they're playing us, so whether Gary, the court was named after him before the game or not, I would expect them to give us their best shot.

Q.¬† Since we've got a second, can I ask you something historical?¬† About 10, 12 years ago you guys went through a streak of 24 straight conference road wins, which is by far the longest in conference history.¬† Looking back, would you try to‑‑ I'm just trying to get a grasp of that, how significant that was and what that meant.
MIKE KRZYZEWSKI:  Well, it was pretty significant.  I mean, otherwise we would have done it more than once and other people would have done it.  I just think it speaks to how good we were and how competitive that group was, or those groups were, and that they liked playing on the road.  You have to somehow like the challenge of playing on the road.
When we've had our really good teams here, they loved it, and that group, those groups, really loved it.  But that'll be one of those streaks that'll be very difficult to break.  It's difficult.  It's just a very difficult thing.

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