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February 20, 2012

Mike Krzyzewski

Q.  When you're following a team that beat you in Durham on the road; there any emotional tool you can use to prepare your team more for that game?
MIKE KRZYZEWSKI:  I think any team when they lose to somebody wants to‑‑ there's a little bit more incentive to try to beat the team the next time you play them.
But other than that, we thought we played‑‑ I watched the game on the plane late last night coming back from Boston College, and you know, I thought it was just a heck of a game.  I thought both teams were unbelievably sharp and really was one play either way could have won the game.
So I hope we play as well down there.  They played really well at NC State.  I watched that early this morning.  I mean, they are good.  They are old and they are experienced.  They play great defense, and they look like they have outstanding camaraderie.  They had that the day we played them.

Q.  You talk about winning championships as the goal of your program, there's an ACC regular season championship at stake and you have your fate in your own hands the last two weeks and no one else really does.  How big a goal is that?  I know it's just the first of one‑‑
MIKE KRZYZEWSKI:  I think it's just the next one.  You know, the thing‑‑ one thing with the regular season, it's unbalanced.  The schedule is unbalanced.
And you know, I'm not saying you can just figure out year‑to‑year sometime someone is going to have a little bit more of an advantage than someone else.  And in the tournament, that's really who is recognized as the ACC champ.  That's the one that gets the automatic bid from every conference.
And so you know, in the last 20 years or so, I think I've put a little bit more emphasis on the tournament because it's been recognized that way.  And the more unbalanced the schedule gets, you still‑‑ I mean, the regular season is still very important, but the tournament takes on a little bit different‑‑ it's like the showcase event; then obviously what you can do in the NCAA Tournament.

Q.  You mentioned how well Florida State plays defense, on the brink of leading the league four straight years in field goal percentage.  Besides the obvious size they have, what about the way they guard you has been so effective these last few seasons?
MIKE KRZYZEWSKI:  Yeah, you know, they have the great combination that you can't teach of length and quickness.  You can't simulate that in a practice.  You know, the length that they come at you, and then they are quick, they have good athletic ability.
And this team is really deep.  So they come at you with nine or ten guys; so they are fresh.  They are experienced.  They have length and they have quickness.  And then they are well coached in their principles.  They do a great job of teaching man‑to‑man defense.  It's a combination that will produce the results that they have.  Leonard has done a great job of not just teaching it, but recruiting to his system.

Q.  When you look at some of the big shots Boston has hit, can you just talk about‑‑ everybody wants to shoot the shot but the process of earning that trust and that right, and some guys have a certain calmness that enables them to drive and hit those shots consistently, I would imagine.
MIKE KRZYZEWSKI:  Sometimes you're set up to take the shot.  Sometimes the shot just comes to you.
You know, the fact is, like in Snaer's situation, I just think he has a great will to win.  It doesn't matter what his percentage was in the ballgame.  At the end of the game, the kid wants to win.  I think he's really one of the outstanding competitors in the country.  And so he has a great will to win, and then he has the ability to do that.  Often‑‑ and at a little bit younger age, and that's a great thing to have.

Q.  You've had two remarkable comebacks in the last two weeks.  What qualities does a team have to be able to come back, and do you ever get to a point in the game where you think, I don't know if we can do it.
MIKE KRZYZEWSKI:  Well, I think human nature has you thinking that at times, and then you can't fall prey to human nature.  You just have to say, we can still win if we can do these things and be positive.
I do think our team has shown a great will to win, and they have shown that the entire season.  In Maui we showed it at different stages and in the season we have shown it.  We have become a pretty good defensive team, so we can make some stops.  But we can shoot the ball.
So part of coming back is scoring.  Our guys pretty much believe they can score, and when you're coming back sometimes like that, you can get on a roll because they are like free shots.  Like what do you have to lose?  We are down by 15 or you're down by 11 or you're down, in one case, by 20.  Come on.  If there's no pressure, let's go.  And all of a sudden you get on a little bit of a roll, you get a couple stops, and then we have been able to hit a number of 3s.  So that cuts possessions down; one and a half possessions if you hit a three, that type of thing.
So we are set up a little bit more to come back.  Hopefully we won't have to do much coming back.  That would be a nice goal for our team.

Q.  What to you as a coach is a more amazing comeback, the 12 in two and a half minutes or the down 20‑‑
MIKE KRZYZEWSKI:  I'm not going to compare.  Both are just terrific wins for us.  You know, I think that the North Carolina game, they didn't do anything wrong.  I mean, they missed a free throw or two, and I think they had one turnover.
They just missed some shots, and then we hit our shots.  North Carolina's fate was over a little bit of an extended period of time.  So they are just big‑time wins for our team, and you know, really proud of the way they hung in there and were able to win those games.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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