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February 27, 2012

Mike Krzyzewski

Q.  I wanted to ask you about the layoff, you had a layoff between Florida State and Virginia Tech.  I'm wondering how you're kind of handling practice to help the guys get their legs back a little?
MIKE KRZYZEWSKI:  Well, it's a challenge because you have three games in less than a week, and it's not the conventional week.  And it's started off with just a very, very difficult game against Florida State, and then Virginia Tech came after us hard.  So we're doing stuff ‑‑ like we didn't do anything yesterday except game preparation as a staff and met early this morning just to go through our game plan and will practice hard this afternoon.
But you've got to give them time off the court, and then what we're doing in the training room as far as getting their legs back.  Josh Hairston will not play against Wake Forest, just precautionary.  He's doing well, but he's still not 100 percent, so we're going to‑‑ we're keeping him out for the game, but everyone else should be ready to go.

Q.  Did Josh have a concussion?
MIKE KRZYZEWSKI:  You know, I'm not sure it was‑‑ he just got hit pretty hard.  You know, sometimes when you just say concussion, it seems‑‑ I don't know, everybody has the same thing.  Once you get hit in the head, you've got to be just careful with these kids, so we're‑‑ he's feeling better, but he's still not ready to go.

Q.  How does that affect your rotation with the three inside because Josh was starting to get a few more minutes?
MIKE KRZYZEWSKI:  Yeah, well, he's done a good job and has given us eight, ten minutes in a ballgame and even started two games.  We might have to use like Mike Gbinije there as a small second big, and Wake goes sometimes small with McKie at the four, just so we're prepared for that.

Q.  After the game Saturday, you talked about the intangibles that Tyler brings to the team.  Is that something that he displayed from the start of the year, or has he grown into that role more?  What's his progression with that?
MIKE KRZYZEWSKI:  Well, I think he's always shown, whether it be in high school, AAU, he's always had leadership qualities.  That's why we've liked him, and he's a winner and a team player.  He's a kid that easily immerses himself into winning, what he's doing and what we're doing.  Very confident in that regard.
You can only have so much of an impact on a team based on playing time.  I mean, he's helped us the last two years, but since he's been starting, those qualities‑‑ first of all, he's on the court longer and he gets better with those qualities, and his teammates see them more, and he has more of an impact on what we're doing, and I really think that his play has helped us improve a lot on the defensive end of the court.

Q.  And after he got to Duke was there a moment where you kind of realized you had something special as far as his‑‑
MIKE KRZYZEWSKI:  No, no, we knew when we recruited him that he would‑‑ I didn't know if he would start.  In fact, I told him you may not start when you're here, but you bring a lot to the table, and he's made the most of his opportunity.  I've always felt Tyler is just ahead of most of his‑‑ the kids his age as far as maturity goes and an understanding of a collective process instead of an individual one.

Q.  Miles is your only senior heading into his last week of the regular season.  He seems to be making a surge toward the end of his career.  Do you see that or‑‑
MIKE KRZYZEWSKI:  No, he's playing the best basketball of his career right now, and he came up with a couple great defensive rebounds against Virginia Tech and started the overtime with that drive and scored and then finished with two big free throws to give us a couple‑possession lead right at the end.
But his rebounding and just his athleticism and strength have really shown up.  I thought he was so important for us against Florida State down in Tallahassee.  It's good to see.  It's not like he hasn't helped us throughout his career, but I think he's playing really well right now.  I mean, very well.

Q.  Is this something you see a lot in a kid as his career winds down, he plays with a little sense of urgency or something?
MIKE KRZYZEWSKI:  You know, I'm sure there's a combination of things.  Sometimes kids don't completely get it until the end, and some kids don't get it even at the end.  I mean, I think he's figuring it out, and he's always been a great kid and a great teammate.  But right now he's at a high level.  15 rebounds, 22 rebounds in games, those are big‑time numbers.

Q.  You and your program are in a really familiar position here this week going into the last week of the regular season, but has it been more difficult than previous years or at least different in getting to this point again?
MIKE KRZYZEWSKI:  Oh, yeah, a lot different.  You can tell by the number of starting lineups.  We don't have one kid who's started every game.  You know, we've had nine different players start games.  And we've had our toughest schedule.  This has been a really tough schedule in a long year because it started with the summer tour.  So you have a chance for a team to run out of gas or get tired mentally and physically, and different guys have had to emerge and become consistent.  I really think right now our perimeter with Tyler, Austin and Seth have been really consistent, and then Andre comes up with big games.  We haven't been scoring inside as much as we had been, and if we can get that going again, then we'll be a little bit better.
This team has done a heck of a job, but you don't start out with Kyrie Irving and Nolan Smith and Kyle Singler or J.J. Reddick.  It's different, so I'm really proud of what they've done thus far, and hopefully we can continue to improve.

Q.  When you mentioned the inside scoring, too, I was going to ask you, is there one thing or even just a couple things you'd like to see your team‑‑
MIKE KRZYZEWSKI:  Well, I don't think we're finishing.  We're getting the ball down there, but we're not getting points.  Against Virginia Tech there were about eight plays, really, where you should score or get fouled.  And I'm not saying they fouled and we didn't score, but you should create a situation where you score, either by putting the ball in the basket or creating contact because you have an advantage of where you've received the ball.  Points should come from that, and about seven or eight of the possessions we didn't get anything.
Finishing is big, is really big.  We've missed dunks, and those are kind of demoralizing plays because you're in a high percentage efficiency position on the court to score, and then when you don't, it gives the other team a boost and knocks you back a little bit.

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