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March 5, 2012

Mike Krzyzewski

Q.  I wanted to ask you a question about your defense.  Statistically this has not been one of your better defensive teams, but you've told us that you thought you played defense well in spurts at times.  Is that increasing or are you happy with that, or is it still a concern?
MIKE KRZYZEWSKI:  Well, I think really most teams do it like that.  I don't think anybody plays great defense all the time.  I think you‑‑ when I look at our defense, I look at what we're doing now, so stats, when we played a really difficult‑‑ if you look at our schedule and look at where the teams have finished around the country that we've played, it's a remarkable schedule.  So people said that we were playing bad defense based on stats from a very difficult schedule as opposed to other schedules.
So I look at what happens in the conference and at what's happened in the last month, and we've played really good defense at times, and our three‑point‑‑ the three‑point defense has been either the best or next to best in the conference, and we're probably middle of the road in field goal percentage.  The points are irrelevant because it's differential.  They're different styles.
You know, we've had great defensive teams here, so the standard is so high.  We've had more national defensive players of the year than anybody, and we don't have that.  We probably wouldn't have a kid who's on a first‑team defense.  So we need to rely on team stuff, and we're pretty good.  You know, we're pretty good, but we're not outstanding.
So I just think that's who we are.  You know, that's who we are.

Q.  I wanted to ask you along those lines, some of the guys the other night said that, again, they let their lack of shooting success affect their defense on the other end, and that's something you've talked about in the past this year.  Is there anything else, any ideas on what you try to say to them to get past that at this point in the season?
MIKE KRZYZEWSKI:  Well, I think that because that's a habit, it can reoccur.  We're more of an offensive team than a defensive team, minded‑wise, just naturally.  And that's the makeup of who we are.  In fact, we'd better do well offensively if it has a positive impact on our defense.
Against North Carolina on Saturday, I didn't think we played any defense during that first half, and then in parts of the second half‑‑ like we had a chance to make it interesting, and then‑‑ we could have cut it to eight points on two occasions with open shots, so our defense put us in a good enough position to get us there.  But that's just who we are.  Again, you can tell them not to do that, but I tell them to block out and they don't always block out.
It's going to happen, and hopefully it doesn't happen‑‑ I mean, it's reoccurred during the season, and hopefully during this postseason we can eliminate that.

Q.  You talked about things like the defense coming and going and the blocking out.  Going into the postseason, are you confident with this team, or is it like you were saying Saturday night‑‑
MIKE KRZYZEWSKI:  That happens with every team.  Not everybody‑‑ who they are is they're a bunch of human beings who are 19 to 22, and they're 26 and 5.  They've had a hell of a year, and I'm confident about who we are.  I wish we were faster, I wish I had bigger wings.  There's a bunch of things you can wish for, but who we are has been very good.  I mean, it's been really good.
You know, more people can beat this team than some of my teams in the past.  But again, out of 31 occasions, 26 of them, these kids have won.  So they've proven that they can win.  And I'm confident that they'll have that type of attitude going forward, but they're going to make mistakes while they're playing in each of the games that they're playing, like every team.

Q.  Can you just talk about the mentality of I guess spending several months pursuing the regular season ACC championship and then the quick turnaround to go after a different kind of title?
MIKE KRZYZEWSKI:  We don't spend too much time pursuing an ACC regular season title.  We spend that amount of time just trying to develop our team and win as many games as possible.  Throughout the year, the main goal for your team, for a team, is to land a spot in the NCAA tournament, because only about 20 percent of the teams get there in our country.
And then if you have an opportunity as a result of pursuing that goal to win your regular season, then it's there, and we had that, and then we lost the game against North Carolina.  So it's easy to get on to the next thing because that wasn't‑‑ that's not an ultimate goal.  The main goal is to make the tournament and be as high a seed as you possibly can, and then whatever happens as a result of pursuing‑‑ to me that's a higher goal.  Whatever happens with that‑‑ like now we have a chance to win the ACC tournament along with everyone else.  That would help us get a better seed and get better prepared for the NCAA tournament.
But it's really very easy to get on to the next thing.

Q.  Your guys just seem to enjoy winning the ACC tournament.  Is that something that over the years just because you've won a great many of them, just becomes engrained, just becomes so natural to them that they really don't even have to talk about it much among themselves?
MIKE KRZYZEWSKI:  No, no.  Each group is different.  We've had obviously great success in winning 10 of the last 13 and three in a row.  But each team is different.  We just try to do our best there, and we think it's a great, great tournament, and it's a celebration of our conference, and we've won some close games in it, which put us in a position to then play for a championship on Sunday afternoon on a number of occasions.  And then we've won a lot of those occasions.
We just think it's an important event before you go to the next even more important event, which is the NCAA tournament.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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