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CBS SPORTS CLASSIC


December 20, 2014


Thad Matta


CHICAGO, ILLINOIS

North Carolina テや 82
Ohio State - 74


THAD MATTA:テつ You guys, go ahead with questions.

Q.テつ Any general positives you took from today and general overview of where you believe you guys are at this point?
THAD MATTA:テつ You know, I think as I replay the game in my mind, I give North Carolina a lot of credit.テつ I mean, they made all the plays they needed to make when they needed to make them, and we weren't able, especially in the first half, to really draw the line and say, hey, we need some consecutive stops here, we need some consecutive scores.テつ Today they played like the team everybody I think thought they were going to be.テつ I thought that they were tremendous.
We seem to bring the best out of a lot of people.テつ For us, you could say a positive is scraping, clawing back into it, but we've got to figure out why we're getting in that position in the first half and even early into the second half.

Q.テつ What do you need to do to be maybe the best team in the Big Ten or at least a top‑two team in the Big Ten?テつ What progress do you need to make?
THAD MATTA:テつ Well, we've got to find an element about us just in terms of the focus on every single possession.テつ You look, both ways, there was a lot of high‑level plays made out there today, and just from the standpoint of a guy, elbow above the rim, blocking a shot both ways.テつ When that happens against you, you've got to pick yourself up and dust yourself off, and you've got to go back and you've got to make the next play.
When you're playing in a game of this magnitude, all the little things make a big difference towards the outcome of the game, and we had some plays early on in the game that didn't seem like much, but it all adds up, and I think that's the biggest thing we've got to try to get our guys to understand is it's possession by possession by possession every time you take the floor.

Q.テつ Are you getting enough production from your bigs?
THAD MATTA:テつ You know, I've been saying this the last couple weeks.テつ We need more production out of those guys, and it's not what everybody wants to say, I need touches.テつ Well, there's other things we can do to impact that, and obviously we want to get an inside game established, but there's got to be that element of consistency of knowing what we're going to get at all times.

Q.テつ In the first half what was Carolina doing offensively?テつ Were they making shots or were you not getting out and contesting?
THAD MATTA:テつ No, they were making shots.テつ A lot of times you try to play the percentages, and they hit early on a couple shots that ‑‑ we have charted every shot that has been made against us, and they made two in the first 10 minutes of the game where there's only been one shot made from there all season long, so I'm saying to myself, like, okay, that's okay, they can't make another one percentage‑wise, and then they make it on the other side the next time down the floor.テつ All right.
But I think it's the transition, the easier buckets we gave them.テつ And then we had chances to finish and didn't finish.テつ We had some right at the bucket, and their size affects that.テつ There's no doubt about it.

Q.テつ D'Angelo had some good looks, didn't go down, maybe took a few shots you probably didn't want him to take.テつ How do you assess the way he played the game today and how important is his production for the team's success?
THAD MATTA:テつ Well, D'Angelo is obviously a pivotal part of what we do.テつ He had some that really, really went in and out and I thought good looks.テつ The great thing about him is he wants to take the shot.テつ He doesn't remember the last shot.テつ He says, hey, give me the next one, and I love that about him.テつ I thought overall he had a pretty good command.テつ Unfortunately shots just didn't fall for him.

Q.テつ You get into a situation like this and your seniors have played a ton of big games in big environments and things like that.テつ I looked at halftime and I think the five of them had a combined 10 points and six rebounds and were shooting 10 of 30 or something like that, very low percentage.テつ They played much better in the second half.テつ Was there a message at halftime that we're leaning on you guys and you need to pick it up?テつ Where are you with that right now?
THAD MATTA:テつ No, I didn't, per se, say that.テつ It's more just in lines of the adjustments that we had to make.テつ Like you said, those guys have been in some big basketball games, but we have to figure out why we put ourselves in that position.テつ If it's those guys playing better or whatever it is playing better, those have got to be the things that we've got to collectively do a better job of.

Q.テつ Along the lines of how you got into that hole, it seemed some of the possessions resembled at Louisville where guys were trying to put the team on their back and do it all on their own several possessions in a row without working the half‑court set.テつ Was that troubling that they didn't have the patience to work the ball and try to get the good shot, instead tried to get it to the rim and could never get the ball to the rim?
THAD MATTA:テつ Well, yeah, definitely, but I think a lot of that goes to Carolina's defense.テつ That's one of the best defenses in the country, and you look at the size, you've got to make‑‑ you're going to have to make some tough shots in order to beat those guys just in terms of their length.テつ We had a couple possessions where we really, really moved the basketball and missed open shots, but you've got to stay and you've got to do it the next possession, you've got to do it the next possession.テつ I think those are things that we have to continue to build on in terms of getting ourselves better and putting ourselves in a better position early on in basketball games.

Q.テつ D'Angelo looks like full of life, energy, all that kind of stuff.テつ What's it like coaching him?
THAD MATTA:テつ Well, it's a pleasure coaching him because he cares.テつ D'Angelo wants to win, most importantly.テつ He wants to be a great player.テつ He's a kid that's very hard on himself, which is a good thing.テつ We need more guys like that that know they didn't particularly shoot the ball well or whatever, but chances are he'll probably be in the gym tonight when we get back.

Q.テつ This was obviously D'Angelo's first game against this type of length.テつ I don't know if that affected his shooting or not, but what does he have to learn from this game as far as going against those kind of defenders?
THAD MATTA:テつ Well, you know, I think he's at times maybe shooting the pull‑up as opposed to one more dribble because he has a great mid‑range game.テつ When you get in there amongst 6'10", 6'10", and 6'8" swiping at it, it makes it a little bit more of a challenge, but maybe just the one quick dribble because he's elusive with the ball, he can get by guys, but by the same token he finds guys.テつ We didn't do a great job moving for him when he stepped up trying to find guys.

Q.テつ You've talked about how you continued to show the Louisville tape, and at times maybe it's been hard between now and then how to assess how far you guys have actually come.テつ Now that you've played another team on your level and on Louisville's level, how do you assess the growth of your team?テつ Are you happy with where you guys are standing a few days away from Big Ten play?
THAD MATTA:テつ Yeah, I think there's obviously issues.テつ We've got two losses to two really, really, really good basketball teams, great basketball teams.テつ I think to put ourselves in that position, we've got to look ourselves in the mirror and say, hey, we're not there yet, which is fine, but we've got to look at all the little things that we have to do to get better and get that established.テつ Knowing that it's‑‑ I don't want to say it's early, but it's still December, we've got January, February, March still to play basketball.テつ How much better can we get in that time.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports




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