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March 10, 2007
COACH MATT PAINTER: I thought our guys played very hard today and did a good job of executing what we wanted to do defensively. We had a couple breakdowns. Throughout the course of the game we did a good job of making some adjustments, but we just had a difficult time rebounding the basketball.
When it comes down to it, you just can't give those guys that many chances. And I thought Carl did a good job on (Greg) Oden. We tried our best to contain the dribble because we know if he has to help often, it's going to lead to a tip dunk if he misses. So we tried to keep Carl (Landry) with him as much as possible, but if a guy is going to get a lay-up, he's got to go over and try to take a charge and contest it, and it's close to impossible for a guard to drop on the opposite side to box him out.
That's probably something that if we could go back, if we could do a better job of, is just try to keep the guys in front of him so he wouldn't have to help and put us in that bind. But they're very good and they're very quick, and obviously he's a difference-maker when you can rebound the basketball like that.
But our guys did a good job. I thought down the stretch the last seven or eight minutes of the game we did some very good things. The ball just didn't go in the basket for us.
And you can't confuse shooting poorly in the last eight, nine minutes with playing poorly because I thought our guys went right after them and competed and didn't back down. We just did not make enough shots in the last ten minutes of the game.
Q. Dave, you had a 43-40 lead, and Carl hit a couple free throws, but then like Coach said you got in the stretch and you couldn't hit some shots. The looks were there. Is that the frustrating part of this game is some shots were there and they ran it out from there?
DAVID TEAGUE: Definitely because we felt like we did a good job of carrying our assignments for the most part of the day. Guards were hooked up defensively and we made some big stops, came away with key rebounds, but just couldn't connect offensively, and that's always frustrating when you give yourself a chance on the defensive end and make stops and make plays and get a good offensive look and it doesn't go down for you. I think that's what hurt us down the stretch, not being able to make that shot when we needed it.
Q. Carl, Matta talked about how Oden played 32 minutes this game and I think he's playing a lot stronger now with the cast off and in better shape than he was earlier. Did you notice a difference in him at all today than the first two match-ups earlier in the season?
CARL LANDRY: Yeah, I noticed that the cast was off, and then after that I just tried to play as great of D on him as I could. He's just a great player down there on the blocking end, on the defensive end. I was just trying to do all the little things I could to avoid him from having a good game. He's just a great player.
Q. Is there anybody like him?
CARL LANDRY: No, I think he's one of the best -- that's why he's up for national Player of the Year, because he's just a great player. He can rebound the ball, he can defend, and it's just his presence. I don't think I've ever played against a player like Greg Oden. His presence, he's more to a team than anybody else. He's just a great player, just his presence on the court that makes him as great as he is.
Q. Carl, just how much does he also impact things that he doesn't actually -- when he doesn't block a shot, it seems like he also changed a lot of things. It seems like sometimes players have him in the back of their mind when they're shooting the ball. Does he have almost a psychological impact, too?
CARL LANDRY: Yeah, he's like 7-1 and he's long, athletic and moves. Even if he doesn't block a shot he's going to alter it because he's very athletic and long. You've always got it in the back of your head like where is he at. But you've just got to take the ball to the hoop strong and try to get the shot in the hoop.
Q. How do you guys feel? You've played some really good ball in the last 10, 12 games. Do you feel like you've done everything you could do at this point to go to the NCAA Tournament?
DAVID TEAGUE: I think so. I think we've played good basketball all year, had some good wins all year, and I think we've been playing some good basketball of late, and I think we finished strong down the stretch.
We feel like we're an NCAA Tournament team, and hopefully the selection committee feels the same way. We just have to be optimistic and just have confidence that we are one of the NCAA Tournament teams, and hopefully we'll get there.
Q. Along those lines for both you guys, I know you feel pretty good about your chances, but what are the next 24 to 48 hours going to be like before the selection show?
CARL LANDRY: I might not even be able to sleep tonight. My heart is going to be racing pretty fast and hoping that we do get one of those bids tomorrow.
DAVID TEAGUE: Probably watching a lot of SportsCenter over and over (laughter).
Q. David, if you're watching SportsCenter, do you think you're going to see that Oden dunk a couple times? They say people stop practice when he makes those moves. Do you guys shake your heads after the game at that?
DAVID TEAGUE: Yeah, I mean, even though he's so tall and athletic, you would assume it's a given for him to make plays, but you still, during the course of a game, catch yourself in awe he's such a great player. The things that he's able to do at that size is just tremendous.
I mean, he's so gifted. It's almost great to watch him, watch him play. But you try not to get caught up in it while you're playing the game. But sometimes you're out there and you kind of catch yourself in awe of some of the moves and some of the plays he makes.
Q. Oden is kind of the cornerstone of that defense, but talk about the rest of Ohio State's defense, especially late in the second half.
DAVID TEAGUE: They did a good job. I think they did a good job pressuring the basketball. They did a good job being physical on screens and kind of making it tough to catch the ball.
But I think we got our good looks, had a lot of good looks in good scoring positions where we wanted it. We just weren't able to knock it down. I think you have to give them credit for playing physical and stepping up their defense in intensity. That's where the credit lies, when shots don't fall, the defense usually gets the credit for that.
Q. I'm sure it's frustrating to have played them tough for the third time and come out on the wrong side, and you know you don't want moral victories, but do you feel perhaps you played them the way people wanted to see Purdue play them to convince people that you belong in the NCAA Tournament, playing them pretty tough for 31, 32 minutes or so?
DAVID TEAGUE: I think so. We still didn't reach our goal of playing them tough for 40 minutes. The No. 1 team in the nation, that's what it's going to take, a 40-minute effort. You can't half step it against a great team like Ohio State and expect to win. So I think we did play some good basketball out there for a nice stretch out there. I think we proved that we belong in the NCAA Tournament and that we belong up against any team in the nation.
I think the last three times we've played them we've gotten better each time. They were able to capitalize on some of the mistakes we made in the three games, but I think we've played them as tough as anybody else, especially them being the No. 1 team in the nation. We have all the confidence in the world that we can play with anyone. Hopefully we'll get in the tournament and get a chance to prove it.
THE MODERATOR: We'll finish up with Coach Painter, please.
Q. Who's the best college basketball player you've ever seen, and if it's not Greg, how does he compare?
COACH MATT PAINTER: Glenn Robinson - I'm obviously biased - but was pretty good in his two-year stretch.
Greg Oden is just different. I would probably as a player want Glenn Robinson because as a player I didn't know enough about winning. I think as a coach I'd take Greg Oden just because he dominates the game. He's got nine offensive rebounds. We got nine as a team today. He changes the game.
Glenn changes the game offensively. He changes the game offensively and defensively. And just like Carl says, it's a presence. It's more than his stats, it's more than his actual game, he's just affecting everything at all times. You can't really put a value on that.
I didn't see obviously guys like George McGinnis, guys that dominated, Cazzie Russell, guys of that nature, so I really can't say. Calbert Cheaney was pretty good, Jim Jackson was pretty good when I played. I don't think they're the level of Greg Oden because of the things I just mentioned, how he changes everything.
Q. This probably isn't the most obvious thing to ask first off, but it seemed like there in the final minutes, you making offense, defense substitutions, calling timeouts, urging your team not to foul, how much were you trying to manage the final score?
COACH MATT PAINTER: No, I wasn't trying to manage the final score. We were trying to foul Mike Conley, and they didn't put the ball in Mike Conley's hands.
So I just thought with the percentages with Jamar Butler and he kept the ball in his hands and then the shot clock got down to 15 or 16 and you've went that long in that particular possession, that's why I was saying no foul. I started screaming it so they'd understand it. There's no sense in fouling for 20 seconds off the clock, you might as well try to get a stop and then try to play through that.
We were trying to foul Oden if he got a rebound on a miss and we were trying to foul Mike, and I really didn't want to foul the rest of those guys because they're very good free throw shooters and it didn't make sense at that point. We were trying to win the game still.
Q. If you were coaching Oden and he asked you about his future, what would you tell him?
COACH MATT PAINTER: Obviously I would say it's bright.
Q. If you wanted him to stay for five years.
COACH MATT PAINTER: If you're the one that's coaching him you want him to stay the whole time, but also you invest in a person when you sign him, and you want what's best for that person. When they're making that decision about their future after the season, I think that parents and people that are close to them their entire life need to weigh in on that, and if they ask you to weigh in on it as a coach, you give your opinion on what you think is right for that individual.
I can't make a stab at that without knowing him personally because I don't think that's fair for an opposing coach to step in on that delicate of a situation.
Q. You mentioned the rebounding. Carl had two. Is that okay? He was obviously doing other things and had to be consumed with defending Oden.
COACH MATT PAINTER: It's very difficult obviously to guard him. It's very difficult to guard him without a backup. Think about what he has to do. I'm telling him everything to do on hedge screens, post defense, when (Orthello) Hunter is with him, when (Matt) Terwilliger is with him, when (Ivan) Harris is with him, we try to do different things. And every time I say it, I finish it with "and do not foul him." Not as much as putting him to the free-throw line or trying to wear him down, just to try to keep Carl Landry in the game. When he is around the basket, we do not help on drives, we stay with him.
If a guy is going to get a lay-up you've got to go stop it. But if you miss it, it doesn't really matter because now he's getting the rebound. And that's what you saw happen late in the game. Our guys were getting blown by off the drive, didn't contain the dribble, and now there he is cleaning up getting tip dunks, and there's just not a whole lot you can do.
I thought Carl (Landry) did a good job. Obviously I'd like to see him get more rebounds, obviously I'd like to see him keep him off the glass more, but that's easier said than done. I think he's given a great effort for us; I thought he gave a great effort tonight. He did some things and brought it out on the court, he made his shots, made some free throws, played within himself for the most part and didn't have a lot of turnovers.
A lot of times in these games when we struggle to score, he really presses. I thought tonight he didn't press and he stayed with -- we just didn't have enough guys make shots down the stretch, but it wasn't from a lack of effort.
Q. I want to ask a question that probably won't find its way back to Greg Oden. When you're playing with a team where you're playing with three guys who have kind of been playing sore all year in Kramer, Landry and Teague, maybe Landry, and you play on back-to-back days at the end of the season, and after 32 minutes wrestling with Greg Oden, just, I mean, is it natural maybe to expect your team to wear down a little bit? Was there any fatigue?
COACH MATT PAINTER: I don't think so. You really cannot gauge it because you don't know with somebody shooting -- with some of the shots that we took from the percentages, there's no doubt as you wear down, that can happen. But I don't know how you really gauge it because I've seen those guys make shots in back-to-back games in Maui, where we played three games in row.
Now it's at the end of the year. I give them a lot of time off. We gave (David) Teague and (Chris) Kramer one day off because of their knees. They take them. I trust them to know their body and know what's best for them. But they're both competitive, and Carl (Landry) is competitive.
They made more plays than us. I think sometimes we overanalyze things. They simply made more shots and made more plays and did a better job on the glass.
Q. I know you don't want to lobby, but do you think this is an NCAA team, your team?
COACH MATT PAINTER: Yes, I think we've been very consistent throughout the year. Obviously if we were in a position like Wisconsin and Ohio State, you don't get those kind of questions.
But I think we were very consistent, had a good run in Maui, played some good teams and had a good schedule. Even though we have not had the road wins we would have liked, we've still had some neutral game wins with beating Oklahoma and DePaul and Iowa, and obviously winning two road games in the league. And that's probably our Achilles heel.
But if you look at the teams you're comparing us to, everyone has warts. Everyone is going to have something. We have ten games we've won in the Top 100. Go compare that against anybody else. We've beaten some good teams this year, we've remained consistent. We've competed with teams that are supposedly tops in the country.
Have we beat some of those teams? No, we haven't. If you do, you're not on that bubble, but I do think we're an NCAA Tournament team and we belong in the tournament.
Q. That said, Dave talked about being nervous or watching SportsCenter over and over again and Carl talked about being nervous. What are your emotions going to be in the morning do you think?
COACH MATT PAINTER: It's what you've done all season. I watch SportsCenter regardless if whether we're on the bubble or not, so to me it's not a big deal. I'm watching spring training stuff, I'm watching basketball stuff, that's what I do.
You pay attention to it because now you can't do anything about it. At least we're not -- if we were at Southern Illinois, we'd wait for eight days. That's waiting. You wake up, you go to bed, you find out tomorrow at dinner; that's pretty easy.
Q. Are you guys going to have something at Purdue tomorrow?
COACH MATT PAINTER: We're going to do something at my house, and then we're going to come back to Mackey (Arena) and meet the media there at 7:30.
End of FastScripts