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November 25, 2009

Mike Krzyzewski


THE MODERATOR: Coach is going to start with an opening statement and then will take questions.
COACH MIKE KRZYZEWSKI: I felt we won. It was a hard-fought game. We knew it would be that way. You know, you play four games at home, and you're running and shooting and things are going easy. And then all of a sudden, you know, you're going to be in a possession-by-possession game against a defense that you haven't played against before. And against an offense that's going to control tempo. And with our team, we're not a team that can force them by pressing and stuff like that. So pretty much, I mean, I thought after the first five minutes our kids really played well defensively. You know, the last 35 minutes of the game we gave up I think 38 points. We do that, we're going to be put in a position to win. And they played good defense too.
So, you know, shots, open shots were hard to come by. One of our objectives to start out the game was to limit their threes. So they made two. So I thought defensively after the first five minutes was the key to the ballgame. And Singler, who was not having good shooting night, after that time-out in the second half, he came out and for him to hit those two buckets right away, you see, I think that's better -- it's nicer if you go 9-for-12. But when you can hit two in a row when you're 1-for-11 or whatever he was, when the score is tied, that's very, very good.
So, I'm pleased with obviously the outcome but also our efforts against a very good team. I mean, they're going to cause a lot of people trouble because they can control the ball. They have four guards out there. Any questions?

Q. As far as defending against Arizona State, it seems like they were generating a lot of points in their previous games on the perimeter where you were trying to focus things?
COACH MIKE KRZYZEWSKI: Yes. So put a lot of pressure on the ball screen. Like they were exclusively ball screen, just until they ran a couple of specials late after a time-out. But most of the time it was ball screen. And what they're trying to do is have you leave the perimeter guy. So it puts a lot of pressure on your two guys defending the ball screen.
And early on, we tried three different ways of defending their ball screen. And finally we just showed -- contact showed on it, and the guy got over. At first we trapped it once; that didn't work. We hard-stepped in and that got us strung out. And the contact show turned out to be the way to do it.

Q. Just your thoughts on playing Connecticut and did you get a chance to watch them?
COACH MIKE KRZYZEWSKI: I did not watch them at all. Wojo (Steve Wojciechowski) and Chris (Collins) did. For us it's a -- these two games are big-time games for us. So to play Connecticut -- I do know their personnel. I have not watched them at all yet. And I know how good their guards are. And Robinson is probably as good an athlete as we'll play against. And they've got a lot of big guys who can really rebound. So if Jim -- I'm sure he hasn't changed that much. He has won a lot of games doing it the way he's doing it. I would be shocked if we didn't see a three-quarter press, a 2-2-1, and letting their guards with some ball screens and then hammering the boards. I think rebounding will be a big thing on Friday afternoon.

Q. How big were the shots that Dawkins made, especially the timing of them?
COACH MIKE KRZYZEWSKI: Yeah, they were -- we were in kind of like a funk as far as scoring. It was big for a freshman to come in and do that. We were not playing well from our big guy's position in the first half until about the last four minutes when Zoubek gave us a lift. And then in the second half, I thought all of our bigs did very, very well, especially on that ball screen.

Q. What was it like to match up with Coach Sendek again? Did you have flashbacks?
COACH MIKE KRZYZEWSKI: You know, I know we're coaching against Coach Calhoun. I never look at the other bench or whatever. They are very well coached. And so really the five games we've played, we've played against outstanding coaches who have different systems. And we overpowered the first four. And this one you weren't going to overpower Arizona State. Herb just really -- he's very good. And he has his system, which is unlike most other people. So when you play against him, even though we had a lot of preparation, it's a lot different playing against your blue team than playing against -- all the stuff we tried against our blue team worked. At the start of the game it didn't work against them.

Q. As you said, that first game was fairly easy. What does this tell you about this team?
COACH MIKE KRZYZEWSKI: Yeah. I don't think so much survive; I thought we won. Survive would be if this was like some huge underdog. I think Arizona State is going to contend for their conference championship with the kids they have. Glasser is just a veteran college guard, college point guard who doesn't turn it over. And if you don't guard Kuksiks, he's capable of getting 20 to 30 points in a ballgame. I thought Nate's (McMillan) son, Jamelle, really played well. We couldn't keep him in front of us. I know him obviously really well. He played a hell of a game for them.
Have a happy Thanksgiving. Thank you very much.

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