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March 20, 2010
BUFFALO, NEW YORK
THE MODERATOR: We're with the Syracuse student athletes. Closest to me, Scoop Jardine; next to him, Wes Johnson; and Andy Rautins is at the far end. Syracuse advancing to 29-4. The early game tomorrow against Gonzaga. We'll go ahead and open up for questions at this time for these student athletes.
Q. Wes, can you explain to me when you're looking at the move that Scoop made last night, what's going through your head? You've seen it enough times, I'm sure. You kind of can anticipate what's about to happen before it happens?
WES JOHNSON: I saw when I was running down the court I was wondering what he was about to do. I've seen him do it in pick-up and in practice a lot. When he put it out in the game, it was like, "Wow?" I was excited he made it and he made his free-throw. That's what sealed it off.
Q. Just a follow on that: Can you feel the electricity in the building when he comes in there and takes over like that?
WES JOHNSON: Of course. Especially when he makes moves like that and he comes in off the miss. He gives a real spark off the bench. When he comes in you can feel the energy pick up when he steps on the court.
Q. For Wes and Andy, what do you think of when you hear the name Gonzaga?
WES JOHNSON: I hear a good team. It's going to be a real good matchup. I think going into tomorrow's game we have to be focused and really just come out and take it to them. They've been in the top 15 the whole year. So I know it's going to be a good game.
ANDY RAUTINS: Like-wise they're a top-tier team every year. Always considered a Cinderella team in the NCAA tourney. They've proven themselves time and again. They have great players on every end of the floor. We know it's going to be a defensive battle tomorrow. That's where we're going to get the win.
Q. And one last thing, what did you guys think when you heard that now Villanova was out?
SCOOP JARDINE: I guess we got to root for the BIG EAST. There's us and Pittsburgh left and West Virginia. We have to win for the BIG EAST. I feel like the BIG EAST is the best conference in the country. We have to go make it be known. We have to stay in this tournament. Villanova and the rest of the teams are out.
Q. Andy, a question for you. Gonzaga is a team that likes to -- seems to pass the ball around, make that extra pass. Do you see a lot of your offense and the principles of sharing the ball with all the assists in the Gonzaga team?
ANDY RAUTINS: Absolutely. They're a very unselfish team. They move the ball well. They have a bunch of smart players out there. They make the extra pass. I think that's what makes those type of teams great. They're good decision-makers out there. They're very head strong. You're going to have to be very well rounded game for us on defense and also crash the defensive glass too.
Q. For Scoop and Andy, last night was really the first night you guys had to play without Arinze. Can you talk about adapting and changing the way you played and specifically Rick and DaShonte's play last night and looking ahead to tomorrow as well?
SCOOP JARDINE: Losing "AO" is a big hurt to our team. We know that. I think Rick and DaShonte did a great job playing in there together. I think DaShonte did a lot of great things. Using his body getting a lot of blocks and getting some rebounds. And Rick has been a force for us all year. We have to play like he's on the floor. If he's not on the floor, he's still with us no matter what. We have to continue to win and hopefully have him back.
ANDY RAUTINS: It was certainly a different feel playing without Arinze out there. Like Scoop said, DaShonte did a great job of stepping up last night going from almost no minutes during the regular season to being pushed out of here in the NCAA tournament. So very proud of what he's done so far. He was patient. He played aggressive. And I think he's got a lot more big minutes to come. Rick as well. He stepped up his minutes time played last night. We're expecting that out of him. He's a great player. Every time we feed him in the post we feel like he's capable of scoring. We have enough talent and depth to compete without Arinze as much as we wouldn't like to.
Q. Scoop, about that cross-over -- I'm kidding. We don't want to talk about that. The crowd, do you think it will be even louder tomorrow night? Do you think there were times you guys noticed it helped you with energy?
SCOOP JARDINE: Yeah. It was like we were playing a home game. When I first got subbed in the game, they was cheering my name. It got me energized and I was ready to go. The crowd was great for us all year. No matter where we played at, they've been coming out to support us. I want to thank everybody for that. It was times where we knew it got loud in there, especially when Andy hit the two threes in the second half. And of course the move I made it got loud. I'm just happy everybody is coming out to support us.
Q. For Scoop and for Andy, this time of year styles of play become very important, and there are a lot of programs outside of the BIG EAST that don't face the 2-3 the way you guys play it. I'm curious, do you notice early on in the game when you are playing someone who hasn't faced it, is there almost a couple of seconds or hesitation when they're trying to figure out what is going on?
SCOOP JARDINE: Yeah, I feel like teams don't know what we're going to do as far as when we play a BIG EAST team, they try to slow the game down, make extra passes, try to slow our zone down. When teams don't know what our zone is about and know what our zone is capable of, it kind of hurts them especially in the beginning of the game because we're so long and we're so active out there. We communicate with each other to trap the corners.
A lot of teams don't see that much out of the zone. They think a zone is just for you to just rest and be lacking. But not our zone. Our zone gets out the shooters, we come out with the hands high, we cover every area on the floor and we try to get out of the zone and get rebounds, and Wes get blocks out of the zone. We try to be active more than anything.
ANDY RAUTINS: I think initially off the jump ball when they come down on offense that they get a little bit staggered out there. Looking at our zone, I think we have a lot more length than the people we're used to seeing. I think our zone is a lot more aggressive than other passive types of zones you see out there in college basketball right now. Especially the way we trap and the way we recover for each other with a high hand.
But, yeah, it's definitely a different look for teams that are coming into the NCAA tournament.
Q. For Andy, I have two questions. They're sixth in the nation in field goal percentage. What do you think about the key to defending them and then for Wes, with all their height, how much of a concern is that with all the seven-footers and the height they have?
ANDY RAUTINS: They're an extremely efficient team. We know we're going to have to contest every shot. We're going to have to crash the glass hard. But, you know, that's just going to be a challenge for us. We look forward to that. We've seen this all year, playing against the types of teams like Villanova. Really efficient. You know they're a great team. We're going to have to come out and have a great defensive game.
WES JOHNSON: With their height, we're just going to have to come and play solid defense and use our athleticism to take the height away. That's really just walling up and making them take tough shots and try to limit their touches as much as possible.
Q. This is for Wes, because these guys have been -- Andy grew up in Syracuse. Do you think all this talk of the zone, do you think it gets in the heads of teams? You saw from afar when you were in Iowa. Do you think it gets into the back of their minds a little bit?
WES JOHNSON: I think so, especially with this team now how we play. It looks like a matchup our man-to-man basically, how Kris and Rick will be out in the wings.
Other than that, how we move and we talk in the zone a lot really just gets in their mind. They are probably playing in the conferences -- that's how our conference looks like it's a regular 2-3 zone which when they come and play us it's not. We're moving around so much and basically like a man but we cover our areas very well.
Q. For Andy, if he's not texting Wes. You guys have a sweatshirt I think that says, "Syracuse Basketball, Shut It Down." Do you know who originated that and what the thought is behind it?
WES JOHNSON: It started from Coach Rob Murphy. "Shut it down" is a little movement and process that we have. It's this whole theme to our defensive mindset is shut it down. He also came out with a song "Shut It Down." He's rapping in it. It blew up throughout the year. It came from Rob Murphy.
SCOOP JARDINE: It's a great song.
WES JOHNSON: Manny's, you can order a T-shirt, sweat shirt, hat, whatever you need, so Manny.
Q. Can you bang out a couple of lyrics?
WES JOHNSON: Later on I can tell him.
SCOOP JARDINE: "We run the BIG EAST."
WES JOHNSON: He can get you later on in the day. I'll tell you to play the song for you.
THE MODERATOR: YouTube sensation later. Other questions?
Q. Give us an idea how you've been able to seamlessly integrate yourself into this team and play so well and not just in your first NCAA tournament, how it's come so easily for you.
WES JOHNSON: The whole year sitting out, being a spectator, seeing what the team needed, knowing my role and just wanting to do -- not wanting to do too much. Stepping in this year, the whole chemistry of the team helping me translate to my play on the court, just working hard with Coach Murphy on and off the court and coming in with these guys, they give me the ball at the right time and I make plays. That helps.
THE MODERATOR: Are we done now?
SCOOP JARDINE: Yeah, I think so.
THE MODERATOR: Good luck, guys. With Syracuse Head Coach Jim Boeheim. Orange goes into tomorrow's matchup 29-4. The first top seed since 1980, going back a ways. Coach, we'll have you go ahead and open up with a statement and we'll take questions.
JIM BOEHEIM: Well, we're happy to advance. It's not the easiest thing to do in this tournament. We're looking -- I've watched Gonzaga play so many times this year. Coach Few is a real good friend of mine going back a few years now. He's a tremendous basketball coach. We do one thing together, we fish. He just kills me. He's an unbelievable fisherman. I'm trying to catch up to him. The handicap world in fishing, I'm about a 22 and he's about a plus 4. So I got no hope of catching him. He can go fishing out his back door.
I have had tremendous respect for their program for a number of years. They just have a major league program. They can play with anybody, and have been for a number of years. This will be a real great test for us tomorrow.
THE MODERATOR: Thanks, Coach. Open it up for questions for Coach Boeheim at this time.
Q. Jim, we heard you many times over the years talk about the job Jim Calhoun did in Connecticut in bringing that program from basically Yankee conference level. Does what Mark Few's done at Gonzaga rival or even top that?
JIM BOEHEIM: Well, he's had an unbelievable run. I think obviously it started when he was an assistant with (Dan) Monson. Since he's taken over, it's just -- he's managed to take it to an unbelievable level. I've been out there. They have great support. They just have really built a tremendous program. Again, he's as good a coach as there is.
Q. Coach, I just want to get your impressions on how Triche and Jardine have done handling their roles this year and how well they complement each other.
JIM BOEHEIM: I think they've given us everything we hope for in the beginning of the year. That was the one question mark that I had looking at this year. I knew we would be fine with the front line. I knew Andy would make the transition back into the two spot without a problem.
The one question that I had is how is Scoop and Brandon going to play. Scoop played as a freshman, but not a lot. Then he was out a whole year. You never know how that's going to work. Of course Brandon is a freshman playing a key position. I think for the most part they've almost never been on the floor this year. One averaged 21, one averaged 20 minutes a game. So they both average about 8 points a game, 4 assists. That's tremendous production from that really one spot. They've been really -- done everything we could have asked for. That's why we won when the league played this well. One of the reasons.
Q. Going way back in your head coaching career, was there ever a time when you sort of in your mind's eye thought, gee, I'll maybe move on to a different level, or any thought about moving from Syracuse back then?
JIM BOEHEIM: Is there any connection to anything else by that question or is that just directed only at me?
JIM BOEHEIM: Okay. I'm from Syracuse. I'm from outside of Syracuse, about an hour. Before I got to Syracuse, I've been near Syracuse for 17 years. I've been at Syracuse for 48 years. I honestly have really never contemplated going someplace else. I had one interview, and I wouldn't even leave Syracuse to do it. I only did it because somebody just said we're coming in to see you. I said, you know, that's fine. I don't want anybody to know about it. I'm not going out of my house. If you want to come here, you can. That's the only time I ever talked to anybody else. There was never a thought in my mind of leaving. I just did it as a courtesy to people that wanted to come in. But I've always felt that we have a good situation. I know the area. I know the people. We've always -- I think the thing you have to have in a good basketball program is fan support. We've always had that. We have parking for 1500 cars. And we get 30,000 people to come to a basketball game in the winter time. There aren't many places that can do that.
So I really never thought about leaving. I think when you get into a great situation, I think you have to recognize it. I've never been a believer in the grass is greener on the other side of the fence. I've seen too many cases -- sometimes it's worked for people. I've seen too many cases that somebody has moved and it just hasn't been a good situation. Although there's other examples of people that have moved and it's been a good situation. But I've never felt that way. I really don't like change at all. And I think sometimes you have to look at what you have and realize this is a pretty good thing. I give that advice from time to time to people.
Q. Have you always felt appreciated there?
JIM BOEHEIM: I've never really analyzed that. My good friend Mickie Krzyzewski thinks I should have left a long time ago.
Mike doesn't say that. Mickie would. You know, I think that -- I really feel that the people that support our program, the fans that come to our games, that buy two tickets, they both work for a living, they've always supported me. I think there's always the great group of educated lawyers and business guys and doctors sometimes who are smart in what they do, and I don't want to be negative right now, I'm in a good mood. I don't really pay much attention to those people. I know they're there. They're in every program. They know as much about basketball as I know about what they do, which is absolutely nothing, and I'm willing to admit that. It's just like with you guys. I know as much about writing as you know about basketball.
THE MODERATOR: Should we change subjects?
JIM BOEHEIM: The older I get, the more I like saying that.
Q. Can you educate me please on how you expect Gonzaga to attack the zone?
JIM BOEHEIM: First of all, I don't have near enough time to educate you. I don't have decades. You know, I never talk about what somebody is going to do or what we're going to do. They're really a good team. We have to be very good on both ends of the court. I'll say what I say every time somebody asks me a question about what we're going to do. We have to play good defense, we have to rebound, we have to take care of the basketball, we have to execute on offense and we have to make some shots.
Q. Coach, just talking to Andy inside the locker room, he sounds like a guy who wasn't expecting his starting center to be playing tomorrow. Can you update us on what you think?
JIM BOEHEIM: He has not practiced. I never play somebody that hasn't practiced.
You've been with me years. You haven't gotten educated yet.
Q. I haven't quit.
JIM BOEHEIM: No.
Q. I'm learning.
JIM BOEHEIM: I'm hoping.
Q. I'm dumb but I'm stubborn.
JIM BOEHEIM: It's a good trait.
Q. Jim, over the years, has the pool of talent in Canada gotten deeper, because we're looking at the two teams that are playing tomorrow, there's half a dozen Canadian kids.
JIM BOEHEIM: It's gotten deeper all over the world. But it's deeper -- it's definitely expanded in Canada. There's more coaching, there's more AAU. There's more emphasis.
When we first started going to Canada, the kids couldn't get a court to play in, just hockey rinks. But basketball is getting better all over everywhere. There's really good players in Canada now.
THE MODERATOR: Any other questions for Coach Boeheim?
JIM BOEHEIM: I'm not ready to go yet.
THE MODERATOR: We have lots of time.
Q. This is a quick follow-up on what you talked about earlier. How long ago was your interview or your sitdown?
JIM BOEHEIM: Derrick Coleman was coming in as a freshman. It had to be '86. Spring of '86. I had Derrick Coleman, Stevie Thompson coming in and Ronny Seikaly and those guys sitting there, Sherman Douglas. There was no way in hell I was going then. That would be like Roy Williams leaving Kansas with all those guys coming back.
Q. Jim, you're having to go from playing a game on Friday that ended at nearly midnight to playing the very first game tomorrow. Would you have hoped for a little bit better treatment as a one seed?
JIM BOEHEIM: I don't know what the process is in this, so I'm not going to really -- I was going to try to find out, so I don't want to be upset about it. I don't see any reason why we would be playing at 12, unless it absolutely had to be. It makes no sense.
Q. Your zone is so tough for teams that know you to prepare for. Does it make it extra difficult in NCAA tournament situations where a team has a day to prepare for you?
JIM BOEHEIM: I don't know. I think if you're good against a zone, you're good against a zone. Our zone is a little better than some. I think if you know how to play against zones, you can adjust to playing against our zone. I hope it's a problem for people, but I think any good defense is a problem for people. Any good defensive team that you come up against. I think it's a problem.
We have a good defense and we hope it causes problems. Sometimes it does, sometimes it doesn't.
Q. We all talk about the zone, we write about it, you've talked about it. How did you --
JIM BOEHEIM: I don't talk about it much.
Q. Who taught you the principles or the philosophies behind playing this and really relying on it?
JIM BOEHEIM: I think anything a coach does is something you start out with, work on it over the years and you adjust it and adjust the things you do and change things. Sometimes you add something that's better. Some players adjust better to it. It's like any defense that you coach. Some years you'll be a little bit better on defense than other years. Some years you're better on offense than other years. But it's always changing. It's never the same. Basketball is never the same. It's always changing.
Q. Do you think all the talk about this defense, it gets in the minds of other players, just the aura of the zone.
JIM BOEHEIM: Georgetown shot 71% against us in the second half. I guess it didn't get in their minds. Anybody can get beat. Any defense can get beat. Any offense can get stopped. Our defense is a good defense. Not a lot of people play zone. So people don't see a lot of zone. So that helps it. When I started out coaching in our league, there was about eight teams out of nine that played some zone or quite a bit of zone. And today there's like no teams in our league that hardly play any zone. So I think that's -- it is a weapon that people don't see it.
The fact that people talk about it, I don't know if that really matters that much. I've never been a big one to rely on people talking about something. That's why those guys get paid. They have to talk about something. They didn't have the bubble teams to talk about half of them would be out of a job. That's why I like expansion. I think if we could get those people, half of them, Joe Lunardi would have to go back to being a press guy, whatever he does. I like him too.
All right, guys. We'll see you tomorrow.
End of FastScripts
THE MODERATOR: Good afternoon. Let's get a few questions for the Cal student-athletes.
Q. For Jerome and Patrick, talk about your impressions of Duke, this particular team, what you've seen, and also just the idea of playing against Duke.
JEROME RANDLE: I think a lot of people are making a big deal out of just playing them. They strap on their shoes just as well as we do. They're a basketball team just as we are. You know, I know they're going to come out and play hard, which they do every time they step on the court. We just have to come out and try to match their intensity and just really do the things that we do best to try to get a win.
PATRICK CHRISTOPHER: Jerome said it pretty well. We're two teams coming out here to compete, five guys on the floor for each team. Just coming out here, play hard, play aggressive, do the things that we need to do. We got a chance to watch film this morning and see the things that they do, check out their personnel.
Q. Jerome, what, if anything, do you remember about playing against Jon Scheyer in the AAU in Chicago? Do you remember him at all?
JEROME RANDLE: I do. He was a heart breaker. We had a young guy on our team who I think was probably three seconds left and passed the ball directly to Scheyer and he got an and-one to win the game. But I remember eighth grade he used to whip my butt like every single time, like they would beat us by like 30 points every single time we played them. But that was eighth grade, and he beat me again in AAU. He's a real nice competitor. He plays hard every time he steps on the court, has great fan support from his family. That's what I remember.
Q. I just wonder if Jamal was giving you guys any insight into playing Coach K or Duke at all.
PATRICK CHRISTOPHER: I don't think that -- well, he hasn't really given us any insight as far as their plays or anything. He obviously has some great stories about Duke, and he's definitely also excited to be playing against them, having gone there.
Q. Almost everybody who grows up playing basketball has an opinion of Duke. They love them, they hate them, whatever. When you guys were growing up, what was your opinion of that school and its players?
JEROME RANDLE: I loved them. They was great. They had a lot of great players playing for them. Me and Sean Dockery is actually good friends, and just watching him play for Coach K was great. So I never had anything against them until now. (Laughter).
PATRICK CHRISTOPHER: Same here. I grew up one of the young guys that respected their program for being a successful program and building a great legacy, and just like Jerome said, as well, now, having an opportunity to play against them is an opportunity of a lifetime, I believe. So we're just going to take it possession by possession and cherish every moment of it.
Q. In conference play, over time you're used to seeing the same teams and the same players over and over. Now you're playing Duke, only have a day and a half, two days to prepare. What are the biggest challenges in preparing with such short time?
JEROME RANDLE: The challenge is you just have to go out there and really put it all on the line. You know, they obviously have a decent scout of us as well as we do of them, but I mean, they don't really know what we're really capable of. The same as we don't really know what they're capable of until we both step on the court.
You know, so it's just going to be whoever goes out there and puts it all on the line.
PATRICK CHRISTOPHER: And for me I think that's what makes the NCAA tournament so exciting, the preparation for it, the attention to detail, and the focus that you have to bring to everything, watching the film and everything being magnified so much more.
You know, as well as Jerome said, once again, who wants it more, who comes out and just leaves everything on the floor will be the team that will take it away.
Q. Jerome, you guys have already said Jamal is pretty excited about this game, too. Does anyone have a fear, though, that he may be too excited tomorrow, and will you try to say something to him and say don't go out of your limits here?
JEROME RANDLE: One thing we know about Jamal -- well, we have five seniors on our team, so Jamal knows his limits. And Jamal is excited to be able to play against them. We're definitely not worried. We don't have to go to Jamal and tell him not to be too excited because we know he's going to be just mentally prepared to try to go out and get a win come tomorrow. It's not even an issue.
Q. Jerome, can you talk about the match-up against their style? I mean, there are teams you could play like when you played Syracuse and they had a couple of big guys inside so that was a difficult match-up. Is this a style that you at least feel comfortable playing them?
JEROME RANDLE: We're comfortable just playing basketball. It doesn't matter about the height or whatever, style, because we're great players just like they're great players. Like I said before, it's just going to be who puts it on the line and who plays hard come tomorrow.
Q. What does it mean for Cal -- what would a win over Duke mean for your program? You guys are seniors obviously, but what would it mean for the program?
PATRICK CHRISTOPHER: You know, playing against a team that, I've already said this before, already been established and already has a great legacy, being seniors, being here for four years and trying to establish something for ourselves and for the future of this program, I think, is what we're trying to accomplish here, for the recruits coming up, for the underclassmen, and really for ourselves at the end of the day. We're trying to go out as seniors the best way we can. Eventually this has to come to an end, so ending on a high note is, I think, the way we want to.
JEROME RANDLE: He really answered it. I mean, I agree with him 100 percent, with the things he said.
Q. For either of you, this has really nothing to do with tomorrow's game, but did you watch the St. Mary's game at all, and do you start thinking about how weird that would be to see them in the regional final if such a thing happened?
JEROME RANDLE: One thing that I don't do, I never look past the game that we have coming up. That's great that they won the game, but Duke is our focus right now. We won't be able to get to that game if we don't win tomorrow's game, so we just focus on Duke right now.
Q. Describe what it was like last night once you guys left the arena and went back. What was the feeling like among the team?
PATRICK CHRISTOPHER: Well, I missed a lot of it because I was selected for a drug test, so I was here until about 1:30 or maybe close to 2:00 because it was so thorough, but I'm sure the team enjoyed the win. (Laughter)
Q. And how did you enjoy it, Jerome?
JEROME RANDLE: I enjoyed it. It was great. I mean, my senior year, just to be able to win an NCAA game was great. Last year was a heart breaker, but coach told us it was going to be hard to get a win, and it was tough just trying to sustain a lead. It was really hard. They came back and kind of got me a little nervous at the end, but we was able to hold the lead, and it was great.
Q. After watching the tape of Duke this morning, do you feel better about things? Do you feel a lot better kind of knowing what you can do and who you'll be going up against?
JEROME RANDLE: One thing about film, you see them do a lot of great things. There's a lot of highlights, so you're seeing all the things that they do great, which is good for us because we get to see it on tape. But you never really know what players are capable of until you step on the court and guard their first move or whatever. You know, so it is good that we got the feel of just looking at them and seeing what they can do, but we'll never know until tomorrow.
THE MODERATOR: Guys, thanks a lot.
Coach, good afternoon. If you could, coach, please give us a few opening thoughts about tomorrow's ballgame and we'll take some questions.
COACH MONTGOMERY: Well, Duke is, in college basketball, Duke and Mike Krzyzewski are probably as good as it gets. Mike is a good friend and a guy that I really have a lot of respect for. His teams play very hard. They're always well-coached. They're very skilled, and this year's team is no exception.
I'm looking at the scouting report, and I'm seeing 7'1", 6'10", 6'10", 6'10", I'm thinking, my goodness. Of course they can't play them all at once, but they've got a lot of depth size-wise. The Singler kid is just a fantastic basketball player that does so many things for them.
Scheyer, knew his dad and knew of him in high school. I think we tried to recruit him a little bit way back when, and just a very, very sound player and grown into a very good player.
It's going to be a tough match-up. We put so much time into Louisville just in terms of preparation, and it's interesting, you get to the biggest game of your career potentially and you have an hour and a half really to get ready.
But fortunately or unfortunately, the things that Duke does we've seen. We know what they do, they just do it better than most people. It's a great challenge for us without question. That's why they're a No. 1 seed. But I think our guys are excited for it.
Q. What kind of concerns do you have about your depth in this game? It was only six guys really that got what you call significant minutes last night.
COACH MONTGOMERY: Well, we've played this way all year. We've never really gone big minutes past about seven. Big minutes, we've played more players, but we've never really gone big minutes past seven or eight. Of course it's a concern. We're always at the mercy of foul trouble. If a key guy gets in foul trouble, it changes things appreciably.
But at this stage of the game, what I worry about has no bearing on what's going to happen or what we need to do. We need to do the things that we do well. We need to be smart.
Last night I was worried about Jorge got one early, and he tends to get feisty out there sometimes, and if he would have got a second, I probably would have had to bring him out. But we're capable of going deeper. We just feel like our best chance to win is with the players that we are playing with, and that's why we're here. If I have to play five players 40 minutes and that gives us the best chance to win, that's what we'll do.
Q. Mike had said that he could not remember ever coaching against a team that had as many guys who could shoot from as deep as your three and maybe four. Is there anything unique in your experience about this Duke team, or is it pretty much standard Krzyzewski?
COACH MONTGOMERY: Well, I've played against them twice. I would say it's pretty standard Mike's teams. They really defend. They really play hard. They share the ball. They know their roles. They don't get outside their roles very often. They know who's supposed to shoot it. They know who's supposed to rebound it. They've got some physicality inside. Zoubek is a monster that sets screens, he goes to the boards and he fouls out. As long as they can play, that's what they --
So no, I think it's pretty standard. I mean, how many times have they been a No. 1 seed in the tournament? How many times have they won the ACC and the ACC tournament? He's just got a program that's almost second to none as far as -- and he does it the right way with good kids. I think it's pretty standard Duke.
Q. Conversely, is this a standard Mike Montgomery college team, and has your time in the NBA changed things a little bit?
COACH MONTGOMERY: No, I miss some of those NBA guys. Well, I shouldn't -- I know what you're thinking. (Laughter)
No, for me, I've always played big. Over the years that was kind of the trademark that we developed, even going back to Montana. I had a bunch of good big guys, and continuing on at Stanford, and this was just a team -- we had some bigs, but we just, through injury and attrition, mostly injury, we lost all our bigs. So we tried to adapt our style to the kids that we had, and it's worked very well for us.
But no, I've never shot so many jump shots. But it seems to me that what you're supposed to do as a coach is give your kids the best opportunity, the best chance that you can to win, and for us that's what this is. There are times when you'd like to have an inside presence that you could go down to to squeeze the defense in a little bit. But we just don't have that, so we play on the perimeter a little bit more, and we've caused some people a lot of problems with that. And if the ball is going down, as you saw last night early, it can be a little bit startling. If you can do it for 40 minutes, obviously that would be the perfect world. We knew we wouldn't going to be able to shoot like we started last night.
But no, this is a little bit different. We've gotten better defensively, though, I will say that. I'm pleased with how much progress we've made defensively in terms of fundamentals and the little things. You know, we're not very big, but we haven't gotten dominated on the boards all that often.
You've got to do what you can because the bottom line is to try to win games.
Q. Talk a little bit about the Duke program. Every kids that grows up playing basketball kind of has an opinion of Duke one way or the other. Talk a little bit about what a significance of a victory would be over that team, and talk about if you need to demystify Duke to your players or are they beyond that?
COACH MONTGOMERY: I don't know that our guys spend that much time -- pay that much attention to Duke. Obviously Jamal Boykin will be geeked. He may ball fake more than you've ever seen him. He's going to be fired up to play. I think for him, he feels like this is a dream come true or fate or whatever, because he's gone to school.
I think for -- well, again, I go back a long way with this thing. I think for the student-athlete in the country, the real kid that is at the top, Duke was always the school we felt at Stanford that we had to compete with for that kid. We knew that they were a player in that arena.
But I don't know that other kids that don't have that specific desire academically or have done that level work or so forth, which is 99 percent of the kids, I don't know that they spend a lot of time worrying about that as far as a school. They're looking at a lot of schools that provide basketball opportunities for them, a vehicle for which to try to show what they can do.
So I don't think they'll be that with us. I think the first time they climb over our backs and knock us into the second row going after the offensive boards, that's when we're going to find out what we need to do.
Q. Regarding the style of play, and particularly their three-point defense, what do you see there that you can sort of tell us about in terms of -- in your hour and a half of study?
COACH MONTGOMERY: Well, Duke forces you to put it on the floor. They overplay everything. I mean, for you guys in the Bay area, Stanford is a microcosm of what they do, minus the extraordinary talent that Duke has. It's the same principle. They try to force you to put it on the floor. I mean, I don't know that their thought process is you have to put it on the floor, but if you're playing against them, you end up having to put it on the floor because they're not going to let you catch, they're not going to let you shoot an open shot. So you have to provide help opportunities for your guys, and they will help if you drive. They try to drive you into their bigs, and the bigs are going to take no prisoners and try to have to make you make a play in traffic.
The success that people have had over the years is by being able to do that. Now, obviously in a day and a half or a day or an hour we'll have on the floor, we're not going to be able to change everything that we do. Part of what we do is a little bit of that anyway, as long as we're making good decisions when we go on the floor.
But they have a very specific way of playing, and anybody that knows Duke over the years will tell you that you have to be able to put the ball on the floor. You have to be able to drive them. If you can't do that, you're going to end up in problems.
THE MODERATOR: Coach, thank you very much.
End of FastScripts