Nov. 13, 2012
“I thought it was important that after Friday night’s great event that we got back out on the court and practiced. Our guys responded well, understanding that as much of a celebration and a great performance Friday night was, we have a lot of work to do. We had a really good practice Saturday. I gave the guys Sunday off so they all could go to the opening game for the women’s team, and we got back to work yesterday.
“It’s a process. I thought we did some good things Friday night after evaluating the tape. We can still get a lot better defensively. There were times when we got out of ourselves and hurried on offense. We tried to make plays a little too quick, and those were the times we got into trouble. That’s just something we need to keep getting better at.
“We’ve got an opportunity tomorrow (vs. Presbyterian) to take another step forward against a well-coached team, a team that we played when I was at Dayton. They played us extremely well. They have a couple of Atlanta kids on their team, so it’s a big game for them. So we’ll be challenged again.”
On the difficulty defending Tulane big man Josh Davis
“We made the decision to that we weren’t going to dig down as much on him. Not only in our game, when Tarrant had six threes, but in many of their games last year, when they were successful, they did a very good job of shooting from the perimeter. Through what we were going to do on the offensive end, we were going to make Davis and Brouha work extremely hard. And even if they offensively had an opportunity to go a little one-on-one, over a 40-minute game we were going to be qable to wear them down a little. That’s what happened.
“The second reason is it’s a tough matchup. In some of the non-conference games, you get some difficult matchups with the post players. If Davis were in the ACC, he’d be playing more of the three spot. You throw a freshman out there with Robert and tell him you’re not going to get any help, and two, you’re going against a pretty good player that’s going to stretch the court on you. It’s a challenge.
“For the most part, I thought we did a pretty good job. He made some tough shots, but also our game plan was to give him a little more one-on-one opportunities so we could defend the three a little better.”
On how the Presbyterian game was scheduled
“It was part of the football package. As you know, we got into a (football) scheduling situation because of the change of the Virginia Tech game. Presbyterian fit the criteria that the football team was looking for, and they parlayed that into a two-year commitment to play us in basketball.
“They also fit our characteristics of playing a guarantee game. Even though they haven’t been able to play in the post-season because of their status, you want to play good teams during this time. Sometimes those teams do win many of the non-conference games because they play so many guarantee games. At the end of the year, they end up 16-15 or 17-14. They’re well-coached. They do a lot of good things. We’re going to see different defenses.
“These games are really important. Out of the five or so of these games that BCS schools play, four of those have to end up being .500 or better, or it hurts your RPI. Scheduling is a science. Presbyterian still fits into the proper equation.”
On building up the pre-conference schedule
“In some ways, the philosophy on your non-conference scheduling has been adjusted because of the league. We now play 18 league games. In the past, you played 16, so that gave you two more opportunities in the non-conference to play high-quality opponents. You don’t have those opportunities anymore. Now you play 18 league games, you play Georgia, you play in the ACC-Big Ten Challenge, that’s 20 games right there against top-50 or 75 RPI teams. Then you play in one of the exempt tournaments, where you’re playing (three games against) a BCS conference school and some highly regarded mid-majors.
“Our schedule is always going to be competitive. You want a strength of schedule that’s going to put you in position where if you have a good non-conference record and you do well in the league, you’re going have a chance at the post-season. So there’s a lot of numerical formulas that you put into place. Then after you’re done playing them, you hope they win every game they play.”
On the team’s defensive rebounding against Tulane
“That was a big key for us. As I said after the game, we did not rebound as well as we need to in the two scrimmages we had. We put an emphasis on that. I think we can be a really good defensive rebounding team because our guards are really good defensive rebounders. Any time you have your guards coming back and rebounding, that’s going to help the pace of play, because they can blast the ball out.
“We moved the ball better in terms of ball reversal, and we shared the ball better, and we scored 79 points. We didn’t take as many quick shots, and so we were much more efficient. Our offensive efficiency is 1.06, which is pretty good. When you’re scoring a point per possession, you’re going to be in a good position to be successful as long as you’re guarding somebody. For the most part, we did.”
On how you crunch numbers on scheduling
“It’s pretty in-depth. We do an analysis of every team that we play, who they have coming back, what their recruiting was like, what type of schedule that they play, their offensive and defensive efficiency, what style, all the different things that come into play. What their RPI was over the last five or six years. To be brutally honest, when you come from a non-BCS conference, that is so important.
“We spend a lot of time in the spring on that when we’re finalizing our schedule. You try to put yourself in a position where if you take care of your own business, you’re doing to be in a good spot.”
On reaching out to play in some of the bigger pre-season events
“I went over early and spent some time with Coach Izzo today and talked about his trip to Germany. Those are some things that, down the road, we want to be in position to do, there’s no question. They’re in a position where, you want to win that game, but a loss doesn’t necessarily hurt them. Now they turn around and play here in Atlanta tonight.
“There’s no question playing in Anaheim with Cal out there, and Xavier out there, and up against Rice and Saint Mary’s, it may not have the same media coverage, but they’re all post-season teams. Within the next couple of years we want to go to Orlando. We’re finalizing another tournament next year as well where we play a couple of top-notch teams.
“I’m not sure you going to see many games played on ships anymore, but some of those things down the road, we want to be a part of.
“I think around Veterans Day, doing something that ties in with the military, especially here in Georgia, which is a great military state, would be really neat.”
On keeping the starting lineup the same from Friday
“We’ll go with the same lineup tomorrow night. We just won by 20.”
On the three freshmen moving forward
“All three need to get a little bit better on the defensive end, which is par for the course. That’s not rocket science when it comes to freshmen. I thought all three played well. We’re going to need all 10 guys moving forward for us to move forward. But those three freshmen all played well.
“Again, they’re physically ready to play at this level, and I think you saw that they all know how to play. The more experience the better, and that’s not just game experience, that’s every day in practice. I was really p0leased with our team coming off a day of and the win on Friday, for us to come out and have a good practice yesterday. That was a step that I’m not sure we were ready to take last season. That was a marker I wanted to see.”
On the motivation provided by Friday’s atmosphere
“I don’t think you can underestimate what a crowd like that does for your team. If you’re not ready to play with great energy in front of a crowd like that, you probably need to see if you’ve got a pulse going. You’d have to be comatose not to play with great energy with a crowd as electric as that. They were tremendous. We have a great fan base, and they were all out. But the group that drives that is the students, and they were fantastic.
“When Mfon (Udofia) says he was almost in tears when he saw the students, he was. That meant a lot to that kid. This program’s really important to that kid. And him leaving here with the program back on solid ground is important for him. When he saw that, it meant a lot.
“In terms of our guys, they understand that they have a part in this, too. They have to take some ownership in our support, and they take ownership in playing with the pride that they played with. They’re smart enough to know that we’re not where we’re going to be down the road, but our fans understand that too, and they want to see us play hard. They want to see, when there’s four minutes to go and we’re up 20, Marcus Georges-Hunt putting his chin on the floor for the loose ball.. That’s important.
“For recruiting, it was a great night recruiting-wise, because you’re selling a vision, and that was tangible for the first time since we’ve been here. That was something that we’ve talked about, and those guys can actually feel. That was important. And they got to see us play how we’re going to play and where they fit into that system.”
On cutting down the turnovers
“Assist-to-turnover ratio is going to be huge for us this year. I think we were 305th in the country last year, and there may have been only 304 schools on that list. We have to do a better job of taking care of the ball, and we have to do a better job of creating shots for our teammates. Those two go hand-in-hand. Moving the ball, letting the ball do the work, letting the ball find the open shot is really important. I thought we did a great job of that.
“When I talk about movement, and making the next solid pass, we go 18 (assists) and 10 (turnovers). That’s a big change from last year, and we need to continue to do that. We cannot, after two ball reversals and we don’t get anything, panic, and we need to stay within what we do. Everybody did a good job of that, including the freshmen. That’s a stat to watch for us.”
On the team going around to high-five the students
“When we were up 20 points, we had some subs in, and not one person had left the building, including the students. They were still there. If anybody knows what our players go through on a daily basis, it’s the students. We need to have a connection between our team and our student fans. I said, make sure when you’re done shaking Tulane’s hands, make sure you shake theirs, too.
“To become the kind of program we all want, that becomes part of what you do in a situation like that, so we’re going to get there.”
On having freshman walk-on Brooks Doyle, a lifelong Georgia Tech fan, on the foul line at the end of the game
“What a great way to end it. I saw his father after the game, and I think that was the biggest smile I’ve ever seen in my life. Brooks tried to downplay it a little bit, but he was fired up. Then I got to get on him because he shouldn’t have caught the ball that deep in the corner against the press and get trapped. We had worked on that. He remarked that he did it on purpose so he could get fouled. But that was great. He has followed us his entire life, and it was a dream of his to come to Georgia Tech and play on the basketball team. He’s been a great addition to our program. He’s a good player, he knows how to play and he’s been well-coached.”