Feb. 8, 2007
Northwestern Men's Basketball
Illinois vs. Northwestern
Northwestern Head Coach Bill Carmody
"It's the same old story for us. We're not shooting the ball very well and we can't seem to get any rebounds. I thought their defense was good and Shaun Pruitt and Rich McBride were especially good. Pruitt dominated on offense and when he guarded our center, Vince Scott had a rough night so we had to go small and that helped them a little bit. We just don't seem to be able to make shots and every team has to do that. This is home court and we shoot 17 percent. It's tough to win."
On changing the game plan during the game...
"We were trying to keep it away from them. In the first half, against our zone, it got down to that short corner a little too much and they were making some nice passes out of there. We expected that and that's why I went small. I put Kevin Coble in the middle because Scott wasn't getting down there on that. That tightened it up for that little run we had in the last part of the first half. But then it wears you down a little bit to got that small and McBride was making some shots and Chester Frazier hit a couple also. We weren't getting good shots. "
On the offensive play of the team...
"We had two guys that seemed aggressive offensively, Tim Doyle down in the post. I probably should have gotten the ball down to him a little more because he was pretty effective down there. They weren't double-teaming him. No matter who they put on him, he seemed to be doing ok. And Coble, he was trying to get something accomplished. The other guys were going sideways and almost shooting the ball reluctantly."
On how to get out of the offensive slump...
"I don't know what we can do. We tried a lot of different combinations. It got to the point where we were small and they were playing Pruitt and they just stood 8 feet off our guys. I don't think they were quitting. The shooting is just not good enough so teams are going to start laying off even more. That gets to your head a little bit."
Illinois Head Coach Bruce Weber
On his team's performance throughout the game...
"Obviously the defense was the key. I think we have a good feel of how to guard (Northwestern). Our coaches do a good job. We didn't have that feel the first time we played them here four years ago. Slowly, but surely, you figure it out. Now, we actually change our defensive scheme against them. Normally we're up the line, we go flat, we do some different things and really get off on the ball. Our kids did a good job executing the game plan. I thought we did a good job against the zone early. We got some inside touches, some easy looks inside and some good flashes. Then we hit a couple threes. Now we get Brian Randle in foul trouble, Warren (Carter) can't come out, so he gets tired. They go small, and then they have the one run that gets them back in the game. I thought the 5-0 run at the end of the half was real important. Rich (McBride) made the three, and Shaun (Pruitt) made two free throws. Then we kind of putter back and forth to start the second half. It just a good defensive effort from our kids."
On the Illinois rebounding effort...
"One thing we told our kids is that they're not a great rebounding team. They don't really go to the glass, especially on the offensive end. We said, 'we have to dominate the boards,' and we did early. We had some putbacks early. I thought that was key. I think we got tired a little bit with Randle in foul trouble. Then in the start of the second half we got to the boards. Every time we get a rebound we get an extra possession, now they have to guard longer than they want. We had 16 offensive rebounds and they have 16 total rebounds. That's something we definitely emphasized in the scouting report."
On keeping his players focused for every game...
"We just say, 'one game at a time.' I write on the board it's (win number) 18 today. Now we have to get to 19. That's your focus. I wrote on the board, and I'm going to do this every game now, 'This is the biggest game of the year.' You have to play your best game of the year. It's not a pressurized thing. It's a challenge. We have to step up. There's a long way to go. It's just one game at a time. Just keep plotting along and maybe play our best basketball at the end."