Jan. 29, 2001

On recent week
“We just finished the end of a very difficult week for us with Michigan State twice and Wisconsin on the road. Playing those three games was not an easy week. I am really proud of our guys in one-third of those games with the win over Michigan State on Saturday. It was a terrific win for us and our guys. It is hopefully a boost for us.”

“We have an important game Wednesday because we are running out of home games,” O’Brien said. “We only have two left after Wednesday.”

On playing tough and its importance
“Our guys have played very hard but that little extr–that difference between playing hard and playing tough is what we have been talking about,” O’Brien said. “If we can continue to keep that going then we will be a better basketball team.”

Impact of win over MSU
“It is something we can now go back to,” O’Brien said. “It is a confidence thing when we talk to (the players) about a game we can absolutely win. Until we do it (like the win over MSU) the kids are always going to be questioning. We now have their attention and can draw on the Michigan State game. Hopefully, this experience can help us down the road.”

Before the MSU game…”We emphasized that we had to be physically and mentally tougher. We emphasized taking the toughness aspect to another lever. I told them that if we were not tougher we cannot win this game.”

Adjustments for a transfer student athlete
“It was easier for (former guard Scoonie Penn). When point guards have to do it they have their hands on the ball all the time. Scoonie did have it a little easier than Sean (Connolly-a transfer from Providence College) because (Scoonie) always had the ball. I think it is difficult for a bigger guy or for the off-the-ball guy because he is at the whim of the point guard or another guy.”

“I think Sean is a little frustrated. All I want him to do is relax. I get the impression he is pressing to get something done. I just want him to play and not have the pressure of having to get something done when he is in the game.” On Indiana losing leads in recent games
“We have been in a number of games where we have had leads and lost,” O’Brien said. “We lost a lead to Penn State and Minnesota at home. This has happened to a number of teams during the course of the season. I think it is the conference as well.”

“They are a little hard to figure out how to play because of matchups. (Kirk) Haston is shooting away from the basket–shooting jump shots and three’s. That poses a problem for us with Ken Johnson guarding him.”