Feb. 19, 2007

Thad Matta, head coach
“We had a good week with two road wins. Those are never easy in this conference, that’s for sure. I thought we played some good basketball and some not so good basketball in stretches. It continues to show to our player we have a long way to go to continue to get better.”

On Daequan Cook Start Sunday
“I feel like we have nine starters on this team. Daequan had a couple good practices leading into yesterday’s game. He earned that right (to start). Ron (Lewis) played one of his best games at Ohio State yesterday. Hopefully we can continue to have the unselfish mindset. Daequan responded well and did a nice job yesterday.”

On campus excitement like end of football season
“I don’t know but I can see where it is similar. Football and basketball are just so different with 12 games vs. 30 games in a season. It’s harder to stay up that long for the fans in basketball. There is a unique buzz. We were in the same situation last year. Each Big Ten game has been sold out, which is a tribute to our fans.”

On Beating No. 1 teams at Xavier and Ohio State vs. being ranked high in polls
“We have not even discussed it. You can lose sight and look at those types of things with what people are saying and writing about you. We have a team coming in Wednesday that we beat by just two points and another coming in Sunday that has beaten us.”

Having seniors at Xavier during 2004 NCAA run
“I continually try to draw from past experiences. I do it everyday but I come back to the fact that every team is different. Every season is different. Every game is different. There have been times when we talk about that team and going through adversity.”

On OSU freshman this year
“I have not seen a lot of the other teams play (with freshmen contributors). It is a unique class. It is a very talented freshman class across the country. As I told our team. I don’t care what class you are. I need basketball players in Buckeye uniforms.”

Focus on next game
“Number one, our veterans have done a good job. Our guys have a great realization that we are not close to the end of the season. As a coach part of your job is finding ways of create a situation conducive to motivating your team and getting your team better and focused on the things you are not doing well. The four returning players take great pride in saying `we are defending Big Ten Champions.’ The new guys come from outstanding programs and have fit right in.”

On the polls
“The polls are obviously for the fans. It all comes down to it being good for people to talk about at the coffee table. We have to go out and play. We have a great challenge Wednesday against Penn State. They gave us all we could handle at their place.”

Improvements since last Wisconsin game
“We have a better flow offensively and a better understanding of our system defensively. We are not anywhere near where we need to be. I think Greg (Oden) is coming along more and we have a better understand on what we are trying to get done on both ends of the floor.”