Press conference transcript: North Carolina preview
Dec. 18, 2012
Related: Texas vs. North Carolina preview
Head Coach Rick Barnes
On the takeaway from last season's game against North Carolina: We were not very good a year ago in that game. We were still looking for a lot of things. This year, we are better than we were at this time last year but we still have improvements to be made. Transition defense will be a huge part of the game - we did not transition well last year, causing [North Carolina] to get easy baskets. They are being more aggressive with some zone presses, running and jumping, which they have been known to do. I would imagine that they have not changed their game and will not for anyone. They are who they are against whomever they are playing.
On North Carolina's fast tempo: That is something we try to get our guys to do, we want to push tempo. We want to beat people down the floor to get baskets. You have got to get out and get easy baskets. Javan he has done a better job at this because he has given the ball up earlier and he is getting up the floor quicker.
On playing this caliber of teams during preseason: In our situation, you can look at it from the outside and think we are better suited to play a schedule were you can win games and still teach guys how to play hard, but we have always believed that playing against a high level opponent is what you have to do to be a team that is in contention at the end of the year. You have to know what it takes to compete at the highest level. Every game we have played this year has been a game of completion, and those type games are what we, as coaches, want to play and what the players want to play.
On the impact of a win against North Carolina: Any win is big. It is the next 40 minutes in front of us with a chance to go out and fight. We have got to fight a lot harder than I thought we fought a year ago when we played them. This group is starting to understand how hard they have got to fight and play.
On the role of point guard at Texas: I am harder on point guards because your point guard, like your quarterback, is the guy that is going to understand what you are trying to do within a team. There is a lot of responsibility with being a point guard. Not only does he have to know what he is doing, he has to figure out a way to make the game easier for his teammates. The best point guards make the game easier for their teammates, they set them up, they understand them, they know where they need help in the game and psychologically they are in tune with their teammates.
On the growth of the team thus far: We have continued to defend. We have gotten better in some areas that way but it is consistency that we lack. When you go back and look, we have had different guys scoring over 15 points, but we have not been able to get everybody doing what they need to do every night - that is sports. I was listening to a pro football coach last night and that is what he was talking about. They have shown glimpses of them being terrific but they are not able to put it together as a group. That is pretty much sports in general. The ones that can put it together win big.
On the Texas team: As coaches we see where guys are but we also see where the team is. We have realized what we can be and that is what we are working toward each day. We have a group of guys that work hard, they get along, yet it is a matter of getting them on the same page at the same time. As the season goes on, players will begin to understand their roles and coaches will adjust. As coaches we can come into a season or game with the best plans in the world, but if it is not working you have to go another way. I fully believe that this group of guys will be a good team before the season is over.