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Billy Gillispie Press Conference Quotes

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From today’s event:

Opening Statement…

“Going into the last week of the season we are excited about having two really tough contests. I was really proud of our team on Sunday, but we have to go over and do better against a team that could easily have 20 wins. They have lost seven games in the last minute. I think that they could already have 10 or 11 conference wins already going into this week if they won the close games that we have already won. If you look at their record you might say that they aren’t a very good team, but I have always thought that they were one of the better teams, and one of the most difficult teams to prepare for because they stretch your defense so much. They are team that has just had a little bit of hard luck and we are excited about going to play them, and it should be another major challenger for us.”

On South Carolina’s guard Devan Downey…

“He is the perfect guard if you have shooters and he is close to perfect if you don’t. Since you can’t take the ball from him, if you back off of him and don’t allow him to penetrate he is going to make shot after shot. If you do try and pressure him he is going to go right by you so it is almost impossible to trap him. I just don’t know how you are supposed to defend him and no one in the conference has been able to figure it out yet. Sometimes you are just put into the situation where you hope that he misses and that just isn’t the way we want to go about things, and we won’t go about things like that.”

On South Carolina’s emotions prior to the game …

“Well Coach Odom is obviously a very classy individual and a great coach. I don’t think he is done coaching and I hope he isn’t done coaching. I think he is just too young, and too good of a coach to discontinue his coaching career. It will be an emotional game for Coach Odom and his players and that coupled with senior night, which is always an important night. I think that is one of the great things about playing in the Southeastern Conference, which is so well attended. It doesn’t matter if it is senior night or any other situation the home team is going to be supported by their fans and you are going to have to play your best to have any chance to win. We haven’t downplayed the emotion level for tomorrow, but I don’t think that emotions will be the determining factor in the game tomorrow.”

On a possible letdown following the Tennessee game…

“I’m not worried about a letdown because throughout the season we have been developing our mental toughness in practice. If you are a mentally tough team you are able to handle any situation and if you are a soft team you don’t. We have had plenty of practice this year in trying to handle situations that were beyond our control and we’ll keep on doing that. I’m confident that our guys will give unbelievable heart and they have a great desire to win. They are committed to winning, and I know that they are going to try their hardest, but I don’t know if we are going to make all of our shots at the end of the shot clock again.”

On the potential lineup for the rest of the season…

“There will be more changes than what you saw in the first 13 games of conference play because I think that we will have to gamble a little bit more with the lineups. I was always confident that our defense was good enough for us to play with only a certain lineup, but now we will have to substitute some players into different roles. We will probably be close to being back to normal with lineups tomorrow night than we were on Sunday against Tennessee. I do think that the lineups we use will change a little bit from game-to-game.”

On possible defensive schemes…

“We have practiced on the box-and-one throughout the season. We didn’t play with it very well against Tennessee. We may use it against South Carolina. I just feel that teams can be great in several different defenses, but that is my personal philosophy. I want my teams to be great in man-to-man defense, and I think if you want to be great in the zone defense as well you might be stretching your team’s abilities. That might be my inexperience or my stubbornness speaking, but if we are going to play zone I would rather play something a little bit less conventional something that teams don’t see as often. We just hope to get one or two possessions where those defenses help us out a little.”

Article written by Matt Jones