Tourney Coach Q&A: Huggins, Painter, Miller
Live from Washington DC, CHN's Jon Teitel is covering the NCAA Tournament pod featuring Xavier/Georgia, Baylor/Purdue, West Virginia/Arizona, and Belmont/Duke. He'll be checking in periodically with player & coach interviews as well as news updates from the Verizon Center.
Interview with Coach Sean Miller (Xavier)
Q: You have worked with a lot of great coaches in the past: which one of them gave you the best advice about how to succeed in the NCAA Tournament?
A: I have been very fortunate to work with great coaches like Herb Sendek and Thad Matta. I am also friends with John Calipari, who I talk to a lot, and my dad was a successful high school coach as well. Rather than model myself after only one of them, I consider myself a hybrid coach who has taken bits and pieces from all of them.
Q: How did you feel about Herb Sendek’s Arizona State team getting left out of the NCAA Tournament?
A: I felt bad that ASU did not make the tourney, especially after they beat us soundly earlier this season. Herb is 1 of the most complete coaches I have ever met, from scheduling to recruiting to running a great program in general.
Interview with Coach Painter (Purdue)
Q: You have a very young team this year, but had a veteran team last year that had success in the NCAA Tournament: has your postseason preparation changed a lot from last March to this March?
A: Although we had a lot of veterans last year, we only had 1 player who had Tournament experience. While we have a lot of freshmen this year, we have several guys who are back from last year’s team. I also think that our experience this year against great non-conference teams during the regular season and on a big stage at the Big 10 Tournament will help us, and hopefully it will keep us sharp. We have a great tradition at Purdue, but it is important to get young guys to come here and help us get back to the top of the Big 10.
Q: What are your thoughts on Baylor?
A: They are a good team, and very fast. They are going to beat us off the dribble, as they proved they could do that against Kansas.
Interview with Coach Huggins (West Virginia)
Q: You are in a unique situation, having a lot of NCAA Tournament experience yourself, and being the first-year coach of a team that won the NIT last year: do you feel that your team is hungry because they missed the NCAA Tournament last year, or confident because they won the NIT, or other?
A: I wish you would go talk to them, because I cannot figure them out. We have won some games that I did not think we would win, and vice-versa. We do not have any guys who can play in the post, nor anyone who can break down an opponent off the dribble, so we have had to rely on our jump shots. I do not think our team feels slighted or uses that as motivation: it is all about making our jump shots.
Q: How much will last year’s NIT experience help this year’s team?
A: We lost 2 seniors who played a lot, and the majority of our current team did not play very much in the NIT. We have a very young team, and we have seen a lot of different styles by virtue of the number of different teams in the Big East. Our 7-footer is more of a 3-point shooter than a post guy: we are what we are.
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