Weekly Coach Menzies Interview :: 03/11/12 :: Initial NCAA Tournament Thoughts Your thoughts on heading back West for the second time.
Marvin Menzies: Portland is a great town first of all, it's a great atmosphere to play in the Big Dance, I'm sure they'll do a great job as the host city. But I also feel that the teams that are participating in it will have large fan bases to draw from so that'll make it even more exciting with Louisville, obviously Indiana and New Mexico as well. So, I think when you look at all the teams that are participating in that region, it's going to add to that atmosphere of that particular round. Your draw Indiana in the second round matchup. The Hoosiers and Aggies match up very well, very similar statistically and your style of play is very reminiscent of the style of play you might see in the Big Ten.
MM: Yeah, you know, Indiana really shoots the ball well. Tom Crean is an excellent x's and o's coach, he does a great job with managing a game. I have the ultimate respect for his ability as a coach and I also like him as a person, the few times we've had a chance to encounter each other, he seems like a good guy. I think it'll be a fun time to be able to go up against him. Indiana is the second best team in the country in three point shooting and you lead the WAC in three point field goal defense. How do you see that matchup?
MM: It's different to guard guys that can shoot threes that have size and their guys have more size to them. We've got some length but we also have to be able to do a good job of being there on the catch and challenging all the shots. We've got to look once we get a chance to get into the specifics of the scout and what we do, I'll have more of an accurate analysis from a scouting perspective but I haven't had a chance to watch anything yet so I'm not sure how that's all going to shake out. The trip to Spokane back in 2010 was your first trip to the NCAAs as a head coach and I asked you then what you were able to draw from your coaching mentors on how to approach your first tournament experience and with this now being your second trip, what did you learn from the trip to Spokane that you can apply to this trip to Portland?
MM: There's a host of things. I think the way that you prepare, the routine that you go through, what you want to give your kids, what you don't want to give your kids in the way of information. There's just a different comfort level in how you handle all the potential distraction and the hoopla of being in the dance. There's a lot, there was a lot I had never gone through as a head coach and now that I've been through it I think managing it this next time around we'll do some things differently but we'll do a lot of things the same. Wendell mentioned yesterday in the postgame press conference that the last trip to the NCAA Tournament was more of a "wow, we made it" type of experience. This year you've got a bunch of guys that have been there and experienced that whole thing. What is the different mindset this year?
MM: I think once you taste it, you don't just want to taste it but you want to taste it and go through the whole process. RIght now I think they're hungry to go to the next step. Obviously we have a big obstacle in front of us and we've got to be well prepared to do that. I think they'll definitely be mentally up to the task, it's just a matter of who's playing the best ball that day when we lace them up. You mentioned Louisville and UNM also being in Portland, what will that experience be like having a reunion of sorts with Rick Pitino?
MM: Obviously Coach and I will get a chance to visit. We talked already after they won their conference championship and we won ours, we had a chance to speak briefly. That'll be nice but he'll be on business mode, I'll be on business mode but I'm sure we'll be able to sit down and have a meal together.