March 17, 2008
Head coach Travis Ford fielded questions in his weekly media teleconference on Monday morning and addressed the game with Stephen F. Austin in Tuesday night's NIT First Round game.
Ford On Tuesday's Game vs. Stephen F. Austin:
They are a team that is used to winning having won 26 games including 14 of the last 17. They know what it takes to win games. They have gone on the road to win at Oklahoma and San Diego - two NCAA Tournament teams. It is a team that is one of the top defensive teams in the country. It will be a very difficult game.
Ford On The Difficulty Of Scouting In A Short Time Frame:
It is extremely tough. We have looked on the Internet, spent all night doing that. We had some of our managers and assistant coaches drive out to pick up some tapes. You do whatever you can. How much that is going to help in a 24 hour span, however, is limited.
Ford On Guard Play In The Postseason:
I think it is very important. I think Bob Knight talked about it on ESPN. Guard play is important because the guards are the ones who have the ball in their hands probably 80 percent of the time and they are making most of the decisions on the court. They are going to control the game most of the time which makes good guard play critical.
Ford On The Play Of Gary Forbes:
Ford On Chris Lowe's Development Over The Last Two Seasons:
Gary obviously had a great year being named Player of the Year in the Atlantic 10 with so many great teams and individual players - it was a great honor for him. We relied on him to do so many things: scoring, rebounding, passing. He is one of the best passers on the team and many times played the back-up point guard position. He is somebody who we asked to play 35 minutes each night and do a little bit of everything and he responded. He is definitely the backbone of our team. A lot of times when you ask someone to do that much, it can be overwhelming, but Gary really excepted that responsibility well.
Chris has developed a lot in several different areas. His leadership abilities have probably developed the most. It is still something we are working on quite a bit because Chris is not a natural vocal leader. I like my point guards to be very outspoken and he has done a much better job working on that. The thing I like this year, especially in the last three to four weeks, is that he has understood exactly what the point guard is supposed to do which is make everyone around them better and worry about yourself second. In the last 10 or 11 games, I think he has averaged almost nine assists a game and that is when we have played our best basketball. I think he is starting understand exactly what the point guard role is and he has continually improved as the season has gone along.
Ford On Ricky Harris Being Named The A-10 Most Improved Player:
Ricky can really score with the basketball and has really improved from one year to the next. His opportunity has improved as well and that is something that he took advantage of. It is not easy to go from averaging around three points per game to averaging almost 20 points in your freshman to sophomore year. Because of that I think he was very much deserving of the award. Without question he is someone we have relied on to score some points for us and he has done that.
Ford On The Importance Of Home Court During The NIT:
I think it is very important without a question. How much of an advantage it is, I do not know. We actually have not played that well at home in terms of our best basketball. We are on Spring Break as well, so we will be without a lot of our student fans. We are excited that we earned a home bid and a second seed. We practice here every day so hopefully that will be to our advantage which we will need every bit of.