University of Oregon men’s basketball forward Mike Moser and head coach Dana Altman talked to reporters about the full court press, breaking out of slumps and the daunting challenge of heading to Tucson to face the No. 2 ranked Arizona Wildcats.
Here’s some of what they said:
What was the difference for you between Thursday and Saturday?
Thursday was really frustrating but Saturday I tried to ease my way into the game and get my teammates involved.
Have you lost any confidence?
No, I was really disappointed in the whole month of January. But it’s a new month so hopefully I can turn it around.
What has been the difference for you between the conference and the non-conference schedule?
Play definitely picked up. Teams really knows you better, scout you better and know how to take you out of the game.
How big of a challenge will this UA game be for you guys?
They’re the best in the country, best for weeks now. If we can out-rebound them, take care of the basketball and play oregon ball, we’ll be fine.
What can you take away from Cal’s upset over UA?
We learned some of their deficiencies and how if we get their big men in foul trouble, we can turn the game in our favor.
What does UA lose with the loss of Brandon Ashley?
He’s really talented. He can score the ball and he is a rim protector. I think taking that away, they’re definitely pretty vulnerable.
How will UA’s physicality play a factor in this game?
We’re ready for the physicality. Who will win will be able to withstand and play the hardest for 40 minutes. It will be tough with their home crowd but I think we can do it.
How would you describe how USC responded to the press?
They looked at that and really didn’t know what to do it seemed like
Do you think the team will start using the press more often?
I think so. With the success that we’ve had, it would be dumb not to.
How big would a win over UA be for your resume?
That’s a great resume win if we can get that. We all know how important that is as far as the NCAA Tournament.
Do you guys pay attention to that stuff?
Definitely. We had some tough losses. I’m not exactly sure where we are. We just have to win games.
What do you appreciate about UO that you didn’t get to experience at other universities?
The chef, the way we travel and being able to get private planes. The crowd that we have here is ridiculous all the time.
What do you like about Dana Altman as a head coach?
His patience. He’s a teacher come practice time. He makes sure everyone is on the same page.
How have you been able to pull through tough stretches?
A few seniors on the team that understand the importance of each win. Don’t downplay losses but kind of keep it moving.
Would you say this team is on a hot streak?
No, we’re just trying to get the next win. Maybe if we win this one you can call it a hot streak.
How do you plan to attack UA?
We’re gonna take it right at them. No one is afraid of anyone.
How do you get Elgin Cook out of this slump?
I don’t know. As a team we just keep encouraging him to keep on plugging through it. He’ll get out of it. It happens. We know what he can do. We’re probably more confident than him in his abilities.
Where does Arizona rank amongst the teams you’ve coached against in your career?
Defensively, they’re as good as anyone we’ve faced. Sean’s always been a good defensive coach, when you add in athleticism and size, they’re very good. Their strength is defensively and on the boards and that’s something you can bring every night and that’s why you have the consistency that they’ve been able to show.”
How will you utilize the press against UA?
I think you can press, but the strength they have at the guards, I don’t know how much you’re going to be able to turn it over.
Do you use the press to increase the team’s energy?
Against USC it got our energy. The press serves a lot of functions.To get your team going and to get the other team on its heels. We’ve used it some. We haven’t protected the basket like I would like, which has made me use it cautiously. We’re still not sound in any one phase defensively.
What effect does the loss of Brandon Ashley have on UA?
I think they will go with Jefferson a lot more. They have a lot of good players which are just waiting for an opportunity. Jefferson is not quite as big as Brandon but does a couple different things athletically than Brandon.
Do you like to feed the hot hand?
When someone gets on a roll we get them a few more shots. Jason was shooting the ball well so we go him the ball. Inside we don’t have a consistent performer. Rich feels more comfortable facing the basket than with his back to it. We’ve got to hit a few more shots. Guys just aren’t shooting the ball very well. We’re still shooting a good percentage on uncontested jump shots and shots we practice. But like any team, we’re missing a lot of contested jump shots.
Mike said he flipped the calendar. What do you think about that?
I hope so, just for his sake. He didn’t have a good month of January. We relied on him heavily to get to a good start. He’s struggled a little bit. He’s had some really good games and he’s had some games that if it doesn’t start right, he can’t get into it.
How do you like coaching basketball?
When your hobby is your job, you’re really fortunate. If I wasn’t coaching basketball I would be coming home at night watching ball games anyway. I played college ball. I was an awful player, but I still got to play. I played pickup ball into my 40’s until every time I played I got hurt. The games are the tough part of it. I enjoy practice and individual workouts. You hate letting down the people that support us. I’ve had an opportunity to coach a lot of really good guys. Guys are texting and calling when we’re losing. Guys are texting and calling when we’re winning. All the old vets can’t believe you’re letting the guys do this, can’t believe you’re letting the guys to that. You were tougher on us, they say. It’s great to see those guys doing well. All the guys that have left here in the last few years are still playing.
How do you think the guards have played defensively recently?
Our guards at times have been so good defensively. At other times, they take too many chances and get out of position a little bit. I can never fault Johnny’s effort, DA is good on the ball, Jason has a knack on defense and Joe has gotten better.