Men's Basketball: Press Conference Transcript From Cooper, Offutt and Keely

By
Grant Burkhardt

Dateline
Updated Thu, Mar 15, 2012 8:24 pm

Question.  Guys, in your film study and just prepping for Michigan, what's the scariest thing you see about their offense, their defense, individual players, things like that?

OFFUTT:  Obviously three-point shooting, they're able to shoot the three ball, that's something that Coach Beilein has done his whole career.  Pretty much the three-point ball.

COOPER:  Just not letting them penetrate and take the three ball.

KEELY:  They have real solid guard play.  Try to stop Trey Burke and Hardaway from doing what they do.

Q.  Walter, can you talk about what it will be like to be out on the court with Zack again and what kind of interaction have you guys had in the last couple days?

OFFUTT:  Him and Zack, Stu Douglass and Zack Novak are friends of mine.  I had a little bit of conversation with them probably a couple nights ago.  It will be fun to be out on the court with them, playing with the guys we grew up with.

Q.  How much are you guys inspired by the upset of Georgetown a couple years ago that it can happen again, it's not just a one time thing that Michigan is a team that could be upset also.

COOPER:  It give us confidence.  You know, we know that's in the past.  You know, we just know that we got to be a better team tomorrow night and we have to come out and play hard and know that Georgetown, that doesn't even matter anymore.

Q.  NCAA Tournament aside, how -- what are your feelings regarding playing Michigan where just about everybody on the team knows somebody or several bodies on the other team, as opposed to maybe playing a team that you hardly know anything about?

KEELY:  We can't get caught up in personal battles.  It's not one person against another person just because you know each other.  You got to stay focused and come out and play our game plan and hopefully get the win.

Q.  DJ, what does this team have going for it right now, coming out of that MAC tournament, what do you guys feel like you have going for you to get into this tournament?

COOPER:  We're playing with confidence right now.  We're playing together as a team.  We're playing pretty good defense right now.  That's what we've been relying on all year.  We're going to stick together, stay together through the tournament.

Q.  DJ, Trey said he took an unofficial visit.  Were you one of the guys to show him around.  Do you remember anything about that in particular?

COOPER:  No, I don't remember too much about it.  I don't know.

Q.  Reggie, could you talk about the matchup inside and for one of the few times against a power conference team, you guys are going to be deeper in the post.  Talk about how that march-up might play out in your favor.

KEELY:  We realize we have a size advantage.  We got three post players in rotation and we're all capable of having big games.  We got to come out ready to play.  We realize they're smaller on their side and we got to use our physicality and our size to our advantage.

Q.  To Reggie and DJ, we talked about the experience factor from the previous tournament trip being a help to you guys coming here, but now that you're here and you're going through everything, the odd practice times, the pressers, all the other obligations, can you sense that experience is helping you right now as you're going through this in advance of the game tomorrow night?

COOPER:  It's all exciting.  It's bringing back flashbacks from two years ago.  Just exciting.  Little bit of nervousness.  We're going to come out ready to play.

KEELY:  I feel like this week preparing to come here, you know, for freshman year a lot of things look familiar.  It's not as much as a surprise to us or not shell-shocked or, you know, surprised by the bright lights.  I think we're a little bit more prepared this time around.

Q.  When you pulled the upset two years ago, was there something psychological to that that you guys had to get in a certain frame of mind to either disregard the seeds or not consider them bigger than you or something?

COOPER:  Coach got us ready.  We just knew we had to play our game no matter who it was.  Take it one possession at a time and just trust our system.

KEELY:  I think during that run, I think our Armon Bassett was a big help in that.  He had a lot of experience playing in the Big Ten against top competition, like before games he would tell us we got to come out and expect to win, you know.  They're just another team.  He kept at it in our heads.

Q.  Walt, could you talk about the opportunity you guys have.  This is a chance for you guys to show you have elevated as a program.  Can you just go a little bit further on that point?

OFFUTT:  Obviously this is the second year in the tournament.  We want to go out there to play with confidence.  As long as we do that and come out with confidence, we should be fine.  This is again another step in our program to taking in the right direction and advances in the NCAA Tournament, and we want to continue to do that and show we belong in the tournament.

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