Quotes from Herb Sendek's Tuesday Press Conference

March 11, 2008

Head Coach Herb Sendek

On whether he looks at the various predictions about the NCAA Tournament field:

'I have spent zero time engaged in trying to figure who's in and who's out, until last night. I looked at it for the first time and it was a big mistake. I immediately started to play those mental gymnastics, which at the end of the day are fruitless, because there is only one group whose opinion really counts, and that's the committee's. We can only help ourselves by winning as many games as possible.'

On whether he feels they must beat USC Thursday to get in the Tournament:

'I don't know, if we're in already or if we must win. I know this - winning is better than not winning. It increases our chances, so we're going to do everything we can toward that end. We play a team in USC that is red hot, a team that's coming off a great win against Stanford at home, has won 11 out of their last 15 in our conference and is very capable of making a deep run into the NCAA Tournament.'

On if the players are thinking about the Tournament predictions:

'I don't think so. We don't spend a lot of time talking about that. We get together and we go to work. There's so much that you have to get done in the time you're together, in terms of preparation, in terms of practicing, that we don't typically just sit around in a group and have these discussion panels. That's not how we invest our time.'

On why the Tournament has grown so much in popularity recently:

'I think there is way more talent than ever before. I think there are more good players, top to bottom, coast to coast. As our country's population has grown, as basketball has caught fire overseas and you have an influx of international players, as more institutions now emphasize the sport of men's basketball and make great investments in facilities and the way programs are run, you see that there are so many good teams and good players. I don't see it as a diminishment just because we lose some of the very top players earlier to the NBA. I think, on the whole, there are more really good players. It's just a great sport. By virtue of the fact it's single elimination, there's always drama, there's always excitement. It's truly one of the great sporting events of the year.'

On James Harden's ability to take over games:

'It's one thing to have that attitude or think that. It's another thing to be able to do it. He has a great talent set, and he's had a terrific year for us. Even though he is just a first-year player, I think the rest of our guys draw their confidence, in many cases, from his disposition and his approach to things.'

On Harden and Pendergraph earning All-Pac-10 honors:

'It's a great honor for both guys, especially in a year where there are so many talented players in the Pac-10.'

Guard Derek Glasser

On if he expects this game with USC to be even more intense than the last meeting:

'We're not doubting that. I definitely think it could be. They are one of the more physical teams in our conference, so we're expecting the same type of game.'

On if he feels they should already be in the Tournament or if they need to beat USC to get in:

'We really can't control if we're in or not right now. The season's not over, so we just need to make our résumé even better. All we're focusing on is USC. If we get ahead of ourselves and start thinking about the Tournament, then we might lose to USC. If we can win against USC, I think we should be alright. But this is the biggest game of our season so far.'

On the opportunity to play at the Staples Center in Los Angeles:

'It's a great opportunity. That's where Kobe [Bryant] plays. Obviously, going back home, playing in front of friends and family, is a great opportunity.'

On if they have confidence having beaten USC recently:

'That game definitely brought us closer together as a team, to be able to play a tough game like that and come out with the win, especially so late in the season. But other than that, I don't know if you can really use it.'

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