Quotes From Herb Sendek's NCAA Selection Day Press Conference
March 15, 2009
Coach Herb Sendek
On how he feels about the matchup:
'We are very excited to be in the field and I know we play an outstanding Temple team: a team that's playing terrific basketball right now having just won the Atlantic 10 Championship. I've known Coach Dunfee for a long time and have tremendous respect for him. He had great success at Penn and has certainly carried on the Temple tradition which goes a long way back in basketball.'
If he is happy about getting the extra day off:
'Yeah I really am. When you play three consecutive games like we did and have a relatively short bench, that extra day is very much welcome. We have a couple of guys right now who are bumped and bruised so I think that is a very good thing for us especially in light of the fact that we have to travel across country now in addition to just having played three games. So yes, I think that's very welcome.'
On how he felt watching today's selection show in comparison to last year's:
'It was much different. Obviously last year we were hoping to get in and all of the anxiety that brought. This year we pretty much knew we were in but, [we were] still on the edge. Until you know who you're playing and actually see your name up there, it's an anxious time, but also an exciting time.'
On how the team's rigorous conference season schedule will aid them:
'We've talked about that for weeks now, for months, how deep and how talented the Pac-10 really is and what a great basketball conference [it is] and I think the selection committee recognized that today with their choices and their seedings.'
On the importance of the Pac-10 Tournament experience:
'I think you always bring forward every experience: we can go back to the beginning of the season, we can go back to last year and most certainly include this past weekend. All of those together, both the good and the bad, are opportunities to learn from, to grow and to draw upon as you move forward.'
On if they've played their best basketball in their last three games:
'I think we played very well against Cal, Arizona and Washington and I thought we played exceptionally well the first half against USC so for three games plus one-half, we have played very well. I thought we played very well in the five game stretch before we went to the northwest as well, and I don't know that we played poorly in the northwest: we lost two overtime games to two really good basketball teams, so I do think our team has played well, if you want to bracket that part of the schedule and look at it from that standpoint. This past weekend I thought we played some of our best basketball of the season, not withstanding the last 20 minutes against USC.'
On how important it is that none of the players have been to the NCAA Tournament before:
'It's just a fact of the matter and I don't know that we'll stand alone in that regard but it's where we're at. However, our guys have played in big games, our guys have played against outstanding competition and at the end of the day it's Hoosiers: the basket is 10 feet and it's the same size court and we've got to go play the game. They've played in big games before, many of them in high school, and they've done it here at Arizona State.'
On what he'll tell them to expect:
'I probably won't spend a lot of time with that and what we typically do is focus on our preparation and try to really zero in on our game plan and what we have to do to effectively attack Temple. That will be the thrust of our time together.
On where the program is today in respect to when he first took the job and how quickly they've made the tournament:
'I think it's really important for us to frame it in the moment and just take this in for what it is now and do it with a grateful heart, do it with shared community for all the great support we received. I don't feel personally any great need to try and place it in some historical slot, I'd much rather just enjoy the moment and celebrate with these guys, what they've been able to do this season and let it go at that. I think that's important: to the extent that we can stay at now, it's to our advantage as we move forward this week.'
On if Jamelle McMillan is ready to return:
'They are going to re-evaluate him, tomorrow, but he is getting better and we are very hopeful that he will be able to return. I think just looking over the course of this past weekend it was obvious that we really missed him. The guys held together up until that last 20 minutes, but we can certainly use his help and we are hopeful that he'll be able to return. I know he's getting better but we just have to wait for final clearance.'
On if they are putting together some tape to study Temple:
'We tape a lot of games anyway. Our video guy Bryce Long tapes every game that's on all season long so we have a tremendous library and I'd be shocked if we don't have some Temple tape in there. I'm pretty sure we do.'
If Temple uses a match up under Coach Dunfee:
'I have not seen them play yet this year so I don't want to speak out of turn, usually I'm too busy watching Arizona State to watch too many other games.'
On if he'll get much sleep this week:
'I hope to sleep well tonight, I really do. That would be a tremendous accomplishment if I could do that tonight.'
On if he allows himself to look at the other teams in the region:
'I haven't seen a bracket yet and I can't remember, with such a quick flash, all the teams. I know whose in our `pod' if you will: Syracuse, Stephen F. Austin, ourselves and Temple, but beyond that I couldn't remember who the other four teams are to be honest with you.'
On Arizona also being in Miami:
'I think it's a reflection on the depth and the strength of the Pac-10 this year. I think it was recognized how good this league really is and I've said it all along, I said it after our game on Thursday, how talented and how good I thought Arizona was, so I'm not surprised.'
On how he'll keep the team focused from the distractions of Miami, the tournament, etc.:
'I'll keep `em busy, that's for certain, and we will not be on South Beach, that will be easy. Our guys want to play well and it's important to them, so I don't think I'm going to have a real difficult time having them zero-in. This is important to them.
On his history in Miami:
'[I] have coached at Miami when I was in the Big East, when Miami used to be in the Big East, and obviously when they moved to the ACC we played Miami there, but no tournament games or anything of that nature.'