Head Coach Lute Olson Quotes

March 10, 2002

On the teams tournament bid:
'The good news is that we are staying in the West. The bad new is that theWest is probably, far and away, the toughest region of the four. It stillgets down to a matter of survival, and no matter what bracket you are in,it ends up with that kind of thing were we have been all over the place,and its still a matter of survival. I was a little surprised that we endedup as the three seed. I thought that given our schedule being the secondtoughest and our RPI the way it was going into the beginning of the week,and with our winning of the tournament, thatwe would be going to a two. But the difference between two and three is not all that great. The onlydifference is that if you have the toughest sixth team in your bracket. I thinkGonzaga is definitely that. We're close to home, and I think that's great,and as long as we survive, we will stay in the West.'

On the postseason conference tournaments:
'Why should a game there help you more than a conference game? I think theconference games are fairer since you have to play each team home and away. The comments on TV were that the committee was looking at the conferencetournaments like a regular conference game. Frankly, when you look at it,with our conference, we play 18 games in the league, home and away, so theyshould have more weight than on games played on a neutral site. That siteover in L.A. was as neutral of a site as (us) playing in Phoenix or for someonelike Cal to play in the Oakland Coliseum. It's certainly not a neutral site.'

On Oregon's tournament bid:
'I thought that was based on them beating us twice on the year. We to themin Oregon in December, and when we played them here, we were without LukeWalton, and we are a totally different team without Luke. The fact thatour schedule was so much tougher then Oregon's, I was a little bit surprisedby that. On the other hand, the committee placed more value on winning theconference championship than the tournament championship, and they were consistenton that throughout the country.'

On the West Region:
'I thought Gonzaga would definitely be in the three to four range. It wouldbe tough to be a two for them because, when you start looking at conferencegames, they have Pepperdine who is very tough and well recognized, but thereare a lot of teams where that doesn't help your RPI.'

'Its loaded, because you look at all of the conference champs, and I thinkthat is what makes it especially tough. But, I'm sure that if we were ina different region, we would be looking at it saying how tough it was, withDuke in it or Maryland or Kansas. The fact that we are talking about theBig-10 champion and Cincinnati who is certainly an outstanding team, andthen you take Oklahoma who beat Kansas today. There is no question thatit's loaded. In the past, those outside of the committee do not understandall of the nuances of the bid selection.'

What are your initial thoughts on UC-Santa Barbara?
'I saw them (UC Santa Barbara) on television, but I did not watch them knowingthat we would end up playing them in the tournament. We have tape on them,and I will have that within a half hour. But, our assistants have alreadystarted on them.'

What are your thoughts on playing in Albuquerque?
'I understand that they have something like 5,000 seats left so, it will bea case of which anyone from Tucson that wants to go will be able to get in. The good thing about the Pit is that it seems like there aren't any bad seatsthere. We are hoping that we will have a strong contingent.'

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