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figured out, I think our defense has got to be our staple. We've got to rebound the basketball. I think with our ability to score in transition, getting stops is something that's important. We can't score when we're taking the ball out of the net. And then I think the other thing with the group that we have, a very hopefully intellectual offensive team, I'm hoping with this team the ability to take care of the basketball is a huge priority and we do a great job with that.
Q. Maybe assess the way you feel the Big Ten will shape out this year. I know it's very early, but how do you see it turning out?
COACH MATTA: Well, somebody asked me the other day, they said, “What do you think this year?” And I said, “Honestly, being in the league nine years, I don't think it's going to be any different than it has been in the past, just in terms of the grind.” And I've said this about the Big Ten. I think the Big Ten's about having the ability to get knocked down and getting back up and fighting again. Because it's such a great league. You've got great players. Great coaches. Great fans. There's going to be challenges. You look at teams that can get on a roll. Teams that can stay healthy. You gotta look at how the schedule plays out, who plays who, those types of things. But I think you're looking at a lot like it's been the last couple of years in terms of it has the potential to come down to the wire the last -- I know for sure two years, because we've been involved, and both of them have come down basically to the last shot to determine -- an 18-game season for 12 different teams, the title is determined on the last second of it. How fitting is that for a great league?
Q. John Groce was an assistant for you. Are you surprised by anything he's done as a head coach? Was there anything that stuck out when he was an assistant that you thought he could coach this well at this level?
COACH MATTA: No, I think -- I've been fortunate to have a lot of coaches go on and become head coaches and are doing very well right now. But John had all the characteristics that I felt -- not that I'm the judge of it, but the things that he would do on a daily basis. And I always say to myself, if he gets the opportunity, I think he's going to be a heck of a head coach. And obviously that's what he's done. I mean from OU to now Illinois, I couldn't be happier for him and the job he's doing. And you know this about John: He's going to grind it out and find ways to keep the Illinois basketball where it's been.
Q. How do you think the new rules are going to affect the game, short term and long term?
COACH MATTA: I don't know yet. Honestly, I don't want to avoid the question. I've gotta see it -- I've gotta see it for a couple of weeks. And I want to see it across the board, if that makes sense. And then I think the coaches that I've spoken with, we have to take -- if it's going to be this way -- now some guys are saying our exhibition game wasn't that way, it was just like it always is. Others are saying, oh my. So for all of us, I think we're looking at saying, okay, we've got about a two-, three-week window where we have to look at this and analyze. It may be subtle changes, it may be big changes that we have to make just in terms both offensively and defensively to adjust and as all coaches try to do gain an advantage.
Q. You got a lot of questions on Media Day in Columbus about who is going to make shots for you guys. After the last three weeks of practice and the scrimmage you had last Saturday, how are your percentages and what's your impression of how your guys are going to shoot?
COACH MATTA: It's always -- in practice it's that double edge, because when the percentages are high, I'm mad at the defense. When the percentages aren't, I'm mad at the guy shooting. So I like the way we're shooting the ball, just in terms of percentage-wise of where we've been in the past going back, looking, analyzing numbers. Now obviously you guys do it when the lights are on. But I think guys have appeared to this point to have a different demeanor, different approach in terms of how important shooting is to me and the welfare of this team's success.
Q. If these rules kind of stay as they are, how can that possibly affect recruiting moving forward as far as what kind of players you need to win?
COACH MATTA: I haven't thought about that one. I'll go back to Tom's question, I need a