visit our archives at asapsports.com
East Tennessee State - 03 17 10.doc
excited and very eager to play this game. Again,we know we're playing a great, great team, but our practices have been pretty sharp, and I think we'vegotten a lot done in preparation for this game.
Q. Can you describe your relationshipwith Cal?
COACH BARTOW: Well, we're friends.I'm really close to Martin Newton. Martin and Ihave been friends forever, and longtime, very, veryclose friends. I've known John a long time. Wecompeted against each other when I was at UABand he was at Memphis. I think he's one of thebest coaches in the country.He's also been incredibly nice to my dad.My dad's had a tough battle, fighting a tough battlewith gastric cancer, and John has reached out tomy dad in an incredible way. Talks to my dadprobably at least once a week. Has traveled toBirmingham to see my dad, and certainly that'smeant a lot to our family.John's been incredibly good to my dad andour family, and certainly we appreciate that. ButI've known John for a long time.
Q. Tommy Hubbard mentioned whenhe was up here about how much basketball hethinks is a mental game. I'm wondering when a16 is going against a 1, if a 16 can hang inthere; that that can work in the 16's favor.
COACH BARTOW: Well, I think mentallya big part of this game is the mental game andpreparation. Now once the game starts, it's --obviously it becomes a lot more than that. But Ithink mentally you better be ready to play thisgame, and mentally you better know you can winthis game or you shouldn't even show up.I think we've done a good job last year andthis year of showing the guys factual evidence thatwe can win this game. You can look at pasttournaments and see mid-majors beating thesetypes of teams. Not in the 16-1, but in a 15-2 or a14-3. But you can show them that mid-majors canwin these types of games.Plus we've got good history in thetournament of playing close games. Now, wehaven't -- several years ago we played Cincinnatiin the first round. We lost by three. Last year played Pittsburgh, and that game went right to thewire or at least down to the last three or four minutes.So I think the mental part of it is big, that,hey, we can win this game if we do these thingswell. I think our guys really believe that.Obviously, again, we're smart enough to know we'llhave to play our best game of the year tomorrow.But I think the mental part of it is important; thatyou really do truly believe you can win the game.And our guys do.Again, if you've seen our teams play or saw us play Pittsburgh last year, we're going tocompete very hard. We're going to fight and scrapand compete, and hopefully that will be enough.But, again, Kentucky's awfully good.
Q. On the flip side of the mental thing,Kentucky is a No. 1 seed. They're projected byeven President Obama to get to the Final Four and play in the championship game. I'mwondering if you think that as the game goesalong, if you're right there, right there, that thatcan maybe turn the screws on them?
COACH BARTOW: Well, I think that's truein any game where you've got a prohibitive favoritein the game. Later it goes, the tighter it gets, itcertainly does probably favor the other teambecause there is pressure involved with beingexpected to win. That's in a conferencetournament. That's in a game like this.The problem in a game like this for theopposing team, us, they've got great players. Andgreat players make the plays to win games,especially late in games and in close games. Ithink that's the reason you've never seen a 16 beata 1, is because the great players, the John Walls,the DeMarcus Cousins, the Pattersons, theBledsoes, they've got the ability to take over agame when it needs to be taken over.But I do think we saw that at Pittsburgh inthe Pittsburgh game last year. Five, six minutes togo. It was a two-point game. The whole place wasfor us. The crowd got into the game. That 1 seedcan get tight. The problem last year with the 1seed is DeJuan Blair decided he was going to takethe game over in the last four minutes, which heproceeded to do.But obviously, if we could get to halftimeand it would be a tight game, and if we could stayin the game, deep into the game, it does put somepressure on the team that is the favorite andexpected to win.
Q. How much premium do you put ontournament experience? That is the one areawhere Kentucky might be lacking?
COACH BARTOW: Well, you know, that's