bleedCrimson.net Weekly Coach Menzies Interview :: 11/09/10

bleedCrimson.net: Your thoughts on the exhibition game against Eastern New Mexico on Monday night?
Marvin Menzies: I was happy to see our guys play hard. We didn't always play smart but we played hard. We had a positive energy within ourselves and good chemistry. You don't expect to see a lot of high level execution and some of the finer points to be fully carried out at a high level at this stage of the season but I think the most important thing is the effort and I think we got that.

bc.net: It looked like your team was a lot more crisp passing the basketball last night in terms of the ball not staying in one player's hand for three, four or five seconds while their teammates were running around.
MM: Our system is designed in a certain way to take advantage of the highest percentage shot, now we turned it over a lot in attempting to move the ball because of the fact that we're really pushing it this year and guys are trying to make that extra pass. But we've really kind of gotten some growth and returning players really understanding how the system works and just having a feel for using it and that's probably what you were seeing last night.

bc.net: The rebounding statistics were lopsided and a lot of that has to do with the team you were playing against, however, it seemed like there was a little extra effort in the rebounding last night.
MM: Rebounding statistic is pretty hard to use that game as a measuring stick even though it was pretty lopsided just because of the physical dominance we had over Eastern New Mexico but I think that it's something that we've focused on and it's an emphasis for the season. It's a stat that obviously you can say, "Hey, here it is and it's a good thing," but we've got to do it against a higher level of competition starting Friday.

bc.net: Defensively you were able to hold them under 40 percent shooting for the night.
MM: I think that was the result of us being able to see a couple of their games so we were a little better armed in our scouting report than UTEP or UNM so we were able to get out and challenge the three a little bit more readily and were more prepared for that because they really do shoot the three well and that's the neutralizer and that's the magic component of getting back in a a game. You can either shoot yourself in or shoot yourself out. They do a very good job of having a lot of guys that can hit the long range ball so we were aware of that and I think that aided us in our overall effort.

bc.net: How much extra benefit did you see last night from having those extra 10 practices in the summer and having the road trip to Canada?
MM: There was a comfort level, there was a comfort level of knowing the system was in place, that you had several players that were familiar and going out and not having to start from scratch so to speak was definitely a benefit. And I think having the versatile defenses and those things in our repertoire so to speak was definitely a big plus.

bc.net: On Friday night you open up against Louisiana on the road.
MM: I just started watching tape on them today. They have a brand new coach, they have some talented players returning so I know they'll be scrappy and they'll be at home so I'm sure they'll bring the extra effort as most teams do in their home opener. They'll probably have a pretty decent crowd and we're expecting to go in and be in a war and hopefully we can come out on top.

bc.net: After the game at Louisiana you come home on Monday to take on Western New Mexico.
MM: Yeah, Western is a scrappy team and they're going to be one of those teams that just like most Division II teams, you can't take them for granted. As you've seen across the nation Division II teams are beating Division I teams on a regular basis this past weekend. Nevada's lost, Tennessee, Auburn lost as well and the list goes on. You want to be able to make sure that your guys are mentally focused on approaching that game for what it means which is a game that counts on your record.

bc.net: What would you attribute the increase in upsets by Division II teams over Division I teams so far? Is it mainly just because it's early in the season?
MM: Yeah, I think that's a piece of it but then I also think there's a lot of turnover at those programs, new players, new coaches and different dynamics. They vary from school to school. It's going to take some of those schools a little time to get rolling and that plays a part of it. But also it's just basketball. In basketball you've got to respect your opponent. If you don't, anybody can beat anybody on any given night. There's probably some of that going on too. Hopefully it'll be a wakeup call to some of those schools that weren't on their 'A' game because in their mind they were playing a Division II team.