Feb. 1, 2008
Audio: Listen to the entire teleconference at SECsports.com
Vanderbilt basketball head coach Kevin Stallings and Auburn head coach Jeff Lebo discussed Saturday's matchup with the national media during Thursday's SEC Teleconference. Find out what each coach had to say about the upcoming game.
Vanderbilt Head Coach Kevin Stallings:
"We'll certainly be glad to get back home. We've not played very well on the road. We didn't play well last night (at Mississippi). I thought Mississippi did. I'm really impressed with the job Jeff (Lebo) has done, being shorthanded with all the injuries. They've had some impressive wins and performances. I'm really impressed with how their team plays. We need to get back on the winning track. We certainly are anxious to get back on the court and see if we can play better than we did last night."
Are you concerned with the play of the seniors on your team?
"I am. I'm concerned on a number of fronts. I don't think our effort has been quite as good. I don't think our leadership has been close to as good as it was early in the season. Obviously, the productivity hasn't been there either."
What has changed in their leadership?
"I think what happens is that sometimes, particularly when things go poorly, and this is what I told our team after the game last night, you can become self absorbed and start worrying about your problems instead of the problems of the group. If we fix the group, the individual things will be taken care of, not the other way around. If one individual gets fixed and another doesn't, then you still haven't solved your issues. We're thinking about our own individual problems to much instead of fixing the issues of the group."
How difficult is Auburn to prepare for with their style of play?
"They play five perimeter players. In terms of preparation, I don't know if they're hard to prepare for as much as they are difficult to play. I don't think we can simulate their speed and quickness in practice. They're difficult to play because of their ability to drive the ball, spread the floor, pass, and shoot. They're a very difficult match up for sure."
How do you decide to use your team's strength and size or quickness to match up to their style of play?
"I think our natural rotations will lead us to try and do a little bit of both. I think that's where our personnel is. We'll certainly try to take advantage of our size inside. They've got multiple sets of zone (defenses) they'll use to keep us from getting it in there. Nevertheless, we've got to try and get the ball inside. That's what we do. We've got to get the ball inside and get to the foul line. Going into last night, and I didn't check the stats for sure, but I know as of a game or two ago, we were leading the league in free throw attempts. We only got to the foul line four times last night. We've got to do a better job of getting ourselves to the line."
Auburn Head Coach Jeff Lebo:
"We know we're going into a very difficult place to play. Vanderbilt has had a very tough stretch where they've played four out of five (games) on the road. They're probably one of the best coached teams in our league and in the country. They've got three terrific scorers we'll have to contend with, especially Ogilvy and Foster, and Gordon seems to be playing much better this year."
Does playing on the road make much of a difference in the SEC?
"It does. If you do the legwork, basketball is the toughest sport to win on the road for whatever reason."
From your days as an assistant coach at Vanderbilt, do you view the layout of the court with the benches on the baselines as an advantage or an annoyance?
"We looked at it as an advantage. When you play there so often, you get use to coaching that way. You get use to how you have to make slight adjustments with communication with your team because it's different. When you only play in the arena one time per year, it's difficult. It's odd. Even when you check in, it's odd. I played at Vanderbilt when I was at North Carolina. We were number one in the country but got beat in there. They've got a great interest in basketball and a great advantage in that building. As coaches, when we were there, we thought it was a big advantage for us."
What types of slight adjustments does one have to make playing at Memorial Gymnasium?
"You have to be a good whistler. I think Kevin (Stallings) is an excellent whistler. I think when they interview coaches, they see if the coaches can whistle. You can hear it from one end of the court to the other. Eddie (Fogler) was a good stomper. He could stomp, and the vibrations could be felt on the other end of the court. It's kind of neat when it's in front of you. You've got a great vision of what's happening. Now the other end gets a little tricky at times. The kids (at Vanderbilt) get use to seeing where you are. Coaching wise, it's a big advantage when they play at home."
Describe playing at Memorial Gymnasium.
"The atmosphere is good. Even the baskets are different. If you look at the backdrop of the baskets, they're really different. They don't have the typical pole right underneath the endline. They have long, extended poles. From the angle, it's just different. They have some advantages there, especially with out of bounds under plays. They work a little better because they can see the whole court. They don't have the pole in the middle under the basket."
How do you think Vanderbilt has played over the last several weeks?
"First of all, the schedule they had was difficult with four of their first five on the road: at Kentucky, Tennessee, Florida, and Ole Miss. They lost a tough one in (double) overtime at Kentucky. They're still the same team. I think the one thing (that stands out) is that they missed a lot of shots on the road against Florida. They missed a lot of high percentage looks, especially from Ogilvy. I haven't seen their game from last night yet, but they're a team like most. Most teams seem to play better at home, but some teams play much, much better at home. Vanderbilt is one of those types of teams. They're undefeated at home. The way I look at it, there are four two-week segments. The type of schedule you have set up during those segments dictates how you will do. They had a tough schedule early, with four out of five on the road, but they have a bunch of home games coming up where I think you'll see them play much better."