Big Ten: Potent Quotables

By - October 29, 2006

I'll be checking in Monday morning with posts from the Missouri Valley Conference Centennial Gala and Basketball Media Day at the Renassance Grand Hotel in St. Louis, as the nation's second-oldest conference celebrates its big birthday. To hold you over, here are some parting thoughts from today's Big Ten event -- from their mouths to your eyes:

  • "That is the thing about sports that drives you crazy. That was a special team: 25 wins, we had just come off the [Big Ten tournament] championship, we had missed the league [regular-season championship] by a game. We were coming off a high and had been consistent all year. We played a game like that -- have two 15-point leads, don't make free throws down the stretch, turn the ball over -- and did things in that game that we hadn't done all year long. The heartbreak was I wanted to coach that team as long as I could. Once it ended, that group of seniors moved on. Now, we are excited again because we have a new team -- but that was hard to sit on for a while." --Iowa coach Steve Alford on last year's season-ending upset at the hands of No. 14-seeded Northwestern State in the first round of the NCAAs

  • "You've got to walk before you can run. Anytime you can get into postseason play is important. The environment the game was played in was good for us. It did a lot with our student body coming out and supporting the team. Our season tickets have sold very well. It creates some excitement around our program and is good for us." --Penn State coach Ed DeChellis on the importance of last season's NIT bid

  • "He is unique. He has separated himself in more areas than just on the court. I read some excerpts from interviews he did when he was 15 or 16 years old. I could tell he was special from his response. His responses were always about going to school for the right reasons. You very rarely hear him use the words 'I' or 'me' in a response; it is always about the team. That is what really impressed me about him." --Indiana coach Kelvin Sampson on Ohio State rising freshman Greg Oden

  • "I think we are being realistic. We are not the same team. We have lost four starters. Losing Shannon (Brown) is going to make things a little more difficult early on for us. It's not all bad though. For the players -- and definitely for the coaches, fans and media -- it gives us a dose of reality in this day and age. There are going to be some ups and downs. For a coach, it teaches you that sometimes we forget about the basics too. It's been good for me because it really gives me a chance to refocus on the things that can take us to another level. If we can survive the year with the youth we have, we have a chance to get right back to where expectations usually are." --Michigan State coach Tom Izzo on not having the expectations of last season

  • "In this conference, you have to have veteran players. In this league, that usually means redshirt juniors or seniors. We have four seniors -- one is a fifth-year senior -- and we are relying on those players to play up to their potential and set the example for the young players. If they are capable of doing those things, I like our chances." --Michigan coach Tommy Amaker on having a veteran team

  • "I am not one of those coaches who enters any year with any set expectations or goals. We plan on winning every game when we set foot on the floor. You have to practice like that, and you have to play like that. We have embraces the situation that we are in. We are being picked 10th or 11th in the league, and that is what we are coming out of the gate with. It is a long race, and we don't have to finish there. We're going to have to pass some teams along the way if we want to win basketball games." --Minnesota coach Dan Monson on his team's expectations

Posted by at 10:18 PM on October 29, 2006

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