OU Previews Round Two vs. Michigan

Athletics Communications
By Athletics Communications
University of Oklahoma
KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Men's basketball coach Jeff Capel, along with Blake and Taylor Griffin, met with the media Friday afternoon in Kansas City to preview Oklahoma's second-round matchup with Michigan.
 
Quotes are available below. Click the following links to view video.
 
NCAA Tournament Coverage | Friday, March 20
Video Head Coach Jeff Capel | Video Blake and Taylor Griffin | NCAA Tournament Central
 
The Sooners (28-5) and Wolverines (21-13) are scheduled to tip off at approximately 4:50 p.m., Saturday at the Sprint Center. Senior Associate A.D. Kenny Mossman will again blog live from his post directly behind the OU bench, literally bringing Sooner fans inside the huddle. For complete information on TV, radio and internet coverage of the game, visit Sooner NCAA Tournament Central.
 
  Head Coach Jeff Capel

Opening comments:
"We're excited to still be playing, to have another opportunity to play, playing against a very good Michigan team that's well coached, really tough to prepare for, especially with just one day (of preparation). We'll get out there and practice and go through some things, and hopefully we can be prepared. Most importantly, we have to be ready to take care of us and doing the things we need to be doing. We're excited about the game tomorrow. Look forward to seeing what happens."

On his reaction to seeing replays of Blake Griffin being flipped against Morgan State:
"It was awful. Blake was very fortunate, very, very fortunate. After I left here last night, went back to the locker room, I had the TV on, they showed it. Just made me even more angry. That doesn't need to be in our game. I'm talking about college basketball, plays like that. One of the things that it could do is it could make the really elite players not want to be in college long for fear of getting hurt. I had an opportunity when I played to play against some elite players. I don't think they went through anything like that. I don't recall (Tim) Duncan getting hit like that or taken down like that, or (Antawn) Jamison or (Stephon) Marbury or those guys. There's no place for that in our game, and it's just frustrating to see it happen to a kid who's everything right about college basketball. I was probably more frustrated after I saw it last night."

On Michigan freshman guards Zack Novak and Stu Douglass:
"They're good. They're scrappy and tough. It's not a fake toughness. Those kids play hard. They can make shots. Most importantly, which is so important on a team, they understand who they are -- and probably just as important -- who they're not. They don't try to do the things that they're not good at. They focus on what they do, and they do it at a very high level, make shots, play hard, defend, scrap, do all the little things that add up to being really big things. I think that's one of the reasons why Michigan is in the position they're in right now."

On what makes Michigan difficult to prepare for:
"What makes them difficult is how much movement they have in their offense. It has some Princeton offense similarities, but it's its own unique style. They have a lot of moving and cutting. They keep great spacing and they have five guys on the floor all the time that can shoot the basketball. So your traditional 5 man may not play a possession of post defense. They may have to be out on the perimeter the whole game. A lot of screening, lot of cutting. They do a great job of making reads."

On if Oklahoma is tough to prepare for:
"For us, we just have to do what we do, and hopefully we can impose our will and make them react to us and to what we do. As far as us being difficult to prepare for, I don't know. That's something another coach would have to answer. I know that they're not many Blake Griffins around. So I know that's unique in its own standpoint of having to prepare for that. But when we have movement on offense, we're screening and doing those things, I think we are tough to guard. When we don't move and just stay and become lethargic, we're pretty easy to guard. Hopefully we'll have movement tomorrow and be tough to guard."

On Michigan shooting a lot of 3-pointers:
"One of the things with a team that shoots a lot of 3s is that a lot of times there are long rebounds. Michigan, if I'm correct -- and I looked at this this morning, maybe my math is a little bit off -- I think they shoot 47.7 percent of their shots from 3. That's a lot. It's almost half of their offense. So with that, sometimes it leads to a lot of long rebounds. Our guards are going to have to rebound for us tomorrow. We're going to have to check out and rebound. It's something we didn't do well yesterday. We're going to have to make that a point of emphasis tomorrow."

  Senior Taylor Griffin

On the challenge of defending Michigan:
"I think they run a really good system. You know, I think they rely on that a lot, and it's been really good for them. I think the biggest thing for us is to play really good team defense. You know, they make a lot of cuts, curls. They utilize coming off screens really well, and I think that the biggest thing is just being alert every possession and crashing the boards."

On if they expect to see a lot of zone from Michigan:
"You know, I think the zone has been really something that they rely on a lot. We expect to see 1-3-1, 2-3, and they're very good at it. That's one thing that we're going to have to have -- a well-rounded game offensively to compete with that. I'm sure they'll double-team Blake and whatever, but (we have to) be ready for anything and be ready to knock down open shots and make plays."

On the Big 12 Conference going 6-0 in NCAA first-round play:
"First of all, that's great for the conference. You know, we know how tough the Big 12 is, even though the Big East got a lot of attention this year -- and rightfully so. But, at the same time, the Big 12 has been tough this year. I know a lot of people said it's kind of been a down year, but I think it's been just as tough as ever. But that's great for us, great for the program, great for the conference, actually. Best of luck to everybody out there."

On why players like Kevin Durant and Michael Beasley didn't take the beatings Blake does:
"I mean Durant and Beasley were very good players, but they're not nearly, not even close to as physical as he is, big and strong as he is, and I think that's what a lot of it is. He's going to get his buckets, no matter what he's going to go try. I think it's frustrating for guys. I know it's frustrating for guys trying to guard him in practice every day. So, I can't imagine when you're in the game and your one assignment is to stop Blake and it's not working. You're going to get frustrated."

  Sophomore Blake Griffin

On the challenge of defending Michigan:
"They're very, very good at what they do and they run a great system, and they all know exactly what they're supposed to do. So we're going to have to be on our game. I don't know exactly what we're going to do just yet, but I know we need to come out and play right because they're a great team."

On if he has experienced any lingering effects from being flipped Thursday:
"Just a little soreness. That's about it. Nothing unusual."

On his reaction to seeing replays or photos of being flipped Thursday night:
"I mean, I haven't seen photos or anything of that. My reaction is still the same as last night -- pretty much we got tangled up. He took it a little personally. So, I mean I don't think he was really trying to hurt me or anything like that. I think he just kind of got caught up in the heat of the moment and things happen."

On how OU competed against Morgan State:
"I was very pleased with how we competed last night. That's something that we really stressed all week in practice, to come out and play like we did. We didn't do it the whole game, but I felt like we did a much better job of competing throughout the game and we needed to have an attitude of we'll take whatever you give us and we'll just keep moving forward."

On how you gameplan for a Michigan team that starts four players 6-foot-5 or shorter:
"Just because they don't start as big a lineup, we still have to prepare the same way for what they do because, like we've said, they're very good at what they do. We can't take them lightly just because they might be a little bit shorter. We just need to concentrate on doing what our game plan is, executing that, taking care of the ball."

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