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Stan Heath Press Conference – Illinois

BY ANDRES FOCIL
Stan Heath Press Conference – Illinois
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Arkansas faces No. 3 Illinois Saturday at 1:05 p.m. in a game nationally televised by ESPN from Alltel Arena at North Little Rock. Arkansas and the Fighting Illini are both 5-0. Illinois beat No. 1 Wake Forest on Wednesday, 91-73. Following is a partial transcript of head coach Stan Heath’s press conference:

“It’s a great opportunity to play one of the top teams in the country and figure out where we are. You play the game and you want to play the best, and they are certainly one of the best. They have great guard play. They play with confidence, they have good chemistry and they have a swagger about themselves.

“One of their strengths is their passing. They have good ball skills. They had only six turnovers against Wake Forest. We have to be smart in what we do. We want to try to wear them down a little.

“We’re going down to play to win. Our players are looking forward to it because they like to be challenged. Our players will be ready.

“This game doesn’t determine our season. It’s a game where details, things we’ve been working on, come into play like careless turnovers, free throw shooting and hustle fouls. This is a game where we have to be very good in to give ourselves a chance to win.

“The strength of their team is perimeter shooting from long range. We’re different. Our guards are big, tall and long. They are a very good shooting team, but if we can have our hands up, a lot of times that will lead to opportunities on offense.”

Playing in North Little Rock:

“It’s a chance for Central Arkansas to see us play and hopefully we’ll get a nice, big crowd to help us.”

Defense:

“We will have to switch on the perimeter, so we have to prepare our guys for all of the matchups. They are deadly from three-point range right now. As a team, they’re shooting 46 percent.

Inside matchup:

“They can come in with tremendous size, too. The sizes are pretty much the same in the frontcourt. The difference is we have size in the backcourt. It’s size against speed. We’re going to play our game. We will make some adjustments, but we will do what has been successful for us.”

The series:

“Except for last year, the games have gone right down to the wire. They basically have the same team they had from a couple of years ago. It’s been a healthy series. We haven’t been able to get over the top. We would like to pull the big upset if we can.”

The schedule:

“I think our schedule has fit our team very well. We have grown with each game. Our schedule is what it is. It has helped our team.”



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