We had an unexpected visitor grace us with his presense this past Thursday night. The Rios just suddenly appeared out of thin air for a night of drinking in Ann Arbor. Too bad he took a 615am flight back to NYC in the morning. I'm going to be honest, I'm not quite sure how he works such depressing hours. Also in town was Randy, and he came up with a pretty good idea for this blog. He said that my blog about Big Ten Media Day was the only one he really liked, and that he didn't actually care what my opinion was. He suggested I have more posts like the Big Ten one. So in honor of him, I have created a two minutes with whomever thing. I'll probably do this every once in awhile, likely following various basketball games. So today's inaugural edition is Two Minutes With Purdue head coach Matt Painter. This was actually not during his postgame press conference, but I actually got him one-on-one in the Crisler Arena tunnel. This is pretty much a direct trabscript of the conversation we had.
Me: Hey coach, I didn't catch your press conference, but I was wondering if I could get a quick word with you? I'm Mark Giannotto from the Michigan Daily.
Matt Painter: The what?
Me: The Michigan Daily. It's the student newspaper at Michigan.
MP: Oh ok, go ahead.
Me: What was the biggest difference between today and last weekend?
MP: We just let them go on too many runs. We weren't hedging out on screens like we should have been, and it allowed them to get way too many open looks. And we settled for far too many jump shots ourselves. We needed to feed it into the paint more than we did. I really don't think the guys came ready to play tonight, offensively or defensively.
Me: How concerned are you with the fact that this was your 29th straight road loss?
MP: Obviously that's a huge concern for our team. On the one hand, you aren't going to go anywhere in this game if you can't win on the road, but on the other hand winning a road game in the Big Ten is tough. I think this team has the mental makeup to win on the road, we just have to get the monkey off our back and actually win one.
Me: Before the game, were you expecting your team to respond better, especially in a quieter atmosphere such as Crisler Arena?
MP: Like I said, winning a road game in the Big Ten is extremely difficult. You can't just show up and expect to win no matter where you are. And personally, I thought the atmosphere here today was daunting enough for me. The crowd really seemed into the game, and I noticed the energy Michigan coaches and players got feeding off the crowd.
Me: But don't you think it was a little strange to have huge sections of the upper bowl virtually empty?
MP: I can't really comment on the attendance of another team because I really have no knowledge of the situation.
Me: Well would you have been disappointed if Mackey Arena (home of Purdue basketball) had large sections empty?
MP: Yes I would. I think we take pride in the fact that our school has such a strong basketball fanbase. Purdue fans love their basketball and they have continued to be great fans year after year.
Me: You have to be excited about your upcoming recruiting class. It kind of came out of nowhere.
MP: Yeah I think we have a great group of kids coming in and they should make great contributions to Purdue basketball. But I think having a great recruting class is something we want to make a staple of as a program.
What face do you give
when you lose to a
terrible Michigan team?
Answer: This face
Painter's not the most compelling guy in the world, but he seemed pretty nice. Obviously he was pretty disappointed with having lost so resoundingly to Michigan just an hour earlier, but like he said himself, winning a road game in the Big Ten is tough. By the way, I would make fun of the pitiful crowds at Crsiler for these Big Ten games, but I have to be honest with myself: I wouldn't be at any of the games either if I didn't have to cover them for the paper.